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As a personal trainer and exercise coach, for more than 17 years now, I have always used Swiss Ball exercises to help my clients towards achieving their health and fitness goals.

Developed in 1963 by Italian plastics manufacturer Aquilino Cosani, Swiss Balls, then known as “Pezzi balls”, were first used in treatment programs for newborns and infants by Mary Quinton, a British physiotherapist working in Switzerland.

Benefits

I recommend using a Swiss Ball to improve your posture, core strength and overall muscle tone. By incorporating these exercises into your weekly routine, you will also benefit with:

  • stronger muscles and bones
  • an increased metabolism
  • better sleep
  • improved aerobic capacity
  • a general feeling of a sense of achievement and wellbeing.  
Swiss ball exercise
Swiss Ball Prone Jackknife

Core strength

A primary benefit of exercising with an exercise ball as opposed to exercising directly on a hard flat surface is that the body responds to the instability of the ball to remain balanced, engaging many more muscles, especially in the core or ‘unit unit’ – deep muscles found beneath your belly button.

  • A – Transverse Abdominus
  • B – Diaphragm
  • C – Multifidus
  • D – Pelvic Floor
Muscles of the Inner Unit – ref: The CHEK Institute

These muscles become stronger over time to keep balance. When the Swiss ball is properly inflated, it provides a firm, very mobile surface that reacts quickly to any change in one’s centre of gravity, requiring a righting response, a tilting response, or both.

Diaphragmatic breathing is deep breathing from the belly, inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the nose/ mouth.  This is the most effective form of breathing and will help develop ‘core’ strength.

What size ball do I need?

Sizes based upon height are approximate. Consider your other body characteristics and how you plan to use the ball. Contact me for more info and help choosing the correct size. I recommend Hartsport to buy your ball (if you live in Australia).

Exercise guide

There are literally 100s of exercises that can be done using a Swiss ball. That is why I have put together my Swiss Ball eBook Strength From The Inside Out, a complete workout guide using the same ‘language’ that I use every day, containing 26 exercises, with photographs, to help you learn how to build a stronger core, in the comfort of your own home!. Exercises range from beginners through to advanced.

Seated posture trainer

This exercise is from the warm up section and is a great one to get you started.

  • Sit on ball as above; optional arms by sides, finger tips on ball
  • Focus on lifting your sternum towards the sky, shoulder blades back and down
  • Draw in belly button towards spine
  • Lift a leg knee first, and maintain good upper body posture
  • Progress to extending the leg, pointing the toe
  • Complete 8-10 repetitions left and right legs
Seated Posture Trainer

Supine Lateral Roll

One of my favourite Swiss Ball exercises, and one that I recommend – and help clients to learn the correct technique for – every day!

It is a great way to strengthen the whole body, but in particular:

  • Core strength
  • Lower back strength
  • Glute strength
  • Breathing and posture

Watch a demo here.

Supine Lateral Roll

References

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