Jackknife Swiss Ball Exercise
The stability or Swiss ball works because the exercises require you to contract your core muscles to stabilize the body to maintain balance in an unstable position.
No other equipment found in the gym will work core muscles in a way that it does on the ball. Stabilizing muscles shouldn’t be forgotten as they play an important role in maintaining correct joint alignment and providing safe platform to larger muscles to perform activities.
It’s been shown that children first develop stabilizing muscles then larger muscles therefore they are part of the muscular foundation.
The spine is developed to bend backwards just as it bends forwards and if you exercise on top of Swiss ball it will allow full range of movement in both directions. The benefits include improvement of core muscle strength leading to a better posture, balance and nervous system activation.
I use this exercise to rehabilitate clients with back problems, poor core connection, pelvic floor weakness, knee pain, instability of spine, and to improve nervous system activation on athletes. I always include this exercise in the programs I write.
Put your hands on floor in push up position with arms extended and elbows locked, feet or shins on top the ball with legs extended while keeping the body on horizontal. The abdominal muscles are activated isometricly to keep the spine straight, body stable and protect.
Pull your knees in towards your chest maintaining alignment, pause and return your feet slowly. During the movement it’s important not to let your hip to drop down, keep the core contracted and maintain good alignment.
If you would like more advanced variations, you can try one leg, sideway or both to give you more challenge on stability.
Target: illiopsoas. Stabilizers: Rectus abdominal, oblique’s, serratus anterior, triceps, quadriceps, deltoid anterior.
Antagonist stabilizers: erector spine, trapezius middle, trapezius lower, and rhomboids.
Dynamic stabilizers: rectus femoris and hamstrings.