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Just like fashion, fitness trends come and go.  Remember the AbFlex?  I used to watch that infomercial over and over as a kid as I dreamed of getting a rippled, sizzling six pack.  Too bad it was only a fad.  However, once in a while, a fitness product comes in the market and actually does make sense.  One such product is the exercise ball, also known as a gym ball, Swiss ball, or physio ball.  Physiotherapists have been using these balls for years improving the core strength and functionality of their patients.  Gyms have incorporated them for years giving their members more versatility and options.  Personally, I think everyone should own one in their homes as there are so many uses you could do with an exercise ball.

 

What Can I Use an Exercise Ball For?

 
Weight Training – A ball is a great alternative for a weight bench.  When you lie down or sit down on the ball while lifting weights, you activate all the muscles of your legs, abs, and glutes. This challenges whole body stabilization while isolating a specific muscle group.

Abdominal Training – The ball can be used for crunches, sit-ups, and twists.  Doing abdominal work on the ball increases the range of motion of crunches or sit-ups compared to doing them on the floor, giving you a much more effective work out.

A chair – sitting on an exercise ball is a great substitute for a chair.  Most people sit on chairs for long hours during the day which often leads to slouching and bad posture.  Sitting on a ball will engage your core muscles the whole time allowing you to maintain a good, upright posture, and giving you a challenging workout.  Experiment with balancing on the ball while lifting a foot up off the ground.  Also replace your office chair with a ball to improve your ergonomics during work.

Stretching – The ball is a great tool for stretching and relaxing almost every muscle in your body.
Yoga & Pilates – Many people are already incorporating yoga and pilates in their schedules.  Doing yoga and pilates on the ball adds a new challenging element to the workout.  You will learn to strengthen and stretch your entire body feeling longer, stronger and more relaxed.


What Size Should I Get?

When it comes to balls, size is important.  If you’re too tall and you use a ball that’s too small, you may overwhelm the ball.  If you’re too short, your feet may not even hit the ground while lying or sitting on the ball.  A good indicator of the right size of ball is when you’re sitting on the ball, your hips should be at the same level of your knees and your knees should be at a 90° angle.  Here is a chart to reference what size of a ball you should get.

45 cm exercise ball - Users under 5'-0" tall
55 cm exercise ball - Users 5’1” - 5'8" tall
65 cm exercise ball - Users 5’9” - 6'2" tall
75 cm exercise ball - Users over 6’3” tall

 

What Should I Look For In a Ball?

Exercise balls come in a variety of sizes and quality as well.  The best balls to get are the most durable ones.  You want to look for a ball that is graded as anti-burst.  If you get a regular ball and it gets punctured, the ball will burst like a balloon and you will end up on your ass before you know it - definitely not the safest option.  If an anti-burst ball gets punctured, the air will leak out slowly which is a much safer option.  When inflated fully, the ball should feel firm and not flimsy, and should be round and not lopsided.  The mould of the ball should be thick and durable.

Fitness Town carries a wide variety of balls to choose from.  The best quality ball is the DuraBall Pro.  This ball is the strongest and most durable of all exercise balls tested and has gone through vigorous testing and continuous years of development.  Visit a Fitness Town and ask an expert which ball would be perfect for you.

 

 A certified personal trainer and crossfit coach with more than four years of experience, Patrick Vuong has helped countless athletes, elderly, and everyday folk improve their lives through better movement, nutrition, and body re-composition.  A kinesiology graduate of UBC, Patrick continues to educate himself daily on fitness and promote the benefits of regular exercise to everyone. He currently is the Assistant Manager at Fitness Town Burnaby.

 

 

Tweets that mention Does size really matter? How to Choose the Right Exercise Ball for you | Fitness Town -- Topsy.com
Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010 at 9:36AM
[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Dai Manuel, Health4YourLife and Jason Minion, Arlen Quashie. Arlen Quashie said: Does size really matter? How to Choose the Right Exercise Ball for you: Just like fashion, fitness trends come an... http://bit.ly/c5DBeM [...]
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