Have you heard the term, focus on the core? No, we’re not talking about the inside of a golf ball; we’re talking about the inner muscles that make up the abdominal region, hips and lower/upper back. Most people focus their attention on the muscles that are more visible and easier to train, such as biceps, pecs and back, however, the most important muscles that act as our foundation are often overlooked. So, what is core training, or better yet core stability, and how does an individual increase their core stability?
Core training is best done when the body is placed in an unstable environment. One way to accomplish an unstable environment is with the use of those big colorful balls, depending who you talk to, are commonly known as Swiss balls, Resist-A-Ball or stability balls. Once used as a tool for rehabilitation has now become a hot item for healthy individuals to use to core and stability training. Swiss balls can be used in a variety of settings; use with bodyweight only, integrated with certain machines, free weights, or resistance bands.
We have all seen Swiss balls in fitness facilities, but the question many people ask is what makes Swiss ball training so great? How can sitting, rolling, moving or performing an exercise on a ball be beneficial? Believe it or not but there are numerous benefits to Swiss ball training, some of them are listed here.
Improved Posture. It takes more energy to move the body when you have poor posture not to mention an increase of stress to the joints and stabilizer muscles. An athlete is always searching for the edge over the competition and simply improving posture will help the body function more effectively and efficiently. Swiss ball training is an excellent form of posture training. Postural muscles have to work in the unstable environment, unlike supported exercises such as machine training.
Improved Balance/Stability. The human body moves in three planes or a combination of planes and for improved balance and stability, an individual need to perform exercises that allow them to train in these multiple planes. Traditional machine weight training takes the balance out of the picture and the machine actually becomes your stabilizer. Swiss ball training places you in an unstable environment forcing you to utilize your neutralizer and stabilizer muscles to stay balanced in a given position or through a particular motion. The result is improved sports performance since you are able to apply more power and strength to any situation, especially out on the golf course, when you need to balance and stabilize your body on a hill or unstable position.
Improved Nervous System Activation. The benefit of improving your nervous system activation is that you are able to transform the strength you developed from your training program to real life situations, whether they are sport related or everyday activities.
Strengthen the Core & Extremities. Swiss ball exercises require constant activation of the core muscles, which translates to a more functional core as well as sculpted abdominal and back muscles. Using the Swiss ball with free weight exercises will help develop the extremities while training the core at the same time.