Swiss Balls (Gym Balls)

Swiss Balls (Gym Balls)
Swiss balls, also known as gym balls, physio balls or fit balls were developed by physiotherapists in Switzerland during the 1960’s for use during physiotherapy rehabilitation. The Swiss Ball has increased in popularity and is now used in gyms and as part of home exercise programmes.

The Swiss Ball (gym ball, fit ball) is a versatile fitness tool that can be used for core strength, core stability, stretching, yoga and Pilates type exercises. The Swiss Ball is regularly used in the home rehabilitation of low back pain, sciatica, herniated disc, facet syndrome, postural problem, posture related back ache and sacro iliac joint dysfunction.

One of our most popular swiss balls is designed using anti burst material so that exercises can be carried out safely during pregnancy. This design also provides peace of mind while carrying out sit ups and more on the ball. The cushioning surface and shape of the ball helps to prevent bad posture or technique during exercises such as sit ups, leading to a healthier and more effective workout. Plus, it also comes with a free pump to inflate and deflate the gym ball accordingly. Click here to take a closer look at the PhysioProduct Gym/Swiss Ball.

We also have a ball that is just like a swiss ball, but it has 6 ‘legs’ to stop it from rolling away. Use the PhysioProduct.com Faster Blaster Dual Action Pump to inflate it, then simply place the legs downwards on the floor and sit on the ball. The slightly unstable base improves your posture, prevents slouching and stops prolonged stress on the structures of the lower back. The ball is burst resistant quality. Even if damaged with knives, or other pointed objects there is no danger of sudden lack of pressure. Check out the Gymnic Home & Office Anti Burst Swiss Ball now by clicking here!.

What size gym ball do I need for my height?

To get the most out of your exercise ball, you need to choose a size that is suitable for your height. If you are under 155cm (5’1″) you should look at a 45cm ball, if you are between 155cm and 170cm (5’1″ – 5’7″) try a 55cm ball, if you are between 173cm and 185cm (5’8″ – 6’1″) tall a 65cm ball is the best choice, and finally if you are over 188cm (6’2″) tall choose a 75cm ball.

Can you lose weight bouncing on an exercise ball?

Bouncing on a gym ball can help to engage your core muscles. Although other exercises should be also be completed within your fitness regime to help you lose weight, moderate to vigorous bouncing on your gym ball can certainly help towards burning those calories that you wish to lose!

What is an Anti-Burst gym ball?

Anti-Burst gym balls are highly recommended, as they are the safest exercise ball variants available. If an exercise ball has an Anti-Burst rating, it will deflate slowly when punctured, as opposed to bursting suddenly and potentially causing injury.

FAQ:

How do you use an exercise ball?

An exercise ball is designed to challenge overall balance and stability, whilst also addressing core muscle strength around the abdomen and lower back to help protect against injuries. Even by sitting on its unstable surface, the core muscles that support the spine and pelvis have to work hard in order to maintain an upright position.

To correctly use an exercise ball, you should start with simply sitting on the ball with your hips, knees and ankles all positioned at 90 degrees to each other. Once this position becomes easier exercises can be progressed to; sitting and tilting the pelvis backwards and forwards, marching on the spot, lifting one foot off the floor at a time and holding. These exercises may all sound simple, but on the unstable surface of the gym ball they really challenge the core muscles. As you progress, more advanced exercises such as hamstring curls, press ups, hip flexion, planking and many more movements can be completed with the gym ball to improve core stability strength. Gradually increasing the difficulty of exercises can help with conditions such as lower back pain, sacro-iliac pain, pelvic instability after pregnancy and many further sports related injuries that rely on a stable core to base more intricate movements upon. Seeking the advice of a Chartered Physiotherapist can help with the prescription of exercises and dictate the rate of progression for your individual needs. At an elite level, sports players widely use gym balls to help improve performance and give them added strength on the pitch. Premiership rugby players have even been known to walk across a chain of consecutive balls, something that requires exceptional balance and stability but is definitely not to be tried at home!

How do I know what size exercise ball to get?

Gym balls come in different diameters and should be chosen depending on your weight and height. Ideally the hips, knees and ankles should all be positioned at 90 degrees to each other when you are sat down. However, if you cannot test the gym ball before buying, a guide below from Spine Health equates your height to the correct size of gym ball;

Diameter Person’s Height
45cm 5ft and under
55cm 5’1″ – 5’8″
65cm 5’9″ – 6’2″
75cm 6’3″ – 6’7″
85cm 6’8″ and above

Can you lose weight bouncing on an exercise ball?

