Using a yoga ball to aid in core exercises can be very beneficial both for regular exercise and also for physiotherapy. Yoga balls can be very helpful during physiotherapy because they can help reduce strain on your spine and muscles during exercise.
Before you do any exercise with a yoga ball, you want to be sure you have one that is the correct size. If you are between 4’11” and 5’4” tall you will need a 55 cm ball. If you are between 5’4” and 5’11” tall, you will need a 65cm ball. And if you are between 5’11” and 6’7” tall, you will need a 75 cm ball. The measurement of the ball, of course, pertains to the diameter. Once you have your ball, you can get started.
Three good exercises for physiotherapy Cambridge residents to improve core strength using a yoga ball are: plank with a ball, bridge with the ball, and v-sit with the ball.
There are two options when it comes to the plank exercise. The first, for beginners, involves lettings your thighs rest on the ball. To do this exercise, you’ll want to start by lying on your stomach on the ball with your feet touching the ground behind it. Lean forward until your hands are touching the ground, and then roll forward until your thighs are resting on top of the ball. Be sure to keep your hands directly below your shoulders. Once your thighs are resting atop the ball, make sure to keep your legs suspended above the floor while balancing on your hands. Then tighten your abdominal muscles and hold for three breaths, or as long as you can keep balanced. When you’ve reached your limit, simply return to the starting position and try again.
The second option is a little more advanced. It starts out the same way, with your stomach on the ball before you roll forward so your thighs are resting on the ball instead. Then, to add a little extra work, tighten your abdominal muscles and push your body forward so that your shoulders are in front of your hands while your shins are resting on the ball instead of your thighs. Hold this for three breaths, or as long as you can, before returning to the starting position, and try again.
The next exercise is the bridge with the ball. This one involves resting your calves on the ball while lying on your back. Then when you’re ready, tighten your abdominal muscles and raise your hips and buttocks off the floor. Hold this for three breaths, or a long as you can, before slowly lowering yourself back to the starting position. This works not only your core muscles, but also your hamstrings and glutes as well.
If you want to add a little extra challenge you can take turns lifting one leg off the ball while raising your buttocks and hips. Another option for an extra challenge when doing the bridge exercise is to dig your heels into the ball for some added core strength. By digging your heels into the ball while pulling the ball closer to your buttocks, you will have some extra hamstring engagement. Hold this position for three breaths before returning back to the starting position again.
The third exercise is the v-sit up with the ball. To do the v-sit up you’ll want to start the same way you did with the bridge exercise. Lay on your back with your feet up on the ball. Then, lift your arms above your head, making sure to keep them straight. Then engage your abdominal muscles and bring yourself up into a v-shaped sit up. You want to make sure you make yourself tall and bring your arms down so that they are almost parallel with your legs as you are coming up. Hold this pose for three breaths, or as long as you can, before slowly bringing yourself back down to the starting position.
Doing these core exercises with a yoga ball can be very beneficial for core-strength training as well as for physiotherapy. Just be sure that you are doing them safely and correctly.
For more information visit Physio-cambridge.co.uk