T Nation

Big rubber balls

Has anyone had experiences with those big rubber balls that people do exercises on? I see them all around the place and im wondering if they help you in some sort of way… please help

They’re called Swiss Balls. Search the T-Mag site and you’ll find all sorts of info about them.

Yeah bro, I have two. One at home and one at work. I use the one at work as a chair. It helps keep proper posture and puts less stress on the spine. It also comes in handy for cracking my back and sometimes doing a few quick exercises when I’m bored. I use the one at home to sit on and also to do a few exercises. It really depends what you want to do with it. It does come in handy when I don’t want to go to the gym or if I want to do a home workout.

I used to do all kinds of situps, crunches, v-ups etc. and never got the abs that I wanted. I did all kinds of abdominal work for over 6 months and then added a swiss ball to my weight room and in 6 weeks of doing swiss ball situps, starting with no weight and working up to using an 80lb dumbell on my chest my abs are massive. I can actually see my abs now even though I have a high % of body fat. I think that a swiss ball is absolutley the best thing to ever happen to abs.

I use one of the balls at the gym for situps, it keeps tension on the stomach and back throughout the exercise. They are great for making sure you maintain good posture during situps too. My gym has a ‘world ball’ class where you do all sorts of exercises with the ball. If you have a chance, go to one class - even if you hate aerobics classes it will show you all sorts of useful exercises. (Of course, my friend has one for sex too…but I’ve never tried that particular use.)

The Swiss Ball is probably the most versatile piece of exercise equipment you’ll ever own. You can use it as a seat like someone said already, as a bench for seated and lying presses to build core stability. The idea behind using it as a bench is to decrease your base balance, thus recruiting core stabilizers to help when you do the exercise. If doing a d-bell shoulder press, use the ball as your seat. The closer together your feet are, the more unstable you are and the more your trunk stabilizers are recruited. If it’s too easy with feet together, try one leg off the floor. Have fun, and use less weight to start.

Which uses more stabilizers, standing d.b. military presses or seated swiss ball d.b. military presses?

I like doing them seated on a ball because you can alter your base i.e. lift one foot. You’d have a hard time doing that standing.

I too am a fan of the swiss ball, but a word of caution use of this device is excellent for building the core stabilizers, but overuse can and eventually will cause a decrease in overall strength simply because you will have to use lighter weights than your active movement muscle are used to, because the core stabilizers fatigue much more quickly. A suggestion would be to use the swiss ball for one exercise per workout, or one work out per week, or for all workouts for one week and then no use for several weeks.

Remember 1 key fact. Stabilizing is a function of all muscles. There are no such things as stabilizers. It’s easy to forget when talking about all these balance products.