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Swiss Ball Exercises

Jul 2, 2008
When you go to the gym, you might seem them piled in a corner or being used on a flat surface, or you might even have one or two deflated ones in your trunk of closet. Swiss balls have exploded in the fitness world. Because of its popularity, some people make the mistake of using one when it has no real advantage.

Sometimes trainers even waste heaps of time on the Swiss ball that could have been spend actually burning fat and building muscle. This doesn't mean, of course, that the Swiss ball doesn't have its place. But it's best to educate yourself the on the kinds of exercises that are best enhanced with the Swiss ball before working out on one.

One of the best uses for the Swiss ball is with ab workouts. The soft ball allows exercisers to easily move forward or sideways with minimal discomfort. A smart ab routine on the Swiss ball can be a great way to build muscles in your core.

So what kind of ab exercises are available on the Swiss ball? The Swiss ball crunch is a good place to start. To do this exercise, simply lie with your back on the ball and feet on the floor. With your hands above your head, pull your body up like in a normal crunch, raising to an almost sitting position. Remember to breathe, exhaling as you lift your body. When you reach the top position, pause for a moment, breathe back in, and go back down.

The vertical crunch can also be very effective on the ball. To do this, get a workout bench or other sturdy object to place next to the ball. Lie on your back on a ball, and grab the bench behind you to stabilize yourself. Now raise your legs, with knees bent, until they are above your hips. To begin the motion, pull your knees toward your head until they are close to your eyes. Now uncurl and go past the starting position until your body is straight. Remember to keep your back as stable as you can on the ball. Now move into the starting position again.

The Swiss ball can be effective in doing upper body exercises as well. If you are looking for a more challenging pushup, put the Swiss ball under your shins with your hands on the floor, and push out a few sets. If that is too easy for you, switch to one handed pushups. You can also rest on the Swiss ball on your stomach and arch your back up to do back raises. If you want to do the dumbbell bench press, but don't have a bench handy, the Swiss ball makes for a fine substitute.

The Swiss ball is like any other exercise tool: it only works if you are using it right. It can be very effective, but you don't need to include it in every exercise you do. If you're not sure whether or not your Swiss ball exercises are working, consult with an experienced personal trainer.
About the Author
Chris McCombs is a Personal trainer in Irvine with specialty in fat loss and muscle toning. His website www.socalworkout.com contains valuable tips on fitness and exercise.
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