If you are stuck at home, or you just prefer to stay in and get a good workout, an at-home Swiss ball workout for the whole body could fit the bill for you.
The Swiss ball is also known by many other monikers, such as an exercise ball, yoga ball, Pilates ball, balance ball, stability ball, and more. You’ve undoubtedly seen these balls rolling around. They are commonly spotted at virtually every fitness center, and even the most sparsely equipped fitness facilities will have at least a fitness ball or two lurking in a corner.
So, what can you do with a Swiss ball, and how can it benefit you right now?
It turns out these balls have myriad uses and lots of great benefits for people at virtually any fitness level.
What is a Swiss Ball?
First, you may be curious about what a Swiss ball actually is. How are these mysterious balls constructed, and how do they work? The balls are usually made of thick, soft, and pliable plastic or rubber material. They come in different sizes ranging anywhere from about 15 to 35 inches in diameter.
What size is right for you? Sit on the ball and see if your hips and knees form a 90-degree angle. If so, it’s the right size. Taller people will need a larger ball, and smaller folks should opt for a smaller ball.
The balls can be inflated with a pump that usually comes standard with the ball. If yours doesn’t, then you can use a bicycle pump to inflate it if necessary.
What Are the Benefits of a Swiss Ball Workout?
If you want to switch things up a bit from your typical, run-of-the-mill (i.e., boring) workouts, you might really enjoy a Swiss ball workout and all it has to offer. Some of the many benefits include:
- Your body has to compensate for the instability created by the ball.
- The instability causes you to use more of your muscles to support your body and to perform the exercises.
- Super convenient exercise—this ball can help you work out virtually your entire body without leaving the comfort of your home.
- No travel required.
- For well under $50, you can get an excellent piece of workout equipment.
- The ball workouts are gentle on your joints and good for mobility and rehab work.
Try this At-Home Whole-Body Swiss Ball Workout
Always begin with a five-minute warmup. You can walk in place, walk up and down your stairs for a few minutes, do some jumping jacks, or anything else that gets your heart pumping.
1. Stability Ball Pushups
Begin by lying across the ball with your hands on the ground in front of you, palms down, about shoulder-width apart. Walk forward with your hands until your legs are balanced on the ball. The farther out you are (with just your feet on the ball, for example), the less stability and the harder the exercise will be. You can start with your upper legs on the ball and progress so just your ankles or feet are on the ball as you get stronger.
To perform the exercise, slowly bend your arms to bring yourself into a pushup position. Once your chest is a few inches from the ground, push back up through the heels of your hands, straightening your arms, to raise your torso to the start position. Make sure to keep your head, back, glutes, and legs in a straight line while performing this exercise.
2. Wall Squat with Ball
Begin by placing a ball behind your back while standing (with the ball between your back and the wall). Clasp your hands in front of you and press your back firmly against the ball. Step your feet out in front of you, so when your legs are bent, your knees will be over your ankles. Slowly bend at the knees and lower your body until you are in a “seated” position. Pause for two seconds and then roll the ball back up the wall by pushing your body back up into a standing position.
3. Hamstring Curls
This exercise will work your hamstrings (the back of your legs). Begin by lying on your back on the floor with your arms out straight next to you. Place your heels on the ball, lift your hips, and then straighten your legs fully by rolling the ball away from you with your feet. Pause and bend your knees (keeping your torso straight) and use your hamstrings to pull the ball back toward your butt. Pause and then push the ball with your feet away from you again until your knees are straight but not locked out. Repeat.
4. Glute Thrust
Similar to the hamstring curl, start with your legs on the ball and place your butt on the ground. Next, with your knees bent, lift your hips up until your upper legs and torso form a straight line and squeeze your glutes for a count of three. Return to the start and repeat.
Begin with your hands on the floor in front of you and your feet on the ball, legs and torso straight (pushup position). Slowly bend and bring your knees toward your chest while contracting your midsection. Pause and then roll the ball back out until your legs are straight.
6. Swiss Ball Superman
Lie with your stomach on the ball and your legs straight, balanced on the ground on your toes. Straighten your arms and bring them out to your sides while arching your back upwards. Hold this position for a count of three before allowing your back and arms to relax.
7. Breast Stroke on Ball
Begin as you did for the Superman exercise except bring your arms straight out in front of you. Pause, bend at the elbows and pull your arms straight back (like you’re trying to touch your elbows behind your back). Move your arms forward again to the starting position and repeat.
8. Ball Squeeze
If you want to work your inner thighs, quads, and glutes all at the same time, this is your new best friend. Place a smaller ball between your knees and, with your torso upright and hands on your hips, squat down while pressing your knees inward to hold the ball. Pause and return to the start by pushing up through your heels and straightening your legs until you’re standing.
You can perform 3 sets of 10 – 15 for each Swiss ball workout or as a circuit repeated three times. Either way, you’ll get a great full-body workout with some extra core attention. Have a ball!