Why use a Swiss Ball in training?
Discover the many benefits of this simple piece of equipment
The origin of the swiss ball (also described as a 'fit ball'), dates back to 1963, where an Italian plastics manufacturer started production for use within physiotherapy treatment programs in Switzerland (hence the name 'Swiss' balls). Their use became increasingly featured in physcial therapy for treaing orthopedic and medical problems and in the last decade they have been massively incorporated into athletic training for all sports and as part of general fitness training for quality of life. It has also been intergrated into alternative forms of exercise like yoga and pilates and appears to have secured itself as a cornerstone within the health and fitness industry.
How it works?
Swiss ball training is classed under the category of 'functional stability training' - along with other balance tools such as Bosu Balls, stability discs, single leg training and power plates.
The whole concept of the Swiss ball is to create an unstable environment. In doing this, more demand is placed on the body as it tries to achieve stability, forcing it to use smaller stabilising muscles. In a nutshell, instability provides an increased challenge for the body, which results in increased benefits.
- With the body responding to the instability of the ball to remain balanced, it engages more muscles and individual muscle fibres. More muscle recruitment = more calories burned!
- Neuromuscular efficiency - the long term benefits of training your nervous system include delaying the age-related degeneration of our nervous system and reducing the risk of neuromuscular-related conditions like Parkinsons disease.
- Using a Swiss ball adds variation within your regular exercise plan, especially when you are an experienced / advanced exerciser who requires greater challenge to still achieve overload and progression.
- Swiss balls are effective as a regular tool for core training to optimsise your core stability and abdominal strength. Incoporating a balance demand takes the intensity and muscle activation of floor-based sit-ups to a new level!
- Psychological benefit - motivation is key to quality training! Effective improvements can be difficult to sustain for a variety of reasons such as lifestyle stress, boredom from the same routine, time pressures etc. Swiss ball training is consistently challenging and can serve as a real driving force to achieve mastery over the hundreds of different exercises avaliable.
- Swiss ball training is a phenomenal tool to have in your training tool box, so get a fitness professional to further your exercise knowledge and get more from how you train.