The stability ball was originally created as a toy in Italy called the Gymnastic. It quickly gained popularity among doctors who began using it in therapy for such things as reflex response, back rehabilitation, neurological rehab, and postural correction. It was introduced to North America in the 70’s and 80’s, and more than 75% of fitness centres now use them.
When choosing a stability ball make sure you select the correct size for your height, as well as one that is burst resistant. This just means that the air will leak out slowly if punctured, instead of a big pop! Here is a chart to help you pick the right size:
|Ball Diameter||Your Height|
|45cm||up to 5’0 (1.5m)|
|55cm||5’0 to 5’6” (1.5-1.7m)|
|65cm||5’7” to 6’0” (1.7-1.8m)|
|75cm||6’0 and over|
The stability ball uses the neuromuscular system in a way that most exercise equipment does not due to its dynamic base of support (constantly moving). This makes it a great tool for training “core” muscles and will help improve balance and co-ordination. The ball also supports some body weight, reducing stress on the joints. It is great for people of all ages, and exercises using the ball can easily be modified to make certain moves easier or more difficult.
There are dozens of exercises that can be performed on the ball, but here are a few that I stand by. This is a core circuit that I use every now and again. I would not consider this a beginner workout, but it is certainly something that can be practiced and mastered if you’re not that greatest at them initially.
1. Russian Twist – 10 reps (5 each side)
2. Sit-ups – 20 reps (10 quick, 10 slow)
3. Plank In & Outs – 10 reps
4. Knee Tucks – 10 reps
5. Back Extension – 10 reps (hold a plate, dumbbell, or medicine ball for extra resistance)
Repeat this cicuit 3-5 times
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