Swiss Ball Exercises to Improve Your Core Strength
When you think about having a strong core, having abs is what probably comes to mind, but there are far more benefits to having core strength than just having the aesthetic benefits of defined abs. Core strength is very important for a variety of exercises whether it be weight training or cardiovascular exercise. It is therefore important to take developing your core strength seriously, and a Swiss Ball can be a great training accessory when it comes to working on this.
4 Swiss Ball Exercises to Target Your Core
Using a Swiss Ball, also known as a stability ball, when working your core can make core exercises more effective. The fact that the ball moves means you have to constantly use the muscles in your body to counteract this movement and stay stable whilst performing exercises.
If you are not using a Swiss Ball in your training already then you should certainly consider it, especially if you want to improve your balance, posture, flexibility and overall strength.
Crunches are one of the staple abdominal exercises. Performing crunches whilst seated on a Swiss Ball makes them twice as effective as just doing them on the floor. This is because as well as performing the crunches, your core will be under constant tension to maintain stability whilst being sat on the ball.
To make it more difficult when performing your crunches, really focus on being slow and controlled. This will increase time under tension and work your core even harder. Make sure that when you are performing crunches, you are not bringing your neck forward, as this could lead to injury. All movement should come from your abs, as this is the muscle group you are focusing on.
2) Swiss Ball Jackknife
This exercise will recruit a number of the body’s muscle groups. Holding yourself in position will work your core, chest, triceps and shoulders, and performing the actual movement will place great emphasis on your abdominals.
Place your feet on top of the ball and get yourself into a push up position. Then pull the ball towards your feet, which will engage your core. Bring your knees in towards your torso, squeeze and then push the ball away from you. During this exercise, your core will be constantly under tension making this a great exercise to really develop your core strength.
3) Swiss Ball Push Up
Doing a regular push up on a Swiss Ball makes this exercise far more difficult. The instability of the ball means that your body will have to work harder to keep you stable as you perform each push up. You will certainly feel this exercise in your core, as you will be fighting to keep yourself straight and holding the ball in place.
To perform this exercise, place your hands slightly to the side on the ball. Lower yourself slowly towards the ball to maintain time under tension and then just before your chest comes into contact with the ball push yourself back up. When you first perform this you may find that your body shakes a lot. Do not be alarmed! Performing stability exercises will recruit muscles you may not have worked before, and it will therefore take time for these muscles to develop and for you to become more stable. As they say, practice makes perfect.
4) Russian Twist on a Swiss Ball
If you want to develop the ‘V’ shape to your torso then you will need to work on your obliques, and this is exactly what performing Russian Twists, especially on a stability ball, will do.
To do this exercise, lie with your upper back on the stability ball and your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands together and extend them out in front of you, then rotate your torso from side-to-side in a slow, controlled manner. To increase the difficulty of this exercise, you can hold a dumbbell or medicine ball, which will increase the resistance.
Enhance Your Core
Whether you already work on improving your core strength or have never really prioritised it, hopefully after reading this article you know more about the benefits of training with a stability ball. Next time you are in the gym, try a couple of the exercises described above and see how you get on.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alex Genzel is passionate about health and fitness having been involved in a number of competitive sports from an early age. He has been writing about sports nutrition and training for a number of years, alongside pursuing his passion for bodybuilding and desire to become a certified personal trainer. As well as writing for BULK POWDERS® Alex also has his own blog where he shares his training experiences and advice on supplements.