A Gym Ball (a.k.a Swiss Ball) is a soft elastic ball inflated with air. They range in sizes from 35 – 90 cm, and are often used to develop strength and fitness, as well as being tools for physical therapy and pregnancy exercises. So what makes them so great for core workouts?
First developed in the 1960’s, the gym ball was initially seen as a great alternative to doing workouts on the hard floor. The ball deforms to your body for support, and adds the element of having to carefully balance your body at the same time, which increases the difficulty and the demand on your core.
A cyclist’s balance, stamina and strength stems from their core – then of course the legs and cardio follow – so it’s pretty important. Almost the foundation of any rider, the core is not just your abdominal muscles, but it encompasses your hips and bum also. It’s important to work these core muscles to aid with your agility on the bike, getting those movements fluid whilst keeping a strong frame, as well as decreasing the chances of injury.
Avoiding Injury with Core Strength
Here are some of our favourite cycling specific core exercises you can do at home with a gym ball.
Body Balancing & Crunches
A simple and easy start to a workout is with crunches and basic body balancing. Being able to balance yourself on the ball, and doing crunches is a lot more difficult than it sounds, but it’s one of the most effective core strengtheners you can do.
– Sit on the balance ball with your feet flat on the floor, roughly shoulder width apart
– Keep your back as straight as possible, and cross your arms over your chest
– Lean back on the ball, keeping your back as straight
– Feel your abdominals tighten up, and hold for 3-5 seconds
– Then return to starting position, and repeat.