Stability balls are also known as gym balls, Exercise balls, Fit balls, Balance balls, Flex balls, Stretch balls, Yoga balls, Pilate’s balls, Ballast balls or Swiss balls. They are a product that has been around in the fitness industry for many years.
History tells us that the balls were originally used for Physical Therapy and rehabilitation purposes and from here they were seen as a piece of apparatus that could assist people with Strength Training, Flexibility and Core work.
Stability Balls: Versatile
The Stability ball is very versatile and also highly portable so it can be used in the gym, for training in the park or taken to someone’s home. It doubles as a bench, where the client can either sit upright doing their weights or body weight exercises, or lying down doing back chest or arms work. In comparison to buying a bench which is far heavier to transport or lift the ball is less than a quarter of the cost.
A bench allows you to isolate or support the body weight where as the ball focuses on the balance and Stability challenge more. It isolates a part of the muscle group and focuses on strengthening the muscles around the contact point, whereas with a flat back there is no possibility to work on a section of the back or arch the back in any way.
When using a bench for abdominal work again there are limitations when it comes to lever length and positioning of the body, but when you use the stability ball your options include the wall, side lying position, lower abdominal work or crunches.
Improve Your Posture With Stability Balls
The stability ball is also widely recognized as a tool to promote good posture and can be seen in many work places as a substitute for chairs. The ball helps alleviate slouching that is most common in chairs and makes the person sit more upright. For people with lower back problems it also allows shifting of weight to distribute less pressure on the spine.
In the fitness industry, professionals continually came up with more uses of the ball and two of these areas are power work and sports conditioning.
Due to heavy weights being used in the exercises, some stability balls were exploding under the excess load and this led to some injuries. So the stability ball companies developed new balls that had a minimum standard of breaking under load. Most balls and insurance companies require a loading figure or Anti- burst rating of around 350kgs.
So when buying a ball, check that you buy the right size for your use and also the right strength rating. Prices will vary.
BOSU Balance Trainer
BOSU have a new Stability ball on the market called the BOSU Ballast Ball.
The ball has weight inside (shot or sand based) which is used as Ballast or counter weight. You can lift it, shift it, or shake it, depending on how you move the ball and how fast. It was again originally developed for rehabilitation and is a great tool for shoulder work, and core stability.
Its next major use is as a normal stability ball that allows you to do all the exercises you would on them, but with the versatility of the added weight you can combine single strength and movement exercises such as a squat and jump press into a sports specific move.
The added advantage of this ball is that it will not move or roll away from you. This also eliminates the need to anchor your feet on or against a wall in a lot of stability training exercises.