Buyer's Guide to Fitballs
Fitballs or Swiss balls are round balls filled with air that are frequently used in gyms to tone and strengthen muscles. However, Fitballs have many more uses than commonly thought.
The uses of fitballs are very varied, here we detail some of the most common ones:
Fitballs for sports
The most widespread use of Fitballs is to exercise both in gyms and at home. Among the workouts where it is most used, Yoga, Pilates or Functional Training classes often incorporate fitballs in their workouts.
Fitballs for sitting and improving posture
In addition to toning, fitballs are especially suitable for people with lower back and neck problems. Numerous offices and users already use fitballs as an alternative to the traditional chair, as they prevent back problems and help to maintain a correct posture during the whole time of sitting.
Fitballs and pelvic floor
On the other hand, as these balls allow you to exercise the middle part of the body, your muscles or pelvic floor are benefited. Especially in elderly people it is highly recommended to prevent the pelvic floor from weakening and generating urine leakage. As the structure of the ball is very unstable, this causes our body to put to work the muscles of the middle area to maintain balance, reducing potential problems with urine leakage in the future.
Use of the Fitball in pregnancy
In addition, Fitballs are highly recommended even for childbirth preparation. Since they have a non-slip surface, this allows pregnant women to exercise without the risk of accidents. As pregnancy progresses, the balls help women maintain balance and stability as well as keep their abdominal muscles strong.
Pilates fitness balls
These balls are widely used in Pilates, so much so that they are sometimes referred to as Pilates balls. They allow you to work all parts of your body while doing this sport. Also, during the pilates session with fitballs you will not only exercise coordination and flexibility but also your strength and endurance.
Recommended exercises with Fitball
There are a multitude of exercises that you can perform with a Fitball and all of them contribute to improving your physical conditions. Among the most common are:
- Fitball squats: to work the legs, using the wall as a support point you can perform squats simply.
- Hyperextension of the back: this exercise works the lower back and is performed lying on the fitball with the hip resting on the ball.
- Buttock raises: to work your buttocks, you can stand on the floor facing up, raise your hips with your legs bent and feet resting on the fitball. You will notice how you work the area.
- Strides: the fitball also serves as a support to perform strides, sliding our foot on the ball with the other leg stretched out and with the foot resting on the floor.
- Push-ups: if you want to exercise your chest and arms, the fitball allows you to do so by placing your legs on top of the ball and flexing your arms on the floor.
- Plank: another way to exercise the abdomen is doing planks on the fitball so that your body is straight aligned with the ball.
In addition to these exercises, you can do many more and do different and fun routines with a single fitness accessory.
Benefits of Fitballs
Thanks to the great variety of exercises that fitballs can offer, the benefits reported are also varied and important for fitness and health:
- · They offer a very complete training session at a low cost.
- · Revitalize all the parts of the body.
- · Integrate the core in dynamic cardiovascular and abdominal stabilization workouts.
- · Improve balance, coordination and proprioception.
- · Correct bad posture and contribute to adopting correct posture.
- · This is one of the best options for doing low impact exercise.
- · It tones and stretches the body by means of new exercises.
- · You gain more strength and control over the active muscle groups.
- · Exercise can be complemented with benches, dumbbells, medicine balls, etc.
Besides being good for Yoga, Pilates or Functional Training, working out with fitballs is specially indicated for those persons with lower back and cervical problems, and even to prepare for giving birth. Fitballs are already used in numerous offices as an alternative to the traditional seat, because they prevent back problems and help to keep a correct posture during the time you remain seated.
How to choose a pilates ball or fitball?
To choose a pilates ball there are several aspects that you should take into account such as the material or your height, so you can perform exercises safely.
Size of the Fit ball
When purchasing a fit ball, the main thing you have to bear in mind is its size, which may be 55, 65 or 75 cm, and the right size for you will depend on your stature:
· If you are between 1.50 and 1.63 metres tall: Choose a 55 cm fit ball.
· If you are between 1.63 and 1.80 metres tall: Choose a 65 cm fit ball.
· If you are between 1.80 and 2.00 metres tall: Choose a 75 cm fit ball.
It is more effective when you are seated and your thighs are parallel to the floor, i.e. when you bend your legs you form a 90º angle. Besides choosing a fit ball of a suitable size, you have to check regularly that it has enough air inside it, as otherwise it will reduce the efficiency of the training session.
Fitballs are manufactured from synthetic material, which makes this a durable and very resistant accessory for any kind of exercise or workout.