Swiss Gym Ball Exercises

Sometimes called gym balls, fit balls or stability balls, Swiss balls are used for performing a variety of exercises. Constructed of nonburst plastic, Swiss balls are inflatable and come in many sizes. To make sure your Swiss ball is the correct size for you, sit on it and place your feet flat on the floor. Your knees should be bent 90 degrees and level with your hips. If you knees are below your hips, then the ball is too big, and if your knees are above your hips, then the ball is too small.

Swiss Ball Squat

To tone and strengthen your legs, stand next to a wall and place your Swiss ball behind your back. The ball should be located in your lumbar curve. Place your feet flat on the floor just in front of your hips and cross your arms over your chest. Keeping your heels flat on the floor, push your hips backwards and bend your knees to lower into a squat position. Your thighs should be parallel to the floor. Push back up into the starting position and repeat.

Swiss Ball Crunch

Swiss ball crunches are an effective abdominal exercise. Sit on your ball and walk your feet forwards while simultaneously leaning backwards. The ball should be located in the curve of your lower back. Place your hands on your thighs, across your chest or on either side of your head. Use your abdominal muscles to lift your shoulders and upper back off of the ball. Hold the top position for a second before slowly returning to the starting position and repeating for the desired number of repetitions.

Swiss Ball Push-up

This challenging exercise will strengthen your chest, shoulders and triceps. Place your hands on your Swiss ball so that they are on either side of the apex with your fingers pointing straight down towards the floor. Walk your feet back so that your body forms a straight line from heels to shoulders. Keep your core tight and bend your arms to lower your chest to the ball. Push back up into the starting position. You can make this exercise more challenging by elevating your feet on an exercise bench. If this exercise is too demanding, you can place the ball against a wall to reduce the load on your arms.

Swiss Ball Hip Bridge

To strengthen your lower back and hamstrings, lie on your Swiss ball so that the ball is located under your shoulders. Your body should be parallel to the floor with your knees bent to 90 degrees and your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Keep your butt and abs tight and hold this bridge position for as long as is comfortable. To intensify this exercise, bring your feet together to reduce your base of support and challenge your balance. From this narrow-foot position, you can extend one leg so that it is held parallel to the ground to maximize the difficulty of the exercise.

Swiss Ball Leg Curl

Swiss ball leg curls will tone and strengthen your hamstrings, glutes and lower back. Lie on your back on the floor with your calves resting on your Swiss ball and your hands by your sides. Extend your hips so that your butt and lower back are lifted off of the floor and your weight is supported on your shoulders and upper back only. Holding this extended position, bend your legs to curl your feet into your butt and push your hips up towards the ceiling. Hold the most contracted position for a second before returning to the starting position. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions. To make this exercise more challenging, try performing it using one leg only and holding the other leg away from the ball.

About this Author

Patrick Dale is an experienced writer who has written for a plethora of international publications. Also a lecturer and trainer of trainers, he is a major contributor for Ultra-FIT magazine and has been involved in fitness for 22 years. Other than a five-year service in the Royal Marines, Dale has always worked in health and fitness and never intends leaving.