Outstanding Core Strength Exercises Using a Swiss Ball

Swiss balls are in common use for many core strength exercises in conditioning gyms nowadays. The use of Swiss balls should be seen as just another way of exercising your trunk muscles. The apparatus adds variety to training. Doing the same exercise slightly differently can help to push the body to further adapt and change for the better. Positive adaptation to exercise normally comes through planned rest and recovery in your training program, but, sometimes “a change is as good as a rest”.

To make best use of a Swiss ball sometimes known as a Stability or Fitness ball, requires a little background information. The following guidelines should help you to get the most from your core strength exercises with the use of a Swiss ball:

  • The ball should be inflated correctly, this means that it should not be too soft nor too firm;
  • When you sit on the ball your hip and knee should both form a 90 degree angle. Your hips should never be below your knees;
  • Don’t use a ball that is too big, and then deflate it to make it smaller. You should have a sense of the ball pushing back at you as you sit on it. The ball should never be so big that you have to perch on the front of it when sitting;
  • Making a recommendation regarding the size of the ball is difficult and can only be general, but a person around 5’8in will usually find a 55cm ball suitable and a 65cm ball might be more suited to a person up to 6’2in in stature. Over 6’2in and you should use a 75cm ball;
  • It also goes without saying that you will get less use out of a poor quality ball because of the thinness of the material than one of higher specification.

The following are 2 core strength exercises using a Swiss ball

Over The Top

Although this exercise trains and strengthens the shoulder girdle, it does strengthen the trunk in a lengthened position which stabilizes the central axis. For this reason the Over The Top is a good trunk exercise for many sports.

  1. Kneel behind the ball with your hand placed on it.
  2. Move forward rolling over the ball stomach first, walking forwards with your hands until only your thigh is resting on the ball.
  3. Get into a nice elongated position where your spine is neutral. Your head should be level with your spine as you look straight down at the floor and your body should be perfectly straight and parallel with the ground.
  4. Now, push away with your hands keeping your back straight.
  5. Then, pull your body forward up over your hand, again keeping a straight body line.
  6. Repeat several times.

Over The Top Squat Thrusts

The set up for this exercise is the same as the one above, with the following exceptions:

  1. You should push backward and as you pull yourself forwards, draw your stomach into your spine and flex your hip and knee to bring them under your body.
  2. To return to the starting position, extend your legs away by pushing then back.
  3. Throughout both movements you should maintain a neutral spine
  4. Repeat several times.

As you can see the over the top exercise can be adapted to link the trunk with the shoulders or the trunk with the hips. Either way you have to admit that they are both very good core strength exercises.

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