A fitness ball is an essential device in exercises as its unstable surface compels multiple muscle groups to work together to stabilize the body while performing the exercises, improving strength, balance and coordination. In this way using the ball helps develop the use of the core muscles.
The core muscles refer to your deep abdominal muscles, back extensor muscles, and your hip muscles. These muscles are all important since they support your lower back and provide a stable foundation for your body, and are considered to be vital in relation to stopping lower back pain.
There are a variety of ways that you can use a fitness ball. One way is to perform free weight exercises for your upper body while sitting or lying on the ball. This will require you to employ your abdominal muscles. Using the ball in this way, will not only strengthen the major muscle groups of your upper body as per the standard exercise, it will also train a variety of stabilizers that are not trained in the standard exercise.
You can use the fitness ball to perform a variety of weight free exercises. For example, you can perform push-ups with your hands or feet on the fitness ball. This is an effective exercise for your upper extremities as the unsteady surface of the ball forces the muscles of your arms, upper back, shoulder blade muscles, abdominals and lower back to increase their involvement.
You can also perform exercises like crunches on the fitness ball. Crunches are usually done on the floor, but when they are executed on the fitness ball, they become more difficult with a longer range of motion. This is because the fitness ball allows you to lay your upper back down on the ball and opens up the ribcage. This allows for a much longer range of motion and more focus your abdominal muscles.
Fitness balls can also be a valuable tool in nearly any exercise because they offer variation to your fitness exercises as well as making your body work harder. By exercising with the fitness ball, you have an opportunity to strengthen your core muscles and reduce your chance of injury.