In today’s world, most people are not active as technology has made our life easier. Our jobs involve less physical activity, so we are leading a sedentary life.
We typically sit either during work. We need to be physically active to have a happier and a healthier life. People who are physically fit can adapt and respond to the demanding environment.
There are many health benefits of being physically fit. People exercise for many reasons- health, relaxation, appearance, etc. Regular exercise helps to protect us from diseases.
It is scientifically proven that people who do regular exercises have a lower risk of major illness like coronary heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer, depression, etc.
There are different workout equipment that you may use to do an abdominal exercise. It is done at the gym with an instructor, but there are also many exercises anybody can do at home. One of the most reliable tools you can use to carry out the abdominal workout is the Exercise ball, swiss ball, stability ball or balance ball.
Exercise balls– The origin of swiss ball/ exercise ball or balance ball can be observed in Switzerland. These are used for performing a broad range of exercises. The benefit of incorporating exercise ball as compared to using flat surface is that it is quite effective in targeting core muscles like abdominal muscles.
Using exercise ball, we train to bring balance, stability and strength in the abdominal muscles. The ball creates imbalance, and you must work hard with your abdominal muscle so as to balance your body completely. The muscles become stronger, engaged and help you keep your balance while you do abs tightening steps.
Choosing the Right Size exercise ball– You need to use the correct size of the exercise ball corresponding to your height and weight. Some of the basic guidelines used are:
Your Height Size of the Fitness Ball
Under 5″2″ (1.57m) 45 cm
5″3″- 5″8″ (1.60m-1.72m) 55 cm
5″9″ – 6″2″ (1.75m-1.88m) 65 cm
Above 6″3″ (1.90m) 75 cm
Right ways of using the swiss ball
- The correct ball size that is properly inflated
- Do your exercise in a spacious place and remove all the sharp objects to reduce potential accidents
- Do the Breathing exercises
- For sit- ups, while sitting down on the ball, your upper thighs must be parallel, and your knees should be the right angle to the floor. If you do the moves incorrectly, it won’t target the muscles effectively and may have a bigger risk of injury.
Working out with the ball is a fun way of doing exercise. You don’t need to be a physical trainer to use an exercise ball.
In the long run, doing such exercises will help you attain a better posture and make it easier for you to perform your everyday activities. If you have any medical condition, it is better to consult a doctor before starting an exercise program.
1. Exercise ball crunches
This type activity is a multi-purpose workout that targets the core abdominal muscles and improves coordination and balance of the body.
- Start by lying on the ball with your back firmly on Swiss ball bending your knees to 90 degrees
- Keep your feet flat on the floor and place your hands behind your head.
- Your buttock and head should be just off the ball
- Crunch up the upper body forward raising the shoulders off the ball. Use your abs muscles and hold the contraction for one second
- Slowly return to the previous position by lowering the upper body over the ball.
As you pull yourself up, make sure that you keep the ball still.The movement should be slow, and your back should remain in contact with the exercise ball during the workout. The ball shouldn’t slip off while lifting your weight.
2. Leg Lift
- Lie on your side and place the exercise ball between your shins.
- Clasp your legs slightly to hold the ball in place.
- Use your inner thighs to help you lift the exercise ball up into the air.
- Lower it back to the floor and
- Repeat the steps before switching sides.
3. Swiss-ball jackknife
It targets all your core muscles like lower and upper abs, back and hip muscles.
- Place your hands on the floor and legs on top of the ball as if you’re doing a push-up.
- Make sure your back is perfectly straight; not curved upwards or downwards.
- Rest your shins on the ball so that they’re balanced and stable. Your body should be perfectly straight.
- Very slowly bring your knees toward your chest by crunching your abs and rolling the fitness ball forward towards your hands
- Again slowly return your legs to the original position making sure your abs stay tensed and firm.
4. Ball Bridge t fall off
- Lie on your shoulder blades on top of the exercise ball with knees at 90-degree angles
- Make your back straight and extend your arms out to keep balance.
- Roll off the ball slightly to one side and return after a short pause and do some repetitions.
- Repeat the same to the other side.
- Keep your back straight the whole time. .
5. Swiss ball reverses plank
- Kneel and lie over the ball
- Walk your arms out slowly till your shins and ankles are the only parts left on the ball.