Losing weight is usually best achieved by exercising aerobically, where your heart rate will be raised for a period of 20 minutes or more. Gym ball exercises are more skill based and less likely to maintain an elevated heart rate for weight loss. Exercises on a gym ball are more valuable for improving balance, coordination and stability. So, if your aim is losing weight there are better ways to do it than using a Gym ball. However, for muscle toning, injury prevention and overall core stability strength a gym ball will be ideal…and will definitely not make you put on weight!

What is a gym ball used for?

Gym balls are fantastic pieces of equipment to help improve core stability strength. The unpredictable nature of a gym ball challenges the intricate “core” muscles around the abdomen and lower back, making them an ideal tool to help improve lower back pain and improve stability for more fluid, pain free movements both in everyday life or if you participate in sports.

Gym balls can be used to improve athletic performance by providing an unstable exercise base that challenges core stability and balance, which are both crucial in preventing injuries on the pitch. Having a strong and stable “core” helps minimise the strain on other joints, even injuries to the feet, knees or shoulders can benefit from a more stable base at the core of the body.

Gym balls are also very useful in exercising before and after childbirth as they help re-tone and engage the muscles that are stretched and injured as well as helping to retrain the core muscles to improve stability and prevent lower back, Sacro-iliac or pelvic pain.

How does sitting on a yoga ball help?

Gym balls are fantastic pieces of equipment to help train core stability strength and improve overall balance, coordination and stability. The unpredictable nature of a gym ball challenges the intricate “core” muscles around the abdomen and lower back, making them an ideal tool to improve stability and help reduce injury risk, both in everyday life and for improved sports performance.

Stronger core muscle strength will help improve posture and prevent injuries around the lower back, from prolonged sitting or poor postural habits. Gym balls are also hugely beneficial in improving sports performance by providing an unstable exercise base that challenges core stability and balance, which are both crucial in preventing injuries on the pitch. Having a strong and stable “core” also helps minimise the strain and injuries to other joints, anywhere between the feet and the jaw!

Gym balls are also increasingly used before and after childbirth as they help re-tone and engage the muscles that are stretched and injured as well as helping to retrain the core muscles to improve stability and prevent lower back, Sacro-iliac or pelvic pain.

What’s the difference between a medicine ball and a slam ball?

Medicine balls and Slam balls are both types of weighted exercise equipment that can range from 1-20kg. Exercises such as; squats, sit ups, chest presses, lunges or rotational movements can all be enhanced by adding the resistance of a weighted ball. Usually Medicine balls are made from leather, rubber or plastic and designed to be used as a free weight in standard lifting exercises. They often have handles in place to make manoeuvrability easier and can be a great addition to improve functional movements and to help prevent injury risk in sporting activities. In contrast, Slam balls are better suited to throwing exercises. Made of tough rubber they allow some bounce from hard surfaces when slammed against them. Slam balls can enhance cardiovascular endurance and hand eye coordination due to the more dynamic exercises that can be performed. They also allow exercises to be carried out with a partner by throwing, bouncing or rebounding the ball to each other.

Can you use a kettlebell instead of a medicine ball?

Kettle bells and medicine balls are both pieces of equipment that can be used to add resistance to your workout. Kettle bells are usually made of cast iron or steel, with a handle attached to the top whereas medicine balls are leather, rubber or plastic with or without handles, designed to be used as a free weight. Both items of equipment come in different weights so can be used to add resistance to exercises such as; squats, lunges, overhead press, sit ups and rotational movements.

Often Kettle bells are more suited to swinging or ballistic exercises that involve more momentum and diversity compared to medicine balls which are designed to be held with both hands to enhance core stability strength. Medicine balls are popular in team sports settings as they can be passed between partners during exercises. Kettlebells on the other hand are designed to provide continuous resistance throughout a movement and target improvements in explosive power to help build muscle, improve endurance and increase flexibility.

How many calories do you burn sitting on an exercise ball?

Sitting on a gym ball will not burn many calories as this is best achieved by exercising aerobically, where your heart rate will be raised for a period of 20 minutes or more, such as walking, running, cycling or swimming. If your aim is to lose weight there are better ways to do it than using a Gym ball as these exercises are targeted more towards; muscle toning, injury prevention, improved posture and overall core stability strength rather than for burning calories or weight loss.

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