Fitness Balls

FITNESS BALLS EXERCISES

At King Athletics we strive to supply you with all the latest equipment and exercise techniques for your training and well-being. We actively promote and support our customer’s fitness goals and work hard to provide valuable information to help you get the most out of your exercise routine.

We have helped many like you achieve their fitness goals. Whether you are a beginner looking for information about exercise or you are already in the game but want to advance your skills, we have you covered. Let’s get started!

INTRODUCTION

We are excited that you have decided to purchase the King Athletics Fitness Ball. This e-book has been designed and written with you in mind. If you are familiar with this product then you know how great it is. If you are new to fitness balls, don’t worry – this guide will provide you with everything you need to know to put this great fitness tool to use. We will discuss the benefits and uses of fitness balls, as well as what fitness balls can do to help you achieve your fitness goals.

The King Athletic Fitness Balls are an excellent tool to integrate into regular exercise routines and daily workouts. With regular use, fitness balls not only help build muscle strength and balance, but also help bring an added level of challenge to regular exercise routines!

 

GETTING TO KNOW YOUR FITNESS BALL 

What is a fitness ball?

The fitness ball (also called an exercise ball, Swiss ball, or physio ball) is a simple yet versatile piece of training equipment that you can use to train your whole body with fun and innovative moves. Fitness ball training is effective in building balance, stability, and pillar strength.

These balls are all about instability. When you use a fitness ball to exercise it  makes all your stabilizer muscles – those unsung heroes that play second fiddle to the pecs, biceps and triceps – work to keep you balanced. Using fitness balls regularly for bodyweight moves builds functional all-over strength that will reduce the risk of sporting injury, improve your posture and help support the heavier compound lifts like squats and overhead presses, so your vital gym statistics keep climbing.

SIZE DOES MATTER

Fitness balls come in a variety of sizes. It’s important to select the right size to effectively perform exercises and get the most out of your routine. Since it is not always easy to access a consultant to advise which ball is right for you, we have created a guide to help you select the right size fitness ball based on your personal height.

Exercise balls generally come in five different diametrical sizes. Each size corresponds with a different body composition and size.

Tip: It is also import to note that height is not the only factor to be considered when selecting a fitness ball. Since balls offer resistance and are flexible, weight should also be considered.

This is a general guide for height corresponding to the diameter of the fitness ball. This chart assumes that your average body weight is directly proportional to your height. 

 


If body weight to height is larger than the average proportion, sitting on the exercise ball will compress it down more, so individuals usually should try using the next larger exercise ball size in order to maintain the 90-degree rule. Another factor to keep in mind is that most exercise ball sizes have some adjustability. If the angle at the hips and knees is much greater than 90 degrees, some air can be released to compensate and vice versa.

Tip: Bear in mind, releasing air from the exercise ball will cause it to lose air pressure. As the ball flattens out, this will actually make it more stable, as it has a larger contact area with the resisting surface and the body. This means that stabilizing and balancing exercises will become easier and will lose some effectiveness.

BENEFITS OF USING FITNESS BALL

 

A workout with an exercise ball can be a beneficial way to help improve muscle tone and balance. Exercise balls are filled with air, making them comfortable to use during fitness workouts. They are also lightweight and durable.

  • Improve Your Flexibility -The correct use of an exercise ball during your fitness routine may help improve your flexibility. You can use an exercise ball to warm up and stretch your muscles before you begin a workout. 
  • Strengthen the Core Muscles -When you use an exercise ball properly, it may help to strengthen your abdominal muscles and lower back muscles. These are the muscles that protect your lumbar spine.
  • Build Pillar Strength -Fitness ball exercises are ideal for building pillar strength since they increase the demand of your shoulder, hip, and core stability.
  • Improve Balance and Coordination - The unstable surface of the fitness ball forces your muscles to heighten their readiness. Your body will call more muscles into action to help stabilize your body and control that unstable surface.
  • Activate Key Muscles -Fitness ball exercises can also help activate and elongate key muscles, much like you do in your movement prep
  • Better Sports Performance -Fitness ball movements create better body awareness. This can lead to a lower risk of injury because you'll be less likely to turn an ankle or twist a knee when you're knocked off balance.

EXERCISE WITH YOUR FITNESS BALL 

The following exercises will help build core muscle, improve balance, and enhance overall body strength.

