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We Strengthen Your Body & Please Your Soul


Strengthen Your Back with Fit Ball - part 1/2

Written by: Nur Lyanis Binti Hasbolah (Diploma in Physiotherapy)

There are many types of balls that can bring many benefits to our physical health while doing exercise on it. Fit Ball is actually a medical device that we can use for normal people as well as patients to strengthen any part of the body, especially the core muscles. We can use Fit Ball to increase bone density and to perform cardio workouts that help to maintain stronger heart and lungs, as well as to reduce stress levels that contribute to a positive attitude and mindset.

About 18 months ago, when I first came across the ball, I was wondering and doubtful of whether a simple ball like this can offer us with such many benefits. After many months working on it, my answer is yes, it can provide many benefits for those who want to focus on doing easy workouts either outdoor or indoor, young or old. Even pregnant women can be benefited from using this ball before delivery with stable movements and proper guidance.

Fit Ball helps mainly to train our body coordination and movement as one whole unit. Our back needs to be taken care of, especially when doing complicated movement. 

Why we need to protect our back? Because it holds us up if we keep it straight and strong. By strengthening our trunk, it can help to prevent a weak and crooked back from becoming worse, on the other hand might eliminate the pain. Back safety affected all aspects of our life. It protects our back, as well as prevents us from potential injury. From the time we wake up in the morning till we return to bed, including changes of position during sleeping, we are responsible for adhering to proper postures and movements.

Certainly, if you are doing a lot of lifting with bad posture, you can increase the risk of back injury or muscles strained. But I think it’s also important to understand that many back problems and even back injuries occur just with normal activities. Sometimes, we can just bend over to tie a shoelace and could end up with a disk herniation or an inflamed or irritated nerve root. The assumption that I must have done something wrong really isn’t always true. Prevention is always better than cure.

Let me share a few exercises that we can do with Fit Ball that can strengthen the back:

1. Lumbar extension

Lay with your stomach on the exercise ball with your legs outstretched, using your feet/toes for stability. You can also try placing your feet along the bottom of a wall. Then place your hands behind your head and slowly lift your upper abdominals and chest off the ball, arching your back in the process. Try to focus on contracting the muscles of your low back. Hold for a few seconds while in an extended position and then slowly lower your trunk back down to the ball. Try squeezing your shoulder blades together to engage your upper back muscles.

2. Spinal rotation

Sitting upright on the exercise ball, raise your arms above your head or can place your hands on your hips, making sure that your feet are firmly on the floor for stabilisation. Then, with your feet planted, rotate as far as you can in one direction holding for a few seconds at the end of the range. Contract the muscles in your core while you hold. Then slowly rotate back to the neutral position for a second before rotating in the opposite direction. Aim for about 10 rotations in both directions on a daily basis. You can repeat the exercise five times on each side, two to three times per day. The lower back or lumbar region is more susceptible to injury and pain because it supports the weight of the upper body.

3. Bridge

Lay flat on the ground with legs straight. Place both legs together on the exercise ball at the calf area with arms at sides and hands flat on the floor, tighten and lift the buttocks up off the floor to straighten the back, keeping abdominal muscles tight and hold for 5 seconds. Return to start position. Repeat 3 to 5 times.

4. Stretch forward

Position yourself on your knees, face the ball, and put your forearms on top of the ball. Reach forward with your arms then gently drop down your head and upper back so your hands are positioned higher. To add a little more, reach arms slightly to the right and hold, then left and hold. Bringing in side bending and rotation adds another element of spinal opening to the stretch, as well as adding in a stretch for the latissimus dorsi muscle. Hold for 30–60 seconds and aim for 5 to 10 repetitions daily.

5. Reach forward

Sit on top the ball and cross one ankle over the opposite knee. Reach forward, bringing your shoulders as close to your crossed leg as you can, dropping your head down. Reach forward all the way to the ground to deepen. Hold for 10-15 seconds and aim for 5 to 10 repetitions daily.

6. Squat

Place the ball at your back against the wall. Squat down and place your back up against the side of the ball toward the top. Bring arms to the top position and reach your arms back as you lean back into the ball.

.7. Lower Back Stretch

Start by sitting on the exercise ball and then walk your feet to maneuver yourself such that the ball is under your lower back area. Let your arms fall away to your sides and slowly start to extend your back and head over the ball, using your feet for stability. Go as far as you can go without pain and see if you can touch the floor with your outstretched arms, which provides a good stretch for your upper back, chest, and shoulders. Hold this position for 30 seconds and aim for five to 10 times on a daily basis. Remember to breathe in and out deeply while stretching. As an alternative to the exercise ball, a great activity that stretches the back and other core muscles is yoga. The challenging body poses of yoga also act to strengthen your core and leg muscles and improve your overall posture.

The above are some basic exercises with Fit Ball which wil benefits your back posture. I shall share more Fit Ball exercises in my next blog. In our Gym N Care blog, we will share beneficial exercises with different types of exercise equipment with you from time to time.