Preferred by almost everyone today and is easily practiced at home, the yoga sport has brought many materials to our homes for stretching and keeping ourselves fit. One of the most familiar yoga equipment is the yoga ball. Both economical and various yoga balls allow you to take action to practice yoga while being classified according to their quality and brand. The reason for using a special ball while doing the sport is that more muscles work in the training compared to the flat ground and as a result, more calories are burned in a short time. At the same time, yoga balls help exceed the limits in intensive exercises. In the selection of the yoga ball, you need to act according to the rules of the manufacturer companies and your anatomical structure.
A selected ball of yoga proportional to your height and the right size also allows you to perform yoga in the right way. Make sure your hips are slightly above your knees by sitting on the yoga ball before buying one. The ball you choose must be suitable for your anatomical structure and be able to distribute the weight equally in order to do the yoga sport properly. Otherwise, you can not even sit on the ball comfortably. In order not to cause any injury, when purchasing, choose a yoga ball suitable for your weight, as well as your height. In this way, you can step on the ground with your feet while sitting and maintain the balance.
In the sitting position on the yoga ball, the knees are expected to be slightly lower than the pelvis. So if you get a pre-inflated yoga ball try to try it. Remember, any movement you do without catching the correct posture doesn’t make any sense but can cause injury.
How to Choose the Right Yoga Ball?
The puncture-resistant balls we see in the gyms that started their journey as a Swiss ball has received names such as balance ball, fitness ball, therapy ball, medicine ball and yoga ball over time. Actually, none of them are wrong. In studies about yoga ball, it was observed that more muscles are active and therefore more calories are spent in training with yoga ball than those performed on flat ground. It has been proven that the back and abdominal muscles, which are difficult to work during many sports, are working and that the central muscles are strengthened.
Moreover, you do not need to make an extra effort to train these muscles. All you have to do is work with the yoga ball. The yoga ball that strengthens your muscles will increase your endurance. When you work on an unbalanced surface with the yoga ball where you can do exercises such as squatting, push-ups, your movements will be much more challenging.
You can do stretching exercises very comfortably. You can do stretching exercises very well with the yoga ball, which has wide working flexibility. It allows you to lose weight. As we said at the beginning, the yoga ball that helps many muscles to work will strengthen you and also, if you exercise regularly, you will lose weight. How do you choose the right yoga ball for yourself? In the yoga ball, which is one of the most used exercise equipment in gyms, ball size directly affects the performance. For this reason, you should choose the right size yoga ball in proportion to your body. Physiotherapists and sports trainers have set some rules in this regard. Correctly chosen yoga ball size will both increase your sports performance and minimize your risk of injury. There are two things to consider before buying a yoga ball:
When sitting on the ball, there should be a balanced weight distribution and the feet should be flat on the ground. The knees should be slightly lower than the pelvis. A list indicating the height – diameter ratio has been prepared for yoga balls in 5 different diameters. You can choose the size of the yoga ball suitable for your height from the list below.
- Yoga ball with a diameter of 45 cm for people under 152 cm
- Yoga ball with a diameter of 55 cm for people between 154-173 cm
- Yoga ball with a diameter of 65 cm for people between 175-188 cm
- Yoga ball with a diameter of 75 cm for people between 190-200 cm and
- Yoga ball with a diameter of 85 cm for people 203 cm and over will be appropriate.
What Should You Pay Attention When Choosing a Yoga Ball?
You can easily perform many movements with this practical ball, which has been used for many years. There is something you need to know before using this material called yoga ball, which has increased its popularity recently thanks to Yoga! Considering that you can be confused with various colors and sizes of preferred exercise balls, accompanied by a number of exercises both in the gymnasiums and at home, I wanted to mention the points you should pay attention to when purchasing and using the exercise ball.
When choosing the exercise ball, make sure that it does not blow out and consider the details such as the importer company, warranty conditions on the box, etc. When choosing the exercise ball, which is commonly offered with 55 cm, 65 cm, and 75 cm options, make sure that it is suitable for your height, sit on the ball to determine the appropriate size, your hip should be slightly above the knees.
Do not inflate the ball, which is usually sold with its pump, to be overly stressed. When you are sitting on it or while you are working on balance, it should go into a little amount, pitting it slightly, so do not inflate it with air until the end. Do not switch to exercises as soon as you inflate the ball. First, test your balance and see yourself by trying simple movements. Remember, exercise ball movements are also divided according to their levels.
Yoga Ball Exercises
You can work out your entire body with exercise and yoga balls. Whether your goal is to lose weight or build muscle, a yoga ball must be in your home. One of the main benefits of working with a yoga ball is that, unlike exercising on hard and flat ground, it also works out all the muscles involved in trying to keep it in the balance as the ball is not stable. These muscles get stronger and stronger as they try to stay in balance. This fitness program mostly aims to train the belly, abdomen and back muscles.