Strengthening the Core Muscles 

These are the main three muscles that make up your core:

  • Tultifidus The main back muscles that support the lumbar spine
  • Transverse abdominus– The deep abdominal muscles.
  • Quadratus lumborum– The muscles found in the lower back that help to maintain pelvic and spinal balance.

These muscles work in union and are responsible for protecting the spine. They make daily activities such as bending, throwing, running and reaching for things easier since all such activities require core/stabilizer muscles. Keeping these muscles well trained helps to prevent difficulties with simple movement such as walking and pulling.

Jog and Dribble

Break the ice and get the blood flowing with this move. You don’t have to be a professional athlete to enjoy doing exercises with the fitness ball.

  • Line everyone up in two or three rows and ask people to dribble their ball (like basketball players) while jogging across the room.
  • Depending on space available, complete 4–6 sets, switching lead arm with each pass.
  • If space is limited, cue the class to jog in place and do alternating hamstring curls while dribbling the ball from hand to hand or bouncing it with both hands.

Sumo Stance with Torso Twists
Change the movement plane and warm up the hips, adductors, and trunk rotators with this core exercise.

  • Externally rotate hips, step out into sumo squat and sink to 90 degrees if possible.
  • Hold fitness ball at chest level and twist right.
  • Keep arms strong throughout movement, elbows elevated and slightly bent.
  • Pulse and twist for 3 counts; return to center.
  • Repeat, twisting left.
  • Complete 8 reps, each side.

Tip: if you are looking for more fun when doing warm ups, you could try using the King Athletic jump rope to spice things up a little bit.

 

Cool down

Cat-Cow

  • Move slowly through the range-of-motion for 6-10 repetitions.
  • Rest 30 seconds, repeat stretch 1-2 more times.

 

Downward-facing Dog

  • Hold position for 20-30 seconds, return to a comfortable resting position.
  • Rest 30 seconds, repeat stretch 1-2 more times.

 

    Cobra

    • Hold position for 20-30 seconds, return to a comfortable resting position.
    • Rest 30 seconds, repeat stretch 1-2 more times.


    EXERCISES WITH YOUR LOWER BODY

    Single leg press (beginner)

    • Rest your upper back on a fitness ball and cross your left leg over your right knee.
    • Lower your hips toward the floor.
    • Pause, then press through your heel to return to start.
    • That's one rep. Do 8 to 12, then repeat on the other side.

    Wall Squat (Beginner)

    • Stand with the exercise ball propped between your lower (lumbar) spine and a wall, pressing slightly into the ball.
    • With hands at your sides or on hips, check that your feet are hip-width apart and slightly in front of you.
    • Bending at yourknees and hips, slowly move into a sitting position with your knees over your ankles. Keep the ball in contact with your back as you move.
    • Return to standing position, continuing to keep the ball in contact with your back as you move.

    Repeat 8-15 times.

    Challenge: Lift one foot 1 or 2 inches off the floor and try doing the exercise with one leg at a time. Switch and repeat with the other leg.

    Hamstring Curl (Intermediate)

     Starting Position

    • Lie on your back on a mat, placing the backs of your lower legs and heels on the top of a fitness ball.
    • Your feet should be lined up with your hips and your toes pulled slightly toward the ceiling.
    • Gently contract your abdominal/core muscles to flatten your lower back onto the floor. Try to hold this gentle contraction throughout the exercise.
    • Extend your arms out to your sides with palms turned to the floor to help stabilize your body during the exercise.

     Downward Phase

    • Gently exhale.
    • Keeping the abdominals engaged, lift your hips up off the floor. Press the backs of your lower legs and heels into the ball for additional stability.
    • Be sure to not lift the hips so high that the lower back begins to arch. Your abdominal contraction will also help avoid excessive arching in the lower back. Continue to press upwards until your body is in a straight line from your heels to your shoulder blades.

    Upward Phase

    • Slowly bend your knees and pull the ball toward your hips until you can rest the soles of your feet on top of the ball.
    • Your toes may point away from your body in this movement. The hips will continue to lift as you pull the ball toward your hips. Keep the torso stable.

    Lowering Phase

    • Slowly press the ball away from your hips until the knees are straight, stabilizing with the core, hamstrings, glutes and arms.
    • Repeat for a prescribed number of repetitions and slowly lower yourself back towards your starting position.

     Challenge: Raise your hips higher as you pull the ball toward you.

