As many people have discovered, Swiss ball exercises area fantastic way to increase the effectiveness of your core workouts. In addition, they can add extra value to a whole range of other movements.
Why are Swiss ball exercises so effective? The secret lies in the instability they create. Because you have to work to hold your position, you activate a whole range of small and peripheral muscles that are not engaged during more stable movements. Many of these lie deep within the core, so this is a very effective way to activate the deep core muscles that are so important for our posture.
Swiss ball exercises can be divided into two categories:
- Core movements
- Variations on regular movements
A good example of the first category would be crunches. Performed on the floor, they are an effective core exercise, used by millions of people. However research has shown that exactly the same movement, when performed on the ball, activates 62% more muscle, making it far more effective.
There are dozens of great core movements you can perform in this way - if you're not sure about what you can do, consult a trainer, join a class, or check out the resources available of the web.
Variations on regular movements are too legion to list, but to give an idea of the possibilities, they can include squats against a ball (excellent), dumbbell flyes or presses, or dumbbell biceps curls.
While these should not replace traditional movements using heavier barbells or dumbbells, they make a great alternative to keep the muscles guessing, and are also excellent for home workouts when you have limited resources available.