A primary benefit of exercising with an exercise ball as opposed to exercising directly on a hard flat surface is that the body responds to the instability of the ball to remain balanced, engaging many more muscles. Those muscles become stronger over time to keep balance. Most frequently, the core body muscles — the abdominal muscles and back muscles — are the focus of exercise ball fitness programs.
A major benefit of using an unstable surface is the ability to recruit more muscle units without the need to increase the total load. The greatest benefit of moving an exercise onto an unstable surface is achieving a greater activation of the core musculature, exercises such as curl-up or push-up performed on an exercise ball. An unstable surface increases activation of the rectus abdominus and allows for greater activity per exercise when compared to a stable surface. Exercises such as a curl-up on an exercise ball yields a greater amount of electromyography (EMG) activity compared to exercises on a stable platform. Performing standard exercises, such as a push-up, on an unstable surface can be used to increase activation of core trunk stabilizers and in turn provide increased trunk strength and greater resistance to injury.
Core-strength exercises strengthen your core muscles, including your abdominal muscles, back muscles and the muscles around the pelvis. You can do many core-strength exercises with a fitness ball. In general, use a fitness ball sized so that your knees are at a right angle when you sit on the ball with your feet flat on the floor. Do each core-strength exercise five times. As you get stronger, gradually increase to 10 to 15 repetitions. Breathe freely and deeply and focus on tightening your abs during each core-strength exercise. If you have back problems, osteoporosis or any other health concern, talk to your doctor before doing these core-strength exercises.
Exercise-ball exercises and workouts. Learn from experts using our Exercise-ball exercise database filled with detailed instructions and video.
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