You've no doubt wondered "why a ball?". Every few years a new piece of exercise equipment comes along to catch our interest, and keep us motivated to go to the gym; but, the fact is, the ball has been around for over 30 years. The history of the exercise ball in physical therapy and it's use in rehabilitation is well known.
Why a ball? It is the unstable nature of the ball that makes it unique. The advantage of its instability is that it challenges the following skills necessary for advancement in an exercise program and maintenance of a healthy spine:
Golf, baseball, hockey, scuba diving, gymnastics, soccer, dance, boxing - as unique as each of these sports is, they all have one thing in common. All require a strong core and the efficient transfer of power between the upper and lower body. Professional athletes now include core strengthening as a fundamental part of their training regime. As an athlete with a highly developed core stability, you will jump further, swing harder, run faster, and swim with greater efficiency.
The body must respond to movement of the ball to remain balanced, engaging many more muscles than doing the same exercise on a stable flat surface. Whether you are a seasoned athlete or new to the fitness scene, an exercise ball will enhance your work out. Exercise ball exercises are done with a relatively inexpensive piece of equipment and include exercises for the novice and athlete.
Studies have shown that exercise ball exercises result in a quicker return of spinal stability when compared to doing exercises on a floor.(1) Significant improvements in stability are seen after a 6 week exercise ball exercise program.(2)
1.Cosio-Lima et al.
2.Stanton et al.
See our research page for more references.
See this page for what to look for when buying a ball.