There are different levels of difficulty working with this ball. Each exercise needs the support of your back and abdominal muscles to develop the muscles in your upper body. Yoga balls are a kind of physical therapy used to relieve pain in your lower back. If you are new to exercise, the results you get with this ball will further increase your work. The yoga ball, which is also called gym ball, was used by physical therapists 30 years ago, now it is used both in health centers and at home.
The features that should be on the yoga ball are:
- It is a 45 cm durable exercise ball.
- It can also be used as a chair to provide an upright posture.
- In order to remain stable, it should be blowout-proof thanks to the intense gouache PVC vinyl material.
- It should be suitable for use at home, in the gym and in clinics.
- It has high stability and flexibility.
Specific Exercises You Can Do With the Yoga Ball
Exercise 1 – Basic Ball Crunch
- Muscles Worked: Rectus Abdominis, internal and external obliques
- Starting Position: Put your arms on your chest by lying on your back or take your fists to the back of your head.
- Practicing Exercise: Curl your body by lifting your shoulders and back over the ball. If you feel pain in your neck, put both hands under your head for support.
- Recommendation: Curl your body by pulling down the top of your rib cage. Take the first position in each rep.
- Intensive Exercise: Start with the supine position as described above. Pull your feet back, slide the ball on your back until it fits under the lumbar spine. Your body is now more parallel to the ground. Put your hands under your head so your neck will remain more stable. Curl your body as described in step 1, and then slowly return to the starting movement. This exercise requires a stronger abdomen, balance, and firmness.
Exercise 2 – Hamstring Curls
- Muscles Worked: Gluteus and hamstring
- Starting Position: Lay down with your legs stretched, your feet and ankles on the ball.
- Practicing Exercise: Press your heels firmly into the ball. Bend your knees and roll the ball towards your hips until your feet are flat on the ball. Wait and slowly return to the starting point. Do this movement with 10-12 repetitions.
- Recommendation: Do not rest your hips on the floor between repetitions.
- Intense Exercise: To make the movement difficult and improve your balance, lift your right leg from the ball to the air and apply the movement this time with only one leg. Apply the movement by changing your legs.
Exercise 3 – Pike
- Muscles Worked: Rectus Abdominis, internal and external obliques
- Starting Position: Kneel on your knees and place your abdomen on the ball and slide over the ball until your ankles are on the ball. Shoulders should be at hand level.
- Practicing Exercise: Pull the ball forward with your feet by contracting your abdominal muscles. With your butt in the air, keep the shape of your upper body so your shoulders will be flush with your hands. In the finish position, the toes will be resting on the ball.
Exercise 4 – Balancing Obliques
- Muscles Worked: Rectus Abdominis and inner, outer obliques and Erector Spinae
- Starting Position: Kneel next to the ball, place your hip on the ball, biking your inner leg and lie on the ball sideways. Place your fist next to your head and place your other hand on the ball. Let your body flex laterally over the ball and move onto the ball.
- Practicing Exercise: Stretch laterally and slowly lift your body. Stop right in the middle of the movement and return to the starting point again.
- Recommendation: Keep your hips leveled without moving your upper hip back and forth. Keep your supporting arm in balance, but don’t try to push your body with your arm. As you stretch sideways, press your lower hips and the side of your torso into the ball so you can fix yourself.
- Intense Exercise: Start with the position of lying down by bending your leg. Place both fists next to your head, your elbows should stay out. Stretch your spine laterally. Keep your neck level constant throughout the exercise. This exercise requires a lot of balance and stability.
- Advanced Exercise: Start by widening your legs and moving sideways. Open one leg forward and the other to the back. Thus, you will achieve your balance. Place your arms in the form of punches, poles at the beginning. Flex your spine sideways. Keep your neck level constant throughout the exercise. Adjust the angle of your legs to be comfortable and keep your balance. The narrow-angle is more challenging from a wide-angle. This exercise requires more strength, balance and body stability than others.
Exercise 5 – Ball Pushups
- Muscles Worked: Pectorals, Triceps and Anterior Deltoids
- Starting Position: After the kneeling position, place your abdomen on the ball and move your body until your knees and hips are on the ball. Keep your neck level constant throughout the exercise. Your eyes should focus on the floor between your hands.
- Practicing Exercise: Slowly lower your upper body until your elbows form a straight line with your shoulders. While in the down position, your chin should be away from your chest, the eyes should focus on the outside, then you should get up again for the starting position.
- Recommendation: Tighten your abdominal muscles throughout the workout to support your lower back. Apply the take off slowly.
Exercise 6 – Ball Shoulder Presses
- Muscles Worked: Deltoids
- Starting Position: Sit on the ball with your legs apart at shoulder width and your body should be upright. Bring the dumbbells to your head, your hands should be at the level of your face. Your elbows should also have a 90-degree angle on the shoulder.
- Practicing Exercise: Raise dumbbells without joining weights. In the end position, the arms should be raised, the elbows should be slightly bent and your body should be upright. When coming to the starting position, try not to bring your elbows below shoulder level.
- Recommendation: Maintain the upper body level.
