You'll find more than 40 ball exercises on this website, organized by the main muscle group each targets.
Also, the ball exercises available here are presented using animated illustrations to show you the correct starting position as well as the movements involved.
To access the database of ball exercises, simply click on the menu items to the left.
Benefits of Ball Exercises
There are many benefits to incorporating ball exercises into your workout.
First of all, ball exercises require little and inexpensive equipment.
To perform the majority of ball exercises presented on this website you'll only need access to an exercise ball and nothing more.
However, the biggest benefit to training using ball exercises is that they are very effective at targeting core muscles, those muscles that are essential for stability and good posture but are often overlooked when exercising with fixed position equipment such as those found in gyms.
Like previously stated, ball exercises will require you to invest in few and inexpensive equipment.
Although some ball exercises would require you to equip yourself with a pair of dumbbells or a workout bench, all you'll really need is a good exercise ball and you'll be ready to go.
Exercise balls range in dimensions depending on your height and we have selected a few for you to consider.
Techniques Commonly Used
As with any other type of exercises it is important to warm up before engaging in demanding physical activity.
Also and especially for ball exercises it is important to maintain proper posture.
This means keeping your back straight or preventing your knees from locking down on most exercises.
Finally, you should try to focus on breathing properly.
Being aware of one's breathing process is essential to obtaining good results when training with ball exercises.
Detailed Safety Precautions
Performing ball exercises can be a little tricky and there are a few notable safety precautions that you should take if you intend to incorporate them into your workout regimen. Here is a quick breakdown:
Using the Correct Ball Size and Air Pressure:
One of the first things you'll need to verify is that you are using an exercise ball that is the right size and that is properly inflated.
Although boxes for new balls offer size recommendations for your height or weight the general rule of thumb states that when sitting down on one your upper thighs should be parallel to the floor.
After you've made sure to use the correct ball size you'll want to make sure to properly inflate it using the air pump provided and following the air pressure guidelines stated on the ball or on the box.
Workout Area and Clothing:
Another thing to consider when using ball exercises is the clothing you wear and the workout area that is available to you.
Although an exercise ball itself will take less room than a bench press you'll still need roughly the same floor real estate once you being using it.
Furthermore, because you won't be held securely in place (you'll need to work to keep your balance) you'll want to make sure to have proper grip on the floor.
For that reason, workout mats should be avoided since they can shift around beneath you.
Finally, because sweat may cause you to slip it is recommended that you use good training shoes as well as a shirt in order to cover your upper body.
Exercise balls are essentially inflatable plastic balls and as such should be properly stored when not in use.
You'll want to avoid storing them in very hot environments in which the air inside could expand beyond the stress levels which could ultimately cause the ball to burst.
The opposite logic holds for cold environments, where air will contract.
Finally, as is true for any type of intense physical activity you should consult with your medical doctor beforehand, especially if you are new to ball exercises or if you haven't used them in a while.
And remember, whenever you feel pain you should disengage from the exercises as soon as it is safe to do so.
History of Ball Exercises
The plastic ball used by ball exercises was developed in the '60s by an Italian petrochemical manufacturer named Aquilino Cosani.
Although he did not design the ball for use in the fitness industry he nonetheless was the first to pioneer their production and their use.
A Swiss doctor by the name of Susan Klein-Vogelbach is responsible for promoting the use of these plastic balls in the field of orthopedic medicine at the physical therapy clinic she founded.
The origin of the "swiss ball" appellation is found in that ball exercises were first observed in Switzerland and not in Italy.
This explains why they are not commonly known as Italian balls.
The concept of ball exercises was imported to America from Europe by Joanne-Posner-Mayer in the late '80s.
She was the first to really promote the use of ball exercises in the fitness industry specifically.
Since then, exercise balls have quickly made their way into commercial gyms throughout the country and into personal gyms up to the point where they have established themselves as mainstays in the fitness industry.
As of today, countless fitness professionals are promoting the use of ball exercises and athletes from every sport imaginable and from every level are incorporating them into their training regimen.
Exercise balls now come in a variety of different sizes and are often used alongside other fitness equipment.
For example, in order to reduce the range of motions allowed by the exercise ball, you can use what is known as a stability cushion that you would position underneath the ball in order to cradle it in place.
Furthermore, new ball exercises as constantly being developed that incorporate the use of dumbbells or cable systems.