The Gym Ball - Core Strength at Every Level
If we take a quick look back, in 2020, the trusty gym ball became a top pick for home workouts. It was the budget-friendly gym buddy that many of us relied on to amp up our fitness game while working out at home. Speaking of gym balls, when answering the Xpeed Survey recently, Sydneysider Noah asked;
“Can you explain the benefits of using your gym balls for core strength, and are they suitable for all fitness levels?"
The good news is, there’s plenty of benefits and we're more than happy to guide you through them! Below, we’ll uncover the magic they bring to your workouts and why they're a perfect fit for fitness enthusiasts at every level!
Unveiling the Benefits:
At first glance, stability balls might seem like another gimmicky piece of gym equipment, in reality their true magic lies in engagement. Unlike traditional core exercises, gym balls introduce an element of instability, prompting your body to activate a range of stabilising muscles throughout your core.
Amplified Range of Motion:
Using a gym can help improve your range of motion in a few ways.
As gym balls are unstable your body is required to engage many muscles to maintain balance. This increased activation can help improve joint stability and flexibility, leading to a greater range of motion.
Activation of Core Muscles:
Let’s start with ‘what and where are your core muscles’? They include muscles in your abdomen, lower back, and pelvis. Strengthening these muscles not only helps with balance but also supports the spine, leading to better posture and increased flexibility. As a result, a stable core is crucial for maintaining a full range of motion in various exercises.
Enhanced Neuromuscular Control:
Training with a gym ball requires increased neuromuscular control, as your nervous system must constantly adapt to the changing environment. This heightened neuromuscular control can improve the communication between your muscles and nervous system, leading to better coordination and a more extensive range of motion.
Gym balls are kind of like the swiss army knife of the gym. From basic exercises to advanced moves, they offer fantastic versatility. From core exercises to being used as an alternative to benches, they’re a very handy gym companion.
Now, let's break down how they cater to different fitness levels. Using a gym ball is kind of like learning to use a guitar. Whatever level you’re at, it will keep you entertained. Below are some of our favourite gym ball exercises across beginner, intermediate and advanced users.
Plank from Elbows with a Gym Ball:
- Start in a plank position with your forearms on the gym ball.
- Maintain a straight line from head to heels, engaging your core.
- Hold for 30 seconds, gradually increasing duration.
Plank from Hands with a Gym Ball:
- Transition to a plank on your hands with the gym ball under your feet.
- Keep your body aligned and stable.
- Hold for 30 seconds, adjusting as needed.
Dead Bugs with a Gym Ball:
- Lie on your back, holding the gym ball with hands and feet up.
- Lower one arm and the opposite leg, keeping the ball stable with the opposite hand and foot.
- Alternate sides for 10 reps each.
For Intermediates Ready for More:
- Gym Ball WheelBarrows:
- Start in a plank position with hands on the gym ball.
- Walk your hands forward, rolling the ball with you.
- Continue for 10-15 steps.
- Gym Ball Hamstring Curls:
- Lie on your back with your feet on the gym ball.
- Lift your hips and roll the ball towards you with your feet.
- Extend your legs back out and repeat for 12-15 reps.
For the Seasoned Fitness Enthusiasts:
- Gym Ball Russian Twists:
- Sit on the gym ball and walk your feet forward.
- Lean back slightly and rotate your torso, touching the floor on each side.
- Perform 15-20 twists.
- Gym Ball Jack Knives:
- Lie on your back, holding the gym ball with arms and legs extended.
- Lift the ball and legs towards each other, forming a V-shape.
- Repeat for 12-15 reps.
Build A Better Core with Xpeed
In our humble opinion, gym balls are your secret weapon for a powerhouse core. So whether you're a beginner, intermediate, or advanced fitness enthusiast, incorporating gym balls into your routine promises a transformative journey to a stronger, more stable you.
So, Noah, grab a gym ball, follow these exercises, embrace the challenge, and roll into a fitter, healthier future!
Don’t forget to fill out the Xpeed Survey to help us continue build a better Xpeed experience. Every entry goes in the draw to to win a $50 gift card.
Written by Xpeed Brand Manager, Simon Mitchell. Simon has a Bachelor of Human Movement, is a certified FMS trainer and has worked in the fitness industry since 2003. Simon started his fitness journey as a trainer with iNform Health and Fitness before moving into commercial radio and then back into fitness with Bodyism in the United Kingdom and Australia. A career highlight was being one of Daisy Ridley's personal trainers on Star Wars IX - The Rise Of Skywalker.