Global Bodyweight Training - Mike Fitch
The SwissBall Back and Hip Extension is a great, but underutilized, trunk exercise!

The Swiss Ball Back and Hip Extension is a great trunk exercise for any level Bodyweight Athlete. This is a fantastic “extension” exercise that works everything from the hamstrings and glutes, up through the spinal erectors. The Swiss Ball adds an unstable factor that is great for lateral and rotational stability.

Complement Your Flexion with Extension

In the quest for the infamous “6 Pack Abs”, many fitness enthusiasts saturate their workouts with countless reps of crunches and other flexion exercises. This can lead to a potentially dangerous imbalance of shortened upper abdominal muscles that further pull the upper body into a flexed posture. This is not conducive to a properly functioning spine and may lead to painful back problems.

One way we can take a proactive approach to spinal balance is to add in extension exercises like the Swiss Ball Back and Hip Extension.

Proper Equipment and Form

Global Bodyweight Training - Mike Fitch
Form is important – keep your legs straight and raise them to be horizontal to the ground.
Global Bodyweight Training - Mike Fitch
Make sure you use the correct size SwissBall, so that your forearms and toes just touch the ground.

Begin by finding an appropriately sized ball (usually a 55 or 65 cm ball will suffice). Be sure to use a high quality ball that is fully inflated. Lower quality balls may have too much elasticity and will pull you out of alignment, as well as allow the hips to drop down too close to the ground.

Once you are in your starting position with the pelvis directly on top of the ball, the knees should be straight with the toes barely touching the ground. The elbows should be flexed with the forearms in contact with the ground. Just remember that the arms are only used for balancing the body and you should not use them to push the torso up like a push up. The elevating of the torso should be controlled solely by the spinal erectors.

Now, it is normal to experience some fatigue in the low back when you start out with this exercise. But if you start experience actual pain, you should see a professional to identify and address the problem before continuing.

Ready to give it a try? Check out the video below, and get going with it!

If you don’t already have a stability ball of your own, I recommend these ones HERE at Perform Better.)

You might also want to check out these related posts (the videos re-posted below):

Published by Mike Fitch

Mike is the founder of Global Bodyweight Training. He has more than 12 years as a fitness professional encompassing a wide range of disciplines which he draws upon to create the GBT system.

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1 Comment

  1. Mike: heard your podcast w/Dr Perry and saw your Anamal Flow DVD –

    Here’s my bio – hope you can help:

    61 yrs old;
    been with Kettlebells for about 3 yrs;
    had to stop doing swings because of the jarring effoct on the knees;

    Now, I’m having knee / hip and back issues
    I really need some kind of fitness that energizes without the distuctive effects

    I’m not too proud to start all over.

    Let’s start a dialog…

    Thanks call if you wish (757) 285-2465


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