    Tip: Avoid arching your lower back as you press your hips upward to the starting position. This can be achieved by contracting your abdominal muscles prior to lifting and keeping them engaged throughout the lift.

     

     

    REVERSE EXTENSION ADVANCED

    Starting Position

    • Begin in an all-fours position with your torso on the ball and hands and feet on the floor.
    • Lengthen your legs and stretch your heels to the back of the room. Your hands should be under your shoulders.
    • Take a few deep breaths. Notice how your abdominals want to rest on the ball when you inhale.
    • Exhale and pull your abdominals away from the ball. Try to keep them pulled away even when you inhale. This is your abdominal engagement.
    • Try to maintain this engagement throughout the exercise.

     Upward Phase

    • Gently exhale. With your abdominals engaged, slowly walk yourself forward until your hips lie directly over the top of the ball.
    • With your feet together, lift your legs off the floor until they are in line with your torso. In this position, your body weight is distributed over the ball and supported by both hands placed on the floor.
    • Press and hold your legs together so they move at the same time.

    Lowering Phase

    • Keeping your legs pressed together, slowly lower both legs back to the floor. Knees should be straight throughout the movement.
    • Keep your legs parallel with the torso, making sure to not raise them any higher. as this will cause your lower back to arch.

    EXERCISES FOR UPPER BODY

    Ball Push-Ups (Intermediate)

    Starting Position

    • Begin in an all-fours position with your torso on the ball and hands and feet on the floor.
    • Lengthen your legs and stretch your heels to the back of the room. Your hands should be under your shoulders.
    • Take a few deep breaths. Notice how your abdominals want to rest toward the ball when you inhale.
    • Exhale and pull your abdominals away from the ball. Try to keep them pulled away even when you inhale. This is your abdominal engagement.
    • Slowly walk yourself backwards until your stomach lies directly over the top of the ball with both legs extended and both feet firmly placed on the floor, hip-width apart or wider.
    • Place your hands on the ball, directly under your shoulders with your elbows pointed toward your ankles.
    • Try to squeeze the ball between your hands to create more strength and stability.

    Upward Phase

    • Exhale and slowly press your body upward until your elbows are straight, but not locked.
    • Keep your head, torso and leg straight, strong and aligned with one another.
    • Hold this position briefly.

    Downward Phase

    • Inhale and gently lower yourself to start position.

     Challenge: Move the ball closer to your ankles.

    Tip: Do not allow the lower back to sag toward the floor. Your torso and hips should remain rigid and  parallel throughout the exercise.

     

    BACK EXTENSION (INTERMEDIATE) 

    • Lie on fitness ball, with feet slightly parted on the floor or against the base of a wall. Cross arms, with hands in front of shoulders.
    • Raise torso off of ball by hyperextending spine. Return torso to ball and repeat.
    • If no wall is available, hips can be positioned lower on ball and toes can be positioned out wide on floor for balance.
    • Movement can be made easier by placing hands behind hips or positioning hips low on ball.

    Challenge: Exercise can be made more challenging by positioning ball lower toward hips, by positioning hands behind head, or positioning arms to the sides of the head.

    PIKE (ADVANCED) 

    5 to 8 reps.

    Starting Position

    • Begin in an all-fours position with your torso on the ball and hands and feet on the floor.
    • Lengthen your legs and stretch your heels to the back of the room. Your hands should be under your shoulders.
    • Take a few deep breaths. Notice how your abdominals want to rest on the ball when you inhale.
    • Exhale and pull your abdominals away from the ball. Try to keep them pulled away even when you inhale. This is your abdominal engagement.

    Curling Phase:

    • Keeping your legs straight and strong, pull your feet toward your chest. The ball will roll forward as your hips pike upward toward the ceiling.
    • Continue this movement until your hips are directly over your shoulders. Your legs, torso and arms should all be straight and strong.
    • Keep your neck long; your head between your arms. You can point your toes but always keep your toes connected to the top of the ball.

    Lowering Phase

    • Inhale and slowly lower yourself back towards the floor, returning your body to the starting position.
    • Avoid arching (sagging) your lower back or hiking your hips upward to the starting position. Contract your abdominal, back and glute muscles to keep your torso and legs parallel to the floor.

