We've all seen those big, fun looking, bouncy balls at the gym, right? If you're like me you may have seen them but were too intimidated to actually DO anything with them or maybe you just thought they were a hoaky idea and didn't see the benefits of using them. Well....let me tell you, there are some definite benefits to using a stability ball in your workouts, particularly when just getting started, and I want to share a few with you!
You won't just engage a few of the core muscles, you'll engage lots of them. You'll be using the rectus abdominis (think 6-pack muscles), transversus abdominis (deep muscles essential for good posture) and the obliques (twisting/bending) as you perform those ball crunches as well as when performing other exercises such as ball bridge, ball cobra, ball push-ups, ball squats and more.
There's no doubt that the stability ball is excellent for getting off the floor for core work, but it's also great for working other muscle groups WHILE continuing to work the primary core muscles. During the ball crunch, cobra, etc you'll also be working the erector spinae (back), posterior deltoids and rhomboids (shoulder) as well as the gluteus medius, gluteus minimus and adductors in the hips and inner thighs.
Being up off of the floor allows for a greater range of motion which means you'll be engaging more muscles, which means you'll be getting stronger in other areas. All bonus!
Compared to other exercise equipment stability balls are relatively cheap and long-lasting. They can be found at your local Walmart, Target and sporting goods stores and typically cost between $5 -30. I've owned my stability ball for over 10 years without issue but I've also taken good care of it, so be sure to watch to breakdown of the plastic and don't overfill it.
I can't help myself. Sometimes I just need a chuckle and these are just too funny not to share. Watch now I'll jinx myself and become the next viral stability ball fail on the internet! Although that BMX biker is amazing! Just please, please, please use your stablility balls responsibly.
There are a few possible drawbacks you should be aware of.
1. You may need a spotter when you're first getting started and learning to control the "wobble".
2. You'll want to be sure you are using the correct size. When sitting on it, your legs should form a 90 degree angle at the knee.
3. They can take up a lot of room, so you'll want to designate a space for storage.
I've found the biggest drawback for me has been my 3 year old daughter. I've recently switched out my office chair for the stability ball and my little stinker prefers to climb up on the back behind me and bounce on it while I'm working. Makes me worry at times that this will be caught on camera and I'll become one of the FAIL videos that you see above. Haha...not the most ideal of typing conditions. Good thing she's adorable.
Overall, if you incorporate a stability ball into your workouts you will find that you will improve your posture, overall core stability, balance and endurance and you may even find yourself having a little fun with it. Just do me a favor and don't get too creative with your exercise ball use and hurt yourself. Stay SAFE. Stay strong. Stay healthy.