By Mackie Greason BS, CSCS
Written for the La Cumbre Country Club location of Prevail Conditioning
In the La Cumbre Country Club Fitness Center, we have access to a plethora of different pieces of equipment, accessories, and gadgets that can enhance our workouts and rehabilitation. Each piece in the Fitness Center plays a key role, but the Swiss Ball is a multi faceted piece of equipment that can be used in many ways to introduce new challenges to your workouts. Due to the dynamic and unsteady nature of the Swiss ball, it can add a level of difficulty to your planks, push-ups, rows, etc. to stimulate your muscles in a new way.
Here in the LCCC Fitness Center, we have 3 different sizes of the Swiss Ball and each can be utilized in various ways to achieve different results. In general, the smaller Swiss Ball will be harder to balance on because of the decreased surface area in contact with your body (feet, shins, back, forearms, hands). Due to its size, the smaller Swiss Ball can hold less air, thus it depresses against the weight of your body more making it tougher to stay stable through your exercises. The introduction of a new unstable surface will engage smaller, synergistic muscles to coordinate with the larger more powerful ones to create a chain of stability.
Swiss Ball Push-ups, Planks and Hamstring Curls are three key exercises that can be added to any workout to increase whole body stabilization and activation. As is with any exercise, adding tempo/pauses to your Swiss Ball movements will increase the difficulty and will require your body to hold muscle tension longer and will develop strength and stability. If the addition of tempo isn’t enough of a challenge, trying your Swiss Ball exercises with one leg or arm can increase the challenge of any exercise.
In conclusion, using the variety of Swiss Balls you can add new stimulus to your workout without completely changing exercises. The introduction of an unstable surface can encourage your body to recruitment smaller muscles to work with the large ones to create a whole body stability and strength.