Core Training with the Stability Ball
Introduction: Also known as the Swiss ball, the physioball the stability ball is the most versatile piece of exercise equipment to enter the fitness field in more than a decade. Was introduced over 90 years ago in the physical therapy arena helping children with cerebral palsy to maintain reflex response as well as improve their balance. Then branched out to help with neurological disorders, orthopedic and spinal injuries.
The benefits with such a valuable tool is:
Size of the ball
Resources for stability ball purchase:
Storage and cleaning
Storage racks made of PVC pipe.
Use disinfectant wipes or spray regularly since the surface can get dirty from contact with floor.
Space needed to exercise
Guidelines from ASCM state space should approximately 6 feet apart per participant or entire body’s length of space clear in all directions around the ball.
There is no preferred type of floor surface, can be wood or carpet.
1) Avoid bare skin contacting the ball surface, interferes with smooth movement.
Special Populations: Children
Core Stability: the word core means “the central or inner part, the essence or most important part of the matter.” While stability means “the capacity of an object to return to equilibrium or to its original position after being displaced.”
Balance: It is extremely important and is a basic skill required to maintain equilibrium and keep the body upright and able to move. It is a function of the nervous system about our body position and the need to make changes if balance is compromised.
Resources for Stability Training
Techniques and Proper Progression:
Prone over the ball- need for a neutral neck, can have elbows or hands down, legs can fully extend or bent knees, abs engaged.
Supine Incline on the ball- ball is placed under the back, supporting the core and shoulders are not supported. Need for a neutral neck. Abs engaged.
Plank- ball can be placed under thighs, shins, ankles or feet, hands down on floor. Abs engaged, shoulders must be stabilized.
Side-lying- Hand placed on floor, obliques/hips supported by ball, abs engaged.
Seated- neutral spine, knees and hips in 90 degree, feet placed on floor. Abs engaged.
Against a Wall- Press lower back into ball, abs engaged, Knees do not exceed 90-degree angle.
Supine with elevated legs- imprint spine, or if strong enough in the core, a neutral spine. Abs engaged.
Prone kneeling- hands and forearms on ball/kneeling on floor, abs engaged.
Bridge on the ball- ball rests under the neck and shoulder, more stabilization is required by the rest of the body, legs extend forward, avoid splaying of the knees, abs engaged.
Bridge w/elevated legs on ball- lying supine on the floor, legs elevated onto ball, arms and hands down supporting, neck neutral, abs engaged, spine imprinted into floor, lift pelvis off and keep thighbones straight.
Against the Wall: (can add resistance)
Supine-incline: (can add resistance)
Bridge on the ball: (can add resistance)
Supine with elevated legs:
1) One knee-one arm row (one knee balanced on ball)