The Stability Ball

The stability ball, sometimes known as a Swiss ball or fit ball, adds an element of instability to an exercise that you would not normally get in a floor exercise.

The body responds naturally and automatically to this instability to keep you balanced on the ball. Over time, the muscles used to keep your balance on the ball become stronger.

You will build strength in important back muscles and abdominal muscles without knowing it.

Benefits of exercising on a Stability Ball

Maintaining proper alignment on the ball stimulates the body’s natural motor reflexes and encourages the body to react as a whole. This type of movement corresponds to how you move about in a normal day.

When using the ball correctly, the body is required to use muscles for stabilisation that may not have been used in traditional mat exercise

The ball can improve muscle strength and endurance in all of the major muscle groups. Training with the ball can improve muscle tone, increase muscle endurance and strength, restore or improve flexibility, enhance spinal stability, improve your balance, posture and coordination.

The stability ball is great for those with back issues, because it strengthens and develops the core muscles that help to stabilise the spine

The benefits of exercising on an exercise ball for people with low back pain include:

· Simple and versatile way to start moving again after a back pain episode

· Improved muscle strength

· Greater flexibility and range of motion of the spine

· Enhanced balance and coordination of core muscle groups used to stabilise the spine Increased tendency to maintain a neutral spine position during exercise

· Many Stability ball exercises are designed to bring movement to the spine in a controlled manner to help keep the discs nourished.

Carefully selection of the correct ball size is essential to performing the exercises correctly. Here are some guidelines to use when selecting the proper ball size

When sitting upright on an exercise ball:

· Feet should be flat on the floor – with an even weight distribution.

· Knees should be level or slightly lower than the pelvis – creating an angle of 90 degrees or slightly greater at the hips and knees (thighs parallel to ground or pointing down slightly).

· Pelvis, shoulders, and ears should be in a vertical line – the body should not be leaning in any direction as a counterbalance. Bouncing up and down lightly will usually produce this alignment

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