The stability ball, also called the gym ball, physio ball, Swiss ball, yoga ball and bouncing ball is as versatile as its name. Itcan be used in myriad ways to address different aspects of fitness from helping one build stability to increasing strength and flexibility. Even HIIT workouts can be done with the Swiss ball and one can achieve fat loss with its help. It is increasingly used to help patients who need to improve balance and flexibility post an injury or ailment. The stability ball can help one target the belly, chest, quads and much more and it is a highly effective tool to develop the muscle tone of your body.
Arvin Rajendran, a Bengaluru-based fitness trainer gives five exercises that can be done with the stability ball to target different parts of the body.
Abdominal crunches Target: Torso or core muscles
How: To start, sit on the ball and "walk" your feet out until you are lying on your back, with your thighs parallel to the floor and your knees at a right angle. Your feet should be directly under your knees. Once you are in a comfortable, balanced position, put your hands behind your head and raise the upper part of your chest and go back to the starting position.
Description: The science of being skinny is fat metabolism.This exercise works the midsection of your body and is hence an effective way to strengthen the core and lose the belly fat.
Beginners: 12 to 14 reps per set, 2-3 sets
Intermediate: 20-24 reps per set, 3-5 sets
Advanced: 30 reps per set, 3 sets
Side twist Target: Obliquesand abdominal muscles
How: Lie on the ball on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.Place your hands behind your head, engage your core and turn your upper body to first one side and then the other. Go back to starting position. Repeat this movement alternating sides.
Description: When you perform a twist, you'll primarily work the spinal flexors and rotator and the obliques. This exercise uses a rotating motion while you are seated to work your core. You also work the abdominal muscles and the muscles on the sides of your waist. It's a good way to lose the side belly fat.
Beginner: 5 reps per set, 2 -3 sets
Intermediate: 15-20 reps per set, 3 sets
Advanced: 30-reps, 3 sets
Back extension Target: Glutes (gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus), hamstring muscles and lower back
How: Place both legs together on the exercise ball between the abdomen and thighswith arms at the sides and palms flat on the floor; tighten and lift the legs up off the floor to straighten the back, keeping abdominal muscles tight and hold for 5 seconds. Return to starting position. Repeat 3 to 5 times.
Description: Back extension stretches the spinal muscles and it is highly effective in strengthening the lower back.
Beginners: 8 -12 reps per set, 3 sets
Intermediate: 12 - 15 reps per set, 3sets
Advanced: Do straight sets in the 8-10 rep range, taking enough time between sets-usually 90-120 seconds-to recover your breathing rate and your strength
Push-ups Target: Inner, outer, lower and upper pectoral muscles of the chest
How: Lie prone with your legs stretched on top of the exercise ball with palms on the floor. Push yourself up by extending your arms and slowly lower yourself back down after a short pause. Breathe out while pushing and breathe in while returning to starting position.
Description: This workout is excellent for the chest and it also helps workout the shoulder muscles and triceps. It strengthens the core.
Beginners: 8-12 reps per set, 3-4 sets
Intermediate: 12-15 reps per set, 4-5 sets
Advanced: 15-20 reps, 3 sets
Squats Target: Quads, glutes, calves, hamstrings, abs, lower back