    BACK FLY (ADVANCED)

    • Begin this exercise by balancing the core of your body on the Swiss ball with legs straight and toes on the floor.
    • Hold dumbbells to the left and right side of the Swiss ball underneath your shoulders with arms extended.
    • EXHALE: Raise your arms to your side, bringing the dumbbells up to shoulder level height.
    • Keep your arms as straight as possible but do not lock your elbows.
    • INHALE: Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position to complete one rep.

    Tip: This is not an exercise for heavy weights. Keeping arms slightly bent will reduce stress on the elbows. 

     

    Oblique Crunch (Intermediate)

    This exercise strengthens the oblique muscles, and increases core strength and stability. 

    • Begin by resting on your side on the exercise ball with your hands behind your head, and feet resting on the floor.
    • Flex your oblique muscles (side abdominal muscles) to lift your upper body off the exercise ball. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat.

    Walk-out (Intermediate)

    Starting Position

    • Lie on your stomach over the top of the fitness ball.
    • Begin in an all-fours position with your torso on the ball and hands and feet on the floor.
    • Lengthen your legs and stretch your heels to the back of the room. Your hands should be under your shoulders.
    • Take a few deep breaths. Notice how your abdominals want to rest on the ball when you inhale.
    • Exhale and pull your abdominals away from the ball. Try to keep them pulled away even when you inhale.
    • This is your abdominal engagement.
     

    Outward Phase

    • Gently exhale. With your abdominals engaged and your torso rigid, slowly walk your hands forward, lifting your legs off the floor.
    • Your legs should be actively reaching toward the back of the room. Avoid allowing your legs to droop. It is important to keep your ribcage knitted together and the abdominals strong in order to maintain a rigid torso.
    • Continue walking out until the fronts of your thighs or knees are resting on the top of the ball. The further you walk away from the ball, the greater the stability challenge.
    • Go slowly and find the challenge that is just right for you. Keep your body rigid so that your legs and trunk form one continuous line.
    • Your legs should be very active so that your entire body is straight as a board and aligned parallel to the floor.
    • Keep your shoulders forward, away from the shoulder blades and down toward your hips. Your end position is where you can maintain stability with your hands directly under your shoulders, and elbows, torso and legs straight and strong.
    • Hold this position briefly.

    Return Phase:

    • Inhale and slowly walk yourself backwards to your starting position, trying to maintain your stability and balance.

    Exercise Variation

    • To increase the balance challenge, walk yourself further out until the tops of your feet or toes rest on the top of the ball.

    Exercise Variation

    • To further increase the balance challenge, raise one leg off the ball when you reach the end of the walkout phase.

    Challenge: Hold the plank position for a few breaths before returning.

    Knee Tucks (Advanced)

    Starting Position

    Step 1

    • Begin in an all-fours position with your torso on the ball and hands and feet on the floor. Lengthen your legs and stretch your heels to the back of the room.
    • Your hands should be under your shoulders.
    • Take a few deep breaths. Notice how your abdominals want to rest on the ball when you inhale.
    • Exhale and pull your abdominals away from the ball.
    • Try to keep them pulled away even when you inhale. This is your abdominal engagement.

    Step 2

    • Once you have established your abdominal engagement, slowly walk your hands forward until your feet come off the floor.
    • Continue walking out until the fronts of your thighs or knees are resting on the top of the ball in a plank position.
    • It is important to keep your ribcage knitted together and the abdominals strong in order to maintain a rigid torso.
    • Your legs should be very active so that your entire body is straight as a board and aligned parallel to the floor.
    • Keep your shoulders pulling away from your shoulder blades and toward your hips. Elbows must be straight and hands directly under your shoulders. Keep your legs active.

    Curling Phase

    • Exhale and slowly bend your knees toward your chest.
    • The ball will roll forward as your knees tuck under your torso and your hips lift toward the ceiling.

    NOTE: This brings your body into somewhat of a handstand position. Be aware of your shoulder strength and keep the elbows straight.

    • Ideally, your knees are under your hips, your hips are toward the ceiling and your shins are on top of the ball. Hold this position for a breath.

    Lowering Phase

    • Inhale and straighten your legs, rolling the ball back to plank position.

    Advanced Challenge: Keeping your legs straight, move your hips toward the ceiling until the ball is at your ankles.

