Swiss Ball Exercises: How they work and why they'll benefit your workout

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They might look scary, but exercise balls are guaranteed to get your muscles working...

Exercise ball

© Getty - Handbag

Exercise balls might look like a recipe for total humiliation, but these simple tricks and techniques from Fitness First personal trainer Tom Eastham will make you feel like a pro.

What is Swiss Ball Training?

Rolling around on an exercise ball comes under the category of 'functional stability training'. The whole point of a Swiss ball is to create an unstable environment, so your body is forced to work as many muscles as possible to stay balanced. The increased challenge increases the workout benefits overall.

So what are these benefits?

Because your body is fighting against the instability of the ball you're engaging more muscles and individual muscle fibres, which means more calories burned! They are brilliant for core training and abdominal strength, plus, they have some great long term benefits too, including training your nervous system and reducing the risk of neuromuscular-related conditions.

If you want to get serious with a Swiss ball have a go at the following circuit, aiming for no rest between each exercise, but resting for 60 seconds between each circuit. Repeat through three times, performing 12 reps of each exercise...

Swiss Ball Wall Squats

Stand with your back to the wall and your feet hip width apart, toes pointing straight forward. Place the ball between your lower back and the wall. Start to bend the knees and lower yourself down into a squat position, the ball will roll down the wall with you. Keep your back parallel to the wall and stop once your thighs are parallel to the floor. Your knees should not move forwards past your toes, if they do, stand further from the wall. Push yourself back up to the starting position to finish one rep.

Swiss Ball Press-Ups (hands on ball)

Placing your hands on the Swiss Ball, you want to maintain a plank position – straight line from you head to your feet. Brace your abs and gently lower your chest to the ball. Pause briefly and then press back up.

Swiss Ball Leg Curl

Lie face up on the floor and place your feet / heels on top of a Swiss Ball with your arms by your sides. Squeeze your glutes and raise your hips off the floor. Keeping this position, pull the ball towards your bum with your heels – remember to keep your hips up and your body straight. Return to the start position by extending you knees

Swiss ball exercises, fitness, workout

© Getty - Handbag



Swiss Ball stir the pot

Don't worry you're nearly finished! Placing your forearms on the Swiss Ball, you want to maintain a plank position – straight line from you head to your feet. Brace your abs and create small, controlled circles clockwise. Once you have completed the correct number of reps, change direction.

Swiss Ball knee tucks

In a plank position, place your feet on top of a Swiss Ball. Maintaining a strong plank position, bend your knees and pull the ball toward you – remember to keep your body straight. Return to the start position by extending you knees

Swiss Ball superman's

Start by lying face down on a Swiss Ball with your stomach and body at a 45 degree angle to the floor. While balancing on the tip of your toes, stretch out your arms (like Superman flying).

Will you be giving these exercises a try? Leave a comment below to be in with a chance of winning a £100 goodie bag.

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