The following five basic exercises are intended to be a guide to using the Swiss Ball for increasing strength and stamina in low back and abdominal muscles to maintain good spinal health and reduced recurrence of low back pain.
They all require good control of the lower abdominal muscles. Your chiropractor will show you how to do this before you start.
This exercise will work on your buttocks and hamstrings as well as your abdominals.
Procedure: Lie on your back with your feet on the ball, tighten your abdominals and lift your pelvis off the floor by pushing down on the ball. Keep your back and neck relaxed and do not arch your back.
Cross your arms over your chest to decrease your support. Lift one leg at a time off the ball keeping it straight.
Over The Top
Procedure: Start lying over the ball and then walk forward on your hands until your upper thigh is on the ball. Your body must be kept in a straight line by tightening up your abdominal muscles.
Hold this position for as long as possible.
Roll out until your ankles are on the ball (you can go to your toes). The further you go the greater the demand on your abdominals.
Roll from left to right using your arms not your spine.
This exercise targets the lower abdominals the buttocks and the lower trapezius muscles.
Procedure: Lie over the ball on all fours. Tighten the abdominal muscles. Keep your neck straight. Raise one arm as far as it will reasonably go. Then lift the opposite leg. The supporting knee should be on the floor.
Hold this position for 5-10 seconds and then swap over. Do not over extend the back. The arms are not for balance — You are strengthening your lower traps.
Extend both arms and then go on your toes and alternate your feet.
The Wall Squat
This exercise focuses on the gluteal muscles, lower abdominals and quadriceps.
Procedure: Lean against the ball with your feet shoulder width apart. The ball should be at about hip level. Tighten your stomach, your buttocks and look straight ahead. Hips, knees and ankles should be in line.
Roll slowly down the wall so the knee is at 90o , hold the position for 10 seconds. Do not let your knees go forward of your feet. Roll back up and repeat.
Keeping your hips level you can progress to using one leg at a time. Focus on the buttocks to prevent the supporting knee from rolling inwards.
Vary the distance that your feet are apart to exercise different fibres in your upper thighs.
The Wall Push Up
This is quite hard and is good for developing a good spine position and is also useful for shoulder injury recovery.
Procedure: The distance you place your feet from the wall will vary with your ability to control your lumbar spine.
Tighten your stomach—keep this position while you bend your elbows into a push-up type of movement.
Concentrate on your stomach as you straighten your elbows. Repeat.
You can progress to floor push ups by starting on your knees and then the full push up position. Wall push ups can also be done with one arm.
Always breathe in as you bend your elbows.