- Intensive Exercise: Increase dumbbell weight by 10 percent at the given time. Make 3 sets with 12-15 repetitions.
Training Routine With Yoga Ball
Yoga balls are great for defining muscles, improving posture and improving agility. They are also used to increase your coordination and awareness of your body. The yoga ball is getting more and more popular day by day. Most likely you come across them in many gyms and training centers. You can even buy a yoga ball and take advantage of it at home. In the following paragraphs, I will talk about a training routine that will help you take advantage of the yoga ball.
There are many different ways to exercise. Workouts and workout plans change all the time, new elements are added to them. The yoga ball is used not only to accentuate the muscles but also to increase coordination and awareness of your body. Therefore, it is used when doing rehabilitation, yoga or crunch movement. It prevents bending or unexpected violent movements reduces the risk of injury and also activates different muscle groups (because it is an object that is not stationary). In addition, the yoga ball focuses on concentration and balance, improves posture, increases agility and makes muscles more prominent. Be sure to include the following exercises in your training routine with the yoga ball:
The purpose of this exercise is to strengthen the abdominal muscles, muscles behind the knee and hip muscles.
- Lie on the mat with your back on your hands.
- Place your calves on the ball and slightly lift your pelvis to form a bridge.
- Tighten your hips and abdominal muscles while up.
- After standing for 10 seconds, lower yourself.
- Do 10 repetitions.
Leg Lift Movement and Backbend
This exercise is similar to the exercise I just mentioned. However, there are some minor differences. It strengthens the back of the calves and hips.
- Start with the traditional “backbend” movement. With your heels on the yoga ball, bend your knees.
- Lift your pelvis and stretch one leg (as if your toe wants to touch the ceiling).
- Hold it for 5 seconds and rest on the yoga ball.
- Do the same with your other leg.
- Do 10 repetitions for each side.
Squat movement is used to exercise the legs, hips, and back.
- Stand up straight against the wall.
- Keep the ball in front of you. Extend your arms straight to improve coordination and balance.
- Stretch your knees and bend over.
- Do not forget to tighten your abdominal muscles during exercise. When you master this exercise, the other step is to squat with this ball with dumbbells in both hands.
There are many ways to do the crunch movement with the yoga ball. Let’s start with the most basic.
- Put the yoga ball against a wall so that it does not move.
- Lie on your back on the ball.
- Open your legs a little and rest the sole of your feet completely on the ground.
- Put your hands on your neck and lift your torso. Do 20 repetitions.
Stretching the Abdominal Muscles
This exercise helps you better control and coordinate your movements. You should also try to ensure that the ball does not move.
- Kneel in front of you with the yoga ball.
- Put both hands on the ball.
- Rotate the ball gently so that your body is diagonally on the ground.
- Repeat this movement 20 times.
If you don’t like to do the crunch movement, this exercise can easily replace it. It is quite intense and its results are extraordinary.
- It starts in the same way as the previous exercise. However, you should put the front of your arm on the ball instead of your hands.
- Stretch your body to the floor and keep this position as long as possible.
- Only your toes should touch the ground.
- Do not forget to tighten your abdominal muscles during exercise.
Reverse Leg Movement
This is a great move if you want to strengthen your leg muscles.
- Stand with the yoga ball about 60-90 cm away from you.
- Standing on your right foot in balance, put your left foot on the ball behind you.
- Bend your front leg as you move the ball away from yourself with your left foot. Your front leg should be open up to 90 degrees.
- Return the back leg to its starting position and repeat the desired number of times. Do the same for your other leg.
This movement is used to both works the delta muscle and improve coordination and balance. In addition to the yoga ball, you will also need two dumbbells.
- Lie face down with your chest and abdomen on the yoga ball.
- Bend your legs and put your knees on the bottom of the ball with your toes touching the ground.
- Take a dumbbell on each of your hands.
- Start with your two elbows in front of your torso. Open your arms to align your shoulders with your elbows.
- Do 20 repetitions.
Best Yoga Balls That You Can Buy Online
- Trideer Exercise Ball (45-85cm) Extra Thick Yoga Ball Chair, Anti-Burst Heavy Duty Stability Ball Supports 2200lbs, Birthing Ball with Quick Pump (Office & Home & Gym)
- URBNFit Exercise Ball (Multiple Sizes) for Fitness, Stability, Balance & Yoga – Workout Guide & Quick Pump Included – Anti Burst Professional Quality Design
- JBM Exercise Yoga Ball with Free Air Pump 200 lbs Slip-Resistant Yoga Balance Stability Swiss Ball for Fitness Exercise
- Live Infinitely Exercise Ball (55cm-95cm) Extra Thick Professional Grade Balance & Stability Ball- Anti Burst Tested Supports 2200lbs- Includes Hand Pump & Workout Guide Access
- BalanceFrom Anti-Burst and Slip Resistant Exercise Ball Yoga Ball Fitness Ball Birthing Ball with Quick Pump, 2,000-Pound Capacity