3 Badass Swiss Ball Exercises
I train a lot of people in their “home gyms,” which sometimes consist of only a Swiss ball and some resistance bands. Not a ton of quantity or quality, really—the Swiss ball can be a useful piece of gym equipment, but if I had to choose between it and a chair, I’d take the chair. On the other hand, if I wanted something to sit on, I’d go with the Swiss ball.
What’s the difference?
A chair is a stable, versatile piece of equipment that can be incorporated into workouts for all fitness levels. You can use it to teach older clients to get out of a seat without using their hands, or to do weighted Bulgarian split squats.
A Swiss ball makes an awesome chair; it forces you to keep your spine neutral to remain comfortable. But, as far as exercise goes, I really only find value in using it for more advanced clients.
That’s not saying there is no value in having a Swiss ball. You can use it to do some great shoulder, back, lat, and oblique stretches, but most of those can also be done with a chair. My issue with the Swiss ball is that it’s been incorporated into so many exercises it has no business being a part of: chest presses, crunches, bicep curls, and squats, to name a few.
You don’t want to be either of these guys:
These are two great examples of exercises that add a large amount of danger and very little value.
But enough ranting about what not to do. Though it may not always be entirely necessary, the Swiss ball can help train your core when used effectively and safely. Here are three badass Swiss ball exercises to do just that:
1) Swiss ball rollouts
This is an exercise with a small range of motion. Be sure to maintain a neutral spine and to move slowly and with control.
Progression: Stir the pot
The movement here is the same as the rollout, but instead of moving your elbows forward and back, we are moving them in a circle.
2) Toe taps
Again, maintaining a neutral spine and bracing your abs are the most important parts of this exercise.
3) Supine hamstring curls
Before starting, make sure you feel stable, with your feet on the ball and your hips off the ground.
Progression: Cross your arms
Here’s a great set of exercises that will make your abs feel like Swiss cheese at the end of your workout:
1. Swiss ball rollouts: 3x10
2. Stir the pot: 3x5 (Each direction)
3. Toe taps: 3x10 (tapping both feet counts as 1)
4. Supine hamstring curls: 3x12