I LOVE my balance ball! Balance balls are excellent for improving strength, stability and balance. However, they can be tricky to use. If youre not accustomed to stability exercises or your core muscles need strengthening youll find a balance ball workout is extremely challenging. Dont miss out on the benefits of a balance ball just because its tricky! Use these tips to help you get started successfully.
I learned everything I know on this subject from Denise Austin’s excellent book Sculpt Your Body With Balls and Bands. The ball exercises gave improved my balance enormously.
How To Choose Your Balance Ball Wisely
#1 Make sure you have the right sized ball. If your ball is too big or too small youre going to have a tougher time. Use the following guidelines to make sure you have the ideal size and fit. I gave one of my balls to my daughter. She is 3″ shorter than I am and the ball didn’t work well for her. It was too tall.
4’11” – 5’4″ choose a 55 cm ball.
5’5″ – 5’11” choose a 65 cm ball
6’0″ – 6′ 7 choose a 75 cm ball
#2 Make sure your ball is properly inflated. If your ball is hard and very inflated it will be more difficult to balance on it. A softer, less inflated ball will be easier to work out on. As you gain confidence and skill, you can add pressure to your balance ball.
#3 Sit on it. Start becoming accustomed to your balance ball by simply sitting on it. Sounds easy, right? Its not as easy as you might think. When you sit on a ball the ball wants to roll. Youre going to have to use your core muscles to keep the ball in place and to stay on top of it. Make sure youre practicing with bare feet or tennis shoes. This will give you some extra support and friction so you dont slip off.
If you’re not familiar with a bosu, it’s a ‘sort-of’ newer version of an exercise ball (pictured at right). It’s like a half ball because the bottom is flat, rather than rounded.
Honestly, I’ve never used one and have my reservations. Keeping yourself ON the ball builds strength and balance. So a bosu is easier to use but probably has fewer benefits, although I’m not sure of that.