4 Benefits of Training with a Stability Ball

The stability ball is an effective tool for mastering balance, control, core stability, and strength. Stability balls, also known as exercise balls or fit balls, are used in home gyms, weight rooms, and fitness classes. Using a stability ball on a regular basis will provide many benefits and make any exercise more challenging.

Spine and Back Health

According to a study published in the May 2006 edition of “The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research,” using an exercise/stability ball may decrease the risk of back pain in sedentary individuals and improve stability of the spine. The study found that when the stability ball is used on a regular basis, spinal stability and core strength improved. Researchers concluded that individuals who are prone to back pain or spend a lot of time sitting could definitely benefit from frequent use of the stability ball.

Muscle Balance

Muscle imbalance is caused when one muscle group is stronger than its opposing muscle group. For example, your quadriceps (front of thigh) and hamstrings (back of thigh) need to work together to perform a certain task, as do your triceps and biceps. Your anterior muscles (front of body) are naturally stronger than your posterior muscles (back of body), because they are used more frequently throughout the day. Also, most people tend to neglect their posterior muscles and over-train their anterior muscles, which can lead to additional imbalances and bad posture. The ball is an ideal choice for correcting these imbalances because it strengthens the posterior muscles and supports the lower back.

Aids in Sports Performance

The soft, unstable surface of the exercise ball stimulates all of your core muscles, and improves proprioception, balance, posture and coordination. Not only will these skills help protect you from injury, but also improve your sports and fitness performance.

Core Stability

Your core plays a critical role in stabilizing and supporting all your movements. The abdominal muscles or “midsection” consists of deep core and back muscles that work to balance your entire body. The deep muscles in the abdominal wall, such as the lumbar multifidus and transverse abdominis, form a belt around the vertebrae to help control breathing and support posture. These muscles work together to help with everyday activities, such as throwing, reaching, lifting, running and bending, so keeping them in good shape is very important. Otherwise, you risk injury and simple movements like walking, pulling, and running go unsupported when the stabilizer muscles are not well conditioned. Three great exercises for stabilizing the core include the Plank, Prone Cobra and Floor Bridge. When you perform these exercises, focus on slow, controlled movements. For best results, perform at least 2 sets of these three exercises at least three days a week, non-consecutively, for 4 to 6 weeks.

 

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