One of the most interesting aspects of exercise is working with equipment that by design magnify your specific weaknesses. Stability ball is a perfect example of this. It is designed to roll and be unstable. If you have balance and stability challenges, it will magnify those.
Why is this important to your progress?
We tend to shy away from our weaknesses, instead of working to improve them. It could become very frustrating to magnify a weakness and look at it under a microscope, and this is exactly what needs to happen.
Without jeopardizing safely, you need to have a progression that allows you to perform increasingly more challenging exercises using unstable equipment. This type of balance training is what engages your brain-muscle connection as it improves your brain firing patterns and your muscle fiber recruitment. These are the skills you need as a young athlete doing agility workouts and as an older individual navigating a crowed stairs with confidence.
The versatility of stability balls has created many names for them not so much because of structural change, but because of the intention and goals of how they are used. A brief history review of these balls helps you see how much they were integrated with the health and therapy aspects of exercise from their inception.
Aquilino Cosani, an Italian plastic manufacturer, developed puncture-resistant “Pezzi Balls” in 1963. They were used for treating newborns and infants by a British physiotherapist, Mary Quinton in Switzerland. Dr. Susanne Klein-Vogelbach, in Basel, Switzerland, incorporated the exercises with these balls during physical therapy for neuro-developmental treatment. The concept was called functional kinetics.
Learning these techniques from Swiss doctors American therapist, called them “Swiss Ball Exercises.”
Sports enthusiasts, athletes and trainers began to notice the benefits of these balls beyond therapy and other names worked themselves into the language including Yoga balls or Pilates ball or even simple workout balls.
As you perform any type of exercises with a stability ball remember the original neuro-development and health intention behind the movement. Keeping the origin of stability ball in mind is a way for you to improve your function, your performance and your safety.