Upon hearing the word “core muscles”, most of us will only think about abdominals. Your core means the muscles around your hips, lower back, upper back, stomach and shoulder girdle 🙂 Due to modern day living, these are weak in a lot of people so there is much to be gained from putting some time and effort into strengthening them. Not only does this reduce the likelihood of getting injured, but it also means that you will be more supported in your other activities – from playing tennis with your pal on a Friday to cleaning the house in the week!
Developed in the 1960s, the swissball is a familiar item in the spare rooms and lofts of many homes! Despite being around for over 50 years, it is still very much relevant in the fast flowing fad-tastic fitness industry. And there is a reason for this – the simplicity of the moves make it accessible to all. The majority of exercises can be made harder or easier by simply changing a few variables. The lack of stability means that it is great for muscle activation and for strengthening the muscles that stabilise our joints. It also means that it lends itself to both rehab and sports performance.
One thing is certain though: owning one does not lead to the results of regularly using one! Too often they are left to gather dust as we gaze at our expanding waist lines and move it from one room to another. In the video below; Free Spirit Trainer Andi Dunn demonstrates three variations of an exercise involving a swissball: starting from the easier option to the more challenging ones!
- Lie on your back and place your calves on the ball. Press your hands down into the floor and lift your hips so that your body is in one straight line. Keeping your bum squeezed and your navel pulling in towards your back, draw your heels towards your bottom. Try not to let your hips drop as you do this. Start with small sets of three and build up to sets of 15. 3 to 5 sets should do the job!
- Reach your arms up towards the ceiling and ‘plug’ your shoulders and head down into the mat. Repeat option (1) but keep the arms where they are. This should feel more intense through the back of the legs and your bottom/lower back. It will also be more challenging for your core to keep the ball neutral and balanced in the centre.
- This time the line through the body is not heels, bottom, shoulders but KNEES, bottom, shoulders! As you draw the feet in, hinging at the knee, try to keep a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. This should give you the feeling that as your feet draw towards you, your hips lift up too.
The good thing about our core muscles is that they are small so although they may fatigue quickly at first, they recover and strengthen quickly too! You can afford to work these muscles every day so set yourself small goals and fit 10-15 mins core training into your routine or add it on to the beginning or end of your cardio workouts 🙂
Keep the music LOUD and enjoy the BURN! If you want to book some sessions with our PTs so that they can make you work, then contact us today.