The stability ball, aka an exercise ball, is fairly new to the exercise world, though it has been around for over 100 years. In the early 1900’s the ball was used in rehabilitation centers, then in the ‘60’s, an Italian toymaker named Aquilino Cosani renamed the ball “gymnastic.” He eventually established his own company. In the 90’s, the stability ball reached its way to pro athletes who used it for training. Today, the stability ball is widely used all over gyms and homes for its’ unique intensification to exercise.
The ball, which holds up to between 600 and 700 lbs brings a unique element of play to any routine. Stability balls are generally used for the abdominals and lower back, but there are many other exercises for arms and legs too. The ball improves muscle strength, flexibility, balance and body alignment. Stability balls are also effective for core stability and stretching since the ball makes it easier to go in and out of positions.
What I like best about the stability ball is how practical and useful it is. The ball provides a good work out for all ages because it enables the body to bend back further than a normal floor crunch. You can find stability balls at pretty reasonable prices too, usually costing about twenty dollars. Not only that, but stability balls can be used in place of a weight bench… which is also much cheaper! Finally, stability balls are portable, light weight and maintenance free!
- Sit on the stability ball as if your sitting in a chair. Walk your feet forward until the ball in right under your lower back.
- Begin the crunch.
- Lie belly-down on the stability ball so that you are looking towards the floor.
- Cross your hands on your chest, then lift your torso up towards the ceiling.
- Hold for 4 seconds, and release.
- Start out with the ball behind you.
- Place your right leg on the stability ball behind you so that your chin is on top of the ball.
- Carefully walk your front leg in front of you as far as you can go while maintain your balance.
- Then bend your front leg for ten reps, and switch legs.
- Stand with against a flat wall with the stability ball between your back and the wall.
- Have your feet slightly out in front of you.
- Slowly lower yourself until your legs are parallel to the floor, and slowly come back up to standing position.
- Stand with the ball in front of you with your legs shoulder width apart.
- Bend forward, keeping back straight and place one hand on the ball.
- Place one knee on the ball, and with your other hand, begin rows.