- Lower yourself into your elbows
- By using your core muscles keep your hip in line with spine
- Hold the position
6. Exercise Ball Reverse Trunk
- Lie down on your back with your feet elevated and bent the knees at 90-degree angle. Put your arms down at your side holding an exercise ball between your heels and glutes.
- When you have secured the exercise ball in between, press your arms firmly to the floor, and lift up through your hips raising your glutes off of the floor.
- Hold onto this position contracting your glutes and abdominals, then return to the starting position.
7. Swiss ball roll away
- Kneel on the floor facing Swiss ball within arms’ reach
- Put your hands on the top of the ball keeping your elbows straight
- Straighten hips with a slight bend
- Lean forward and roll ridged arm out over the ball as far as possible. The ball moves forward.
- Return to the original position by pulling arms back along with the ball and raising body back until kneeling upright.
8. Swiss ball seated head tilt
- Start by sitting on an exercise ball, keeping your spine straight and knees bent.
- Tilt your head in one direction and squeeze back with your shoulder feeling a stretch from your blade down to your lower back.
- Hold for a few seconds and repeat in the opposite direction
9. Decline swiss ball planks
- Place your feet firmly on top of the ball
- Fully extend outwards onto your forearms into full plank position
- Brace your abs, tighten your core, and maintain a straight line along the top of your body.
- Hold for half a minute
10. Swiss ball torso twist
- Lie your back in the centre of the ball with your face looking upwards.
- Make sure your butt is hanging off the edge and your knees are bent at 90 degrees in front of you.
- Put your feet flat on the floor.
- Bring arms together and palms touching each other. Then extend your arms toward the ceiling, directly above the shoulders.
- Keeping lower body still, rotate torso to right, bringing arms out to the side at shoulder level.
- Rotate back through the centre, and then rotate torso to left, lowering arms out to the left at shoulder level to complete one repetition
11. Ball side crunch
- Lie on your side against the exercise ball, arms behind your head, legs extended and feet wide apart to give you balance.
- Raise your upper body up from the ball and lower it back down after a short pause.
- Alternate sides after each completed set.
All the exercises have to be performed correctly or else you run the risk of being injured. Always begin the exercise by warming up. You can start with a walk or with some very gentle stretching.
A good stretch before your exercise is essential in avoiding injury. Maintain proper alignment when using the ball to prevent injury. There are a right way and a wrong way to do the training. A beginner should perform 2 to 3 sets of up to 10 to 16 reps per set with a fitness ball. Make sure that you target the muscles with proper technique.
Take a brief rest in between workouts so that your muscles can recover during your workout sessions. Care should be taken to perfect your form before increasing the number of sets.
A more aggressive strength training exercise is performed with a lower number of repetitions per set. Routine High-intensity strength training exercise of abs has a much greater incident of muscle damage.
If you develop a sore, you need to heal it before you train it again. Even if you never get sore in the target muscle, give those muscles, at least, one day of rest a week.
Performing abs exercises using an exercise ball is an important way to tone and strengthen your abdominal muscles. Strengthening the muscle also improves performance in all the activities. Nearly everyone long to has toned abs and a flatter belly.
There has been an ever-growing craze to have “the six packs”. For a few it’s like an obsession to get a washboard stomach, and they are motivated to perform high-intensity training regime.
The six pack muscle technically known as the Rectus ago minus (one of the muscle groups in core) can be carved out by doing a mix of strength training like abs exercise and cardiovascular training.
Consumption of high protein diets is recommended along with body fats reduction.
Having a complete physique with strong abs is not only visually appealing, but it is also essential for all aspects of life.
Abdominal muscles play a vital role in maintaining posture and balance.It takes part in our everyday movements like breathing, walking, coughing, sneezing and bending.
Workouts that include the exercise ball help you not only in getting the shape, but it also act as a boon to your health. To remain fit and healthy you need to follow a proper nutrient dense diet along with an efficient exercise regime.
By regular exercising and choosing healthy food habit, you can avert a broad range of health problems, elevate your moods and enhance your stamina.
Using an exercise ball in fitness program helps in strengthening your core muscles and improves your overall health, flexibility and strength.
Get fit, stay healthy!