Crossroads Fitness Blog
Ready for a good workout? Then play ball
Fitness ball workouts are becoming increasingly popular — and for good reason. If you’re looking for an exercise that will challenge you, consider a workout using one of the many different types of fitness balls.
There are traditional stability balls and BOSU balls as well as such weighted balls as medicine, slam or wall balls. Each ball has unique characteristics and specific uses.
Stability balls come in various sizes and are made of a soft rubber that are inflated. They’re used to strengthen and tone, particularly the core muscles. It’s important to find a ball that fits so it can be used effectively. They range in size from 30 centimeters in diameter for children up to 75 centimeters in diameter for taller adults.
One thing that makes stability balls so popular is they can be used both in the gym and at home — and even in the office as a desk chair. Physical therapists also use stability balls for rehabilitation. Some exercises that can be performed using stability balls include ab crunches, back extensions and elbow planks. A trainer can demonstrate how to do a full body workout using a stability ball.
Have you ever seen the funny looking balls that look like they’ve been cut in half? This is called a BOSU ball. It was invented by David Weck and includes an inflated rubber side attached to a ridged platform. BOSU stands for “both sides utilized” since different exercises can be performed on each side. BOSU balls often are used for balance training.
You’ll also find a variety of weighted balls in a health club setting, including medicine balls, slam balls and wall balls.
Medicine balls come in a variety of sizes ranging from small to large with corresponding weights. Medicine balls have been used since ancient times to improve strength and muscular power. Medicine balls can be used in a range of poses and exercises that strengthen every part of the body — from lifting to rotating.
A slam ball is a weighted sphere designed for throwing exercises. Slam balls are available in different sizes and weights. The shell is made of a tough rubber that can handle the impact of being thrown down on a hard surface. Use a slam ball to develop power, strength and speed. Abs and core specifically benefit. Exercises using a slam ball will increase heart rate, making it a great exercise for burning calories. An example of using a slam ball is to stand with your feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent. Then just slam the ball to the ground, pick it back up and repeat.
A wall ball is similar to a slam ball, but used by throwing the ball up onto a wall and catching it on the way down into a squat. This movement works the upper body on the throw and the lower body on the catch and squat as well as the entire core. This exercise also is good for cardio and gets the heart pumping.
It’s no wonder why fitness balls have become so popular. If you’re ready for the challenge, find the type, size and weight and then play ball.