The Swiss Ball Workout
The Swiss Ball often goes overlooked in the gym, but the instability introduced by this piece of equipment provides a challenge for your core as well as improving balance and co-ordination.
Swiss Ball Glute Bridge
The Glute Bridge emphasises the glutes as well as working the hamstrings, calves and core. It’s an effective way of hitting the posterior chain. Start the exercise lay flat on your back, legs extended with the ball under your heels. Raise your hips off the ground, pushing them as high as you can, the higher you can keep them, the more difficult and effective this exercise becomes. Proceed to pull your heels in towards your glutes, feeling a tight contraction through the hamstrings as you reach the limit of your range of motion.
Extend your legs until straight, this is one repetition. Repeat for 3 sets of 10 repetitions with a 45 second to 1-minute break in between sets.
Swiss Ball Plank
Taking the ordinary plank but making it harder, start on your hands and knees, hips over knees and shoulders over wrists, with the Swiss Ball tucked up underneath your shins. To get into the plank position lean your weight forward over your wrists as you extend the legs coming into a plank position. From here it is important to maintain tension throughout your entire body, as the ball is unstable it will ask more from your core to maintain balance.
Hold this position for as long as possible, aiming to work up to 3 sets of 60 seconds. Taking a minute rest between sets.
Swiss Ball Knee Tucks
This exercise is a step forward from the plank, placing more emphasis on the abdominals with each repetition. Start in the plank position, making sure your shoulders are in line with your wrists. From this position tuck your knees into your chest, pulling as high as you can. As you get to the top of your range of motion you should feel a tight contraction in your core abdominals. Repeat this exercise until failure. Take a 60 second break and then repeat for two more rounds.
Changing the difficulty of this exercise is as simple as changing the positioning of the swiss ball. The further up your legs the ball is the easier it will be, and vice versa. So, for example having your shins on the ball at the start position will be much easier than having just your tip toes on the ball.
Swiss Ball Rollouts
This exercise is the first step into mastering the Ab wheel rollout. Due to the size of the Swiss Ball it reduces the difficulty of the exercise considerably allowing you to work up to the Ab wheel safely without putting too much pressure on your body. Start in an upright kneeling position, palms of your hands placed on the swiss ball. Keeping your glutes contracted to maintain hip extension and a straight body. Begin to roll forward on your hands, coming onto your forearms, all the way up to your elbows. From this position pull back using your core until you can come back upright onto your hands. Repeat this for 10 repetitions.
Swiss Ball Side Plank Drops
Working the obliques start in a side plank position with one elbow on this Swiss Ball, feet on the floor. This is the top position, from here lower your hips under control, bringing them as close to the floor as possible, then push back up to the top position, trying to push your hips as high as possible. If performed correctly you should feel a pinch in the side of your core. These are the obliques contracting to perform the movement.
Perform for 30 seconds on one side, before immediately switching to the other side and finishing off with another 30 seconds. Perform 3 sets on both sides with a 60 second rest between sets.
Swiss Ball Corkscrew
The final exercise combines the obliques and the rectus abdominals into a total core challenge. Starting in a lay down position with the ball between your feet. Raise the ball with straight legs, at the top of the movement twist your legs to one direction you twist contract your obliques tightly before lowering back down in a controlled manner. Repeat but this time twist to the opposite direction. Repeat this for 60 seconds, taking a 30 second break and performing 3 sets.