    Russian Twist (Advanced)

    • Lean on top of a fitness ball with the upper back on the ball and the hips out straight in front of the body, with knees bent at a 90 degree angle.
    • Keep the body straight from shoulders to knees. Hold the arms out straight in front of the chest with the palms touching each other.
    • Twist through the stomach and shoulders rotating on to one shoulder with the hips up. Keep the feet on the ground and back straight and rotate to the opposite side. 

    EXERCISES FOR BALL TRAINING

    Ball Circles

    Sit on the ball and place the hands on the ball for balance or place them behind your head for more of a challenge. 

    • Slowly begin to roll the hips in a circle towards the right, making small circles and then, as you get comfortable, larger circles. 
    • Focus on contracting the abs each time you roll the ball forward. 
    • Repeat for 20 circles to the right and then the left.

    Ball Marches

    • Sit on the ball with the spine straight and abs in. 
    • Begin a slow march, alternating lifting the right foot and then the left. 
    • As you get comfortable with the movement, lift the knees higher and march faster. 
    • You can also add a bounce on the ball if you feel comfortable. 
    • Repeat for 1-2 minutes.

    Seated Ball Balance

    • Sit on the ball with the spine straight and abs in. 
    • Place the hands on the ball or behind the head (harder) and lift the right foot off the floor, holding it in the air for 5 or more seconds. 
    • Lower and repeat on the other side. 
    • Repeat for 5-10 reps. Keep the abs in to help maintain your balance.

    Challenge: Position toes on the ground and heels up. Slowly lift the toes on one foot off the ground. Repeat with the other foot.

    Advanced Challenge: Lift both feet off the floor. Sit with only the ball touching the floor.

    One Leg Balance with the Ball

    • Stand on left leg, right leg straight out behind you, holding the ball overhead. 
    • Slowly lower the ball toward the floor while sweeping the right leg up behind you and balance, using the ball for support. 
    • Try to roll the ball out a bit to lengthen the body from head to toe. 
    • Hold for 5 breaths and repeat on the other leg.

    Stretching

    Chest Stretch on the Ball

    • Lie face up on the ball and roll down until your back is fully supported. 
    • Relax your hips and head and let your arms fall out to the sides for a relaxing chest stretch. 
    Hold for 3-5 breaths.

    Whole Body Stretch with the Ball

    • With legs wide, place hands on ball and roll it forward, pressing your chest towards the floor to stretch the back and hamstrings. 
    • Hold for 5 breaths.

    Back Stretch with the Ball

    • Stand in front of ball and place the side of the right hand on the ball (thumb pointing up). 
    • Roll the ball towards the left while keeping the hips square. 
    • Hold for 3-5 breaths and switch to the other side.
    • Place ball under you and get into a lunge position, one leg forward (bent to 90 degrees), back leg straight out and balancing on toe.  You should be resting on the ball. 
    • Bring hands out in front of you or overhead and feel the stretch through the hips.  Hold for 3-5 breaths and repeat on other leg.

    Inner Thigh Ball Stretch

    • Sit on ball and take the legs out wide. 
    • Place elbows on the inside of the knees or hips and relax into the stretch, using your elbows to gently push the knees out for a deeper stretch. 
    • Hold for 3-5 breaths.

     Standing Back Stretch with the Ball

    • This works better with a smaller ball. 
    • In standing position hug the ball to your chest and then bend forward, resting the ball on the thighs while letting your arms hang down towards the floor. 
    • Relax your body, letting your legs support you, and open up through the back. 
    • Hold for 3-5 breaths.

    Safety tips

    These practices will increase the safety and benefits when working with fitness balls.

    • When exercising, always wear a shirt. A sweaty body will slide off the ball which could cause an injury, especially if you’re using the ball in conjunction with free weights.
    • Avoid the use of any type of support or anchors for supporting your limbs when training with the stability exercise ball. The whole idea is to train in an unstable neuromuscular environment.
    • When using external resistance, opt for lighter loads than you would when training on a standard bench. Do not use high loads with this type of training.
    • Spotters are a good idea when using external resistance equipment. However, if you are using appropriate loads and form, nothing more than minimal supervision is generally required.

    Additional advice:

    • Always consult your physician before beginning an exercise program.
    • Your rehabilitation or exercise professional should help develop an individualized program to meet your needs and abilities.
    • If you have a previous injury, start with light pressure.
    • Ensure proper use of products described in this manual by following instructions carefully. Failure to do so could result in serious injury.

       

       

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

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