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
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):
- For more great trunk exercises, check out my article and video with three fun, alternative abdominal exercises: The Other Side of Abdominal Training
- For another exercise utilizing the SwissBall, check out The SwissBall Push-Up with Single-Leg Jackknife