Stability Ball Exercises That Don’t Suck Pt. 1
The stability ball is a fantastic, versatile, and effective tool for enhancing your fitness. When used correctly, the stability ball can help you can enhance core function, increase body awareness, improve balance and the health of your vestibular system, and more. The problem with stability balls, is that very few people understand how to use them or they’re used in an ineffective manner.
First things first, before you even attempt to use a stability ball for more advanced or intermediate exercises, you must understand what your core is, how to engage it effectively, and develop some base level endurance in your core while on the floor. Once you’ve done just that, you can feel free to move onto more “advanced” exercises that make use of the stability ball.
Fortunate for you, we’ve done a series on what the core is, how to engage your core, and how to train it effectively. You can find those blog posts here …
While there are some beginner core exercises that you can use the stability ball to enhance, it’s best for a beginner to stick with the basics, such as the bird dog, dead bug, and side plank variations. A mastery of those will allow you to move onto the more complex movements/exercises that the stability ball is wonderful at training. You can find more on those beginner exercises in our blog posts here …
1.) The Bird Dog
2.) The Side Plank
3.) The Dead Bug
The stability ball should be primarily used as a tool for enhancing core training. This is achieved because the ball can be used in ways that allow the limbs to move, while the core stays tight. It can also add an element of “instability” and “unpredictability” to the training, forcing the stabilizers to make small adjustments during your core training. This leads to a more responsive core, and a more challenging core workout.
For the most part, you shouldn’t be standing on a stability ball, doing squats on them, or anything of that nature. Whatever benefit you believe you’re getting from standing on that ball and doing squats, could be achieve much easier and safer without standing on the ball.
Now, not all stability balls are the same. You’ll want to use one that is “Anti-Burst” meaning it won’t pop like a balloon if it gets old or if something pokes through it – like a rock or sliver of wood on the floor. You’ll also want to choose one that’s the correct size for your height.
Yes, stability balls come in different sizes that correspond to the users height. This allows for the exercises to be more effective, because you’ll be in better alignment if you use a ball that’s right for your height. The sizes are as follows …
Use a 55cm ball if you’re between 5ft – 5.5ft tall
Use a 65cm ball if you’re between 5.6ft – 6.2ft tall
Use a 75cm ball if you’re over 6.2ft tall
Now that you know what the stability ball is used for, you’ve understood how to train your core in a way that will allow you to move onto using a stability ball, and how to choose one that’s the right height for you – you’re all set to begin using the stability ball in your training program.
Next week, we’ll be looking at a few FANTASTIC exercises using a stability ball that will take your training to a new level.