A medicine ball is also commonly used by athletes who have sustained an injury, and seek rehabilitation. They are also extensively used by secondary schools as a fitness aid, by lifting the ball, or performing different exercises with the ball incorporated to increase the strain on a particular muscle.
A Swiss ball is a ball constructed of elastic rubber with a diameter of around 55 to 85 cm (22 to 34 inches). It is used in physical therapy and exercise.
Doing yoga on a ball allows your body to open gently so you can keep your breath flowing and remain aware of signs of strain so you don’t injure yourself. The balance ball supports you in certain poses and helps you modify each posture to suit your body.
Sitting on a ball instead of a chair is a great way to keep your spine healthy. Try to sit on a ball for at least part of your work day, if you have a desk job. When you sit on a ball, you’re forced to sit up with good posture because you have nothing to lean back on. Also, because the ball rolls around, it keeps you on your toes and keeps your body moving, which help prevent the stiffness and back pain that you can get from being too sedentary.
Bent Knee Bridge for Buttocks and hamstrings
How to do it: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your heels resting on top of the ball. Spread your arms out on either side of you. Lift your butt off the floor while squeezing it, and push your hips toward the ceiling. Pause at the top of the movement, then go back to the starting position.
The following are some guidelines in planning and running a medicine ball session :-
1. Always ensure the athletes carry out a thorough warm up and warm down
2. Before starting a session, explain the procedures for each exercise with your athletes
3. Partners who feed the medicine ball on certain exercises should be well drilled on what is required
4. Medicine ball exercises must precede high intensity work
5. Start sessions with lighter less dynamic exercises, then progress to heavier exercises
6. The program should have exercises that match the pattern of movements of the sport
7. Plan the program to exercise alternate body parts (legs, upper body, torso)
8. You will need to have a number of different weights of ball available – heavy, medium and light
A primary benefit of exercising with a Swiss ball as opposed to exercising directly on a hard flat surface is that the body responds to the instability of the ball to remain balanced, engaging many more muscles to do so. Those muscles become stronger over time to keep balance.