Why the Swiss ball?
"Exercising with a ball “can stir the enthusiast or the slacker, can exercise the lower portionsof the body or the upper, some particular part rather than the whole, or it can exercise all the parts of the body equally...is able to give the most intense workout and the gentlest relaxation.”
- Galen (2nd century Greek philosopher and physician)
I don’t really teach people how to lift weights. I can… and there’s a lot of benefit to be gained from lifting weights, but it’s not really what I’m into. I’ll leave that to someone else. I’ve always tried to look after myself by using as few “things” as I can, that’s why I don’t get into supplements, protein powders, gizmos or gadgets but there is a few pieces of equipment I would recommend investing in and one of them a Swiss ball.
Swiss balls allow you to do a lot of things. They can keep you from being sedentary in the office, they can help you stretch many different muscle groups, they can help you mobilize your spine and they can be a great tool for a lot of different body weight exercises aimed at improving posture, balance, reactivity and stability.
I keep a Swiss ball in my office so that I can use it instead of a chair. I also sit on the floor, lay on the floor, stand and try to move my Macbook around as much as I can, so that I don’t get stuck in the same position for hours on end. Using a Swiss ball as a chair is a great way to keep you moving throughout the day. The intervertebral discs of the spine, don't have the greatest natural blood supply and so it is important to keep them nourished and soft through pumping movements. Seated on a Swiss ball, you can bounce on it, rock back and forth or side to side or you can lift one or two feet off the ground and balance. All of these little movements are great because they help pump blood to where it needs to go in the discs and keep you from remaining sedentary. If you like this idea and you are going to make the change, start slow and alternate between Swiss ball and your regular chair. You will be using a lot of stabilizer muscles that you might not be used too and as they fatigue, you may end up slumping into another unfavorable posture in which you would be better off on your old chair.
Due to the unstable nature of the Swiss ball, training with one activates many of the stabilizer muscles of the core and the surrounding joints, thus it's a great tool for rehabilitative exercise. When performing any exercise on a Swiss ball, you first need to stabilize your trunk, before moving out from there. A stable core equates to a stable spine and a stable spine is a far more effective base to move and generate force from when performing any given movement. This also means that we get a great deal more effort from the nervous system and when you train the nervous system in a controlled environment, you will be much more prepared for high pressure situations when coming into competition.
If you like the sounds of what a Swiss ball can do for you and would like to know more about how to use one. Send me an email and let’s chat about how we work together and how I can design a program for you and your specific needs.