What are the Different Kinds of Exercise Ball Training?

Dan Cavallari

Exercise ball training is a great way to develop core strength either at the gym or at home. Such exercises can also help develop better balance and coordination, and all exercise ball training can help alleviate back pain and increase overall strength. Most exercise ball training involves a series of stretches or poses that are sustained for several seconds, and then released. Other exercise routines may involve the use of a medicine ball in addition to the stability ball, or dumbbells that work both core muscles and other muscles such as the chest and arms.

Chest presses performed on exercise balls can be used to strengthen the pectoral muscles.
Chest presses performed on exercise balls can be used to strengthen the pectoral muscles.

Many gyms and fitness centers offer exercise ball training classes, in which an instructor may lead the students through a series of exercises that focus on a particular set of muscles. Core training classes are very common, and such exercises engage muscles in the hip and thighs, as well as the groin, hamstrings, stomach, and lower back. These exercises are designed to help the user develop core strength that in turn supports the lower back. These classes can benefit anyone with lower back pain, balance problems, or beginners looking to start a regular workout routine.

Exercise balls can be used for pushups.
Exercise balls can be used for pushups.

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Exercise ball training can also involve using a medicine ball rather than a stability ball, or in conjunction with a stability ball. A medicine ball is a great choice for plyometric workouts, in which explosive power is developed. Medicine balls come in a variety of sizes and weights, making them a versatile choice for plyometrics. The medicine ball is usually swung in different directions or passed from one partner to another with forceful thrusts. Such motions get the muscles used to explosive motions that can improve quickness and agility. When used in conjunction with the stability ball, using a medicine ball can also further the core workout by engaging muscles otherwise neglected by simple stability ball exercises.

The stability ball is aptly named, as it provides extra stability during exercise ball training that involves free weights such as dumbbells. Common exercises such as the bent over row or the biceps curl can be enhanced by using the stability ball not only for support, but also for extra muscle resistance. The core muscles are again engaged while performing rows and curls, meaning the back remains straighter and the user's form improves. This alleviates a common problem among weight lifters: poor form keeps true development from happening. An exercise ball training program can help enhance these exercises and encourage the user to focus on proper form.

Core training classes using exercise balls are very common.
Core training classes using exercise balls are very common.

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