One of the latest trends to be introduced into our industry has been Stability Ball training. Stability balls are large balls, similar to the big, plastic ones the kids play around with in the backyard, which are made of sturdy material that allows users to sit, lay, kneel, and even stand to perform varying degrees of exercises. The dynamic nature of the ball improves balance, posture, body awareness, coordination, and allows for different positioning options to increase the challenge and progress the exercise’s level of difficulty.
The most important factor of all when it comes to ball training is the amount of fun it can bring into your program. Whether it is a group fitness class, private training session, or just personal use at home these balls add an element of play and excitement to your current exercise regimen. Not only are they fun, but they also provide one heck of a strength-conditioning workout at an inexpensive price!
Resist-A-BallTM, the leader in stability ball education, provide 3 different levels of challenge in their C.O.R.E. (Competent On Resist-A-BallTM Education) instructor training manuals. The position of the body is always placed in the easiest, or least amount of resistance, at first. By repositioning the body, the resistance challenge (1st level of challenge) is increased to make the exercise more difficult. The base of support is also decreased from wide and more supportive, to narrower and less supportive to increase the balance challenge (2nd level of challenge). Finally, maintaining a certain position on the ball, or performing a movement pattern while adding movement on the ball can add a dynamic challenge (3rd level of challenge).
No matter what exercise you perform on the ball to overload a particular muscle group, several others are acting as stabilizers to facilitate the joint actions of the particular prime movement. After one session of abdominal training using the ball, you’ll never lay on the floor to do another crunch. That is unless you are too sore to do your next workout, which in most cases after your first ball training session you are.
Besides being a tremendous benefit to your body, it adds another layer of variety to your current strength training protocol. By replacing your bench with the ball you can add a whole new level of coordination and balance to your seated and lying exercises. Not to mention the great core muscle strength and endurance you develop from stabilizing your body during all of your sets and repetitions.
Don’t delay, get on the ball and roll with it!
Sizing Tips and Guidelines
- When seated on the top of a stability ball your knees should be even with your hips or slightly above.
- 45cm- used for shorter (generally under 5 ft) participants.
- 55cm- used for most people
- 65cm-used for taller (generally over 6 ft) participants.
- Larger, softer balls are great for de-conditioned, overweight, or mature populations
- The firmer the ball the more difficult the exercises are to perform; the softer the ball the easier exercises are to perform.
Amy is the NW Regional Trainer for Resist-A-Ball, Inc. and Faculty Trainer for the American Council on Exercise. Her Bachelor of Science was attained in Holistic Nutrition and is certified as a personal trainer, group fitness instructor, and yoga instructor. She also offers multiple workshops and trainings through her own company FIT Launch as well as providing personal training services.
To learn more and review health, wellness, and fitness products visit the Healthy Gatherings website.
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