Strengthen the Core and Improve Back Pain with a Stability Ball
How This Helps
Core muscles include the abdomen, the back, and the pelvic muscles. Strengthening these muscles influences the entire body. A strong core aids in everyday tasks such as walking, bending, climbing, etc. Keeping the core muscles strong also improves balance and stability, good posture, sports and other pleasurable activities and a healthy back and spine.
First, you will need to buy the correct size ball for your height. The diameter of the ball makes all the difference. If you are close to the cut off point between sizes, try testing out both sizes and see which works best for you. Here are basic guidelines to follow:
4'11" to 5'4" height: 55 cm ball
5'4" to 5'11" height: 65 cm ball
5'11" to 6' 7" height: 75 cm ball
Core Strengthening Exercises:
Sit-ups: Begin with sitting on the ball and walking your legs out while the ball rolls up your back and your shoulder blades are touching the ball. Perform regular sit-ups (Doing them from the ball is a lot more supportive of the back than doing them from the floor) by bending so as to bring your upper body toward your knees and tensing the abdominal muscles and support your head in your hands. Return to the starting position and repeat for 15 reps and 2 sets.
Oblique Bends: Start by sitting upright on the ball, feet are about hip width apart flat on the floor. Place the palms of your hands together overhead and slowly bend your torso to the right side, keeping the head faced forward, come back to the center and bend to the left side. Repeat for 12 reps and 2 sets.
Bird Dogs: Start laying face down on the ball where it is centered on your abdomen. Relax the head and neck. Lift your right arm and left leg up towards the ceiling, lower then switch to the left arm and right leg. Repeat for 12 reps and 2 sets.
These exercises are very effective for strengthening the abdominal muscles, side obliques, and the back muscles. When performing exercises on a stability ball, you are improving balance, flexibility and strength as you have to use more of your stabilizing muscles to balance yourself, yet these exercises are very low impact and great for individuals with back pain or discomfort.