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Providing a varied workout plan, gym balls are an effective piece of fitness equipment that you can add, inexpensively, to your home gym equipment. With multiple uses, exercise balls can be used for everything from physical therapy through to core work. For more advanced users of free weights, you can also replace the weights bench with an exercise ball which encourages your core muscles in to action even though you're focused on an upper body workout.
Gym balls, or as they are sometimes called, Swiss balls are just that-large inflatable balls that can aid your fitness routine. They tone muscle, improve flexibility, balance and posture. You can do a wide variety of exercises with them from warming up, to working through a tough regime or as part of a Pilates workout.
Gym balls come in a variety of sizes and strengths. The best ones are made of vinyl but you may find some made of plastic. Some gym balls also now come in an oblong shape, accommodating different exercises.
Getting the right size ball is crucial. If for example you are stretching and the ball is too small then you won’t get the right stretch. The wrong size ball can also cause you to roll off the ball causing injury.
The best way to check size is to squat with your back against a wall low enough to achieve a 90 degree position. Mark the wall and that will give you the height that you need. Another technique is to measure from the back of your knee to the ground, add 3 cm and the next size ball after this measurement will be the right size for you.
A gym ball will certainly help your core as your balance will be challenged. You can use them for most exercises and as they add instability to the exercise it naturally tests your body more. If you try to do sit ups on a gym ball you will know straight away what we mean. They are also very good for strength and resistance training and for Pilates and yoga.
In summary, your exercises get more varied and more difficult. They are great for stretching on and for improving your core. They are softer on your back than the floor and they can improve your muscle tone.