Take your dryland workouts to the next level with a Swiss ball! This versatile piece of equipment provides nearly endless possibilities when it comes to improving strength, stability and flexibility.
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What is a Swiss Ball?
The Swiss ball is a piece of equipment that leverages your body weight as resistance and has been used since the 1960s. Physical therapists and chiropractors in Switzerland used the large, inflatable ball to assist with rehabilitation and it thus became known as the Swiss Ball. It may also be known as a yoga ball or exercise ball. Swiss balls are typically 45 to 75 cm wide (18 to 30 inches), and are inflated with a small pump.
Why Use a Swiss Ball?
The Swiss ball adds an element of instability to your workouts, requiring you to constantly adjust your body to remain in the proper position. This improves your balance, core stability, strength and flexibility.
To ensure your Swiss ball is the right size for you, inflate the ball so that when you sit on it, your knees are bent at a perfect 90 degree angle.
A Swiss ball allows you to customize the difficulty of your workout. Increase the difficulty of Swiss Ball exercises by inflating the ball more, or decrease the difficulty by letting air out of the ball.
10 Best Swiss Ball Exercises
If you have a Swiss ball at home, give these exercises a try! Incorporate a few into your next training session or do all 10 for a killer workout!
1. Wall Arm Circles
Strengthen your scapulae to improve muscle engagement in the water. Place the ball in your palm, and place your palm against a wall. Extend your arm straight. Make small, clockwise circles with the ball. After 10-15 reps, begin counterclockwise circles.
2. Straight Leg Hip Bridge
This exercise fires up your glutes, hamstrings and core much like they would in the pool. Lie on the ground with your feet on the ball. Keeping your legs straight, bridge your hips up, hold, and lower back to the starting position.
3. Alternating Superman
Stabilize your spine to build a strong foundation for all four strokes. Begin with your stomach on the ball and hands and feet on the ground. Extend your right arm and left leg, hold for a moment, and return to the starting position. Repeat with the left arm and right leg.
4. Swiss Ball Dead Bug
Build mind-muscle connection with your core muscles! Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet off the ground. Extend your hands straight to the ceiling and hold the ball between your knees and your hands. Extend your right leg and left hand, keeping hold of the ball with your left leg and right hand. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
5. T, Y, I, W
Lie on the ball so your hips are supported but your chest is not. Using your core and back muscles, lift your chest up and perform I, T, Ys. Keep the core engaged!
Let’s challenge your shoulder stability! Begin in a plank position with your hands on the ball. Your fingers should face outward. Perform push ups, lowering your chest to the ball and ensuring your core is engaged.
7. Stir The Pot
Build shoulder stability while firing up your core! Begin in a plank with your forearms on the ball. Keeping your hips square and stable, move your arms in small, clockwise circles. Repeat, going counterclockwise.
8. Pushup To Knee Tuck
This full-body exercise challenges your muscles to enhance your strength in the pool. Begin in a plank position with your lower legs on the ball. Perform a push up, and then tuck your knees to your chest. Return the knees to the starting position and repeat.
9. Flutter Kick
Strengthen your core, glutes and hamstrings to improve kick mechanics. Begin in a plank position with your lower legs on the ball. Lift your right leg up, squeezing your glute. Lower back to the ball and repeat on the left side.
10. Sprint Flutter Kick
Who said you needed a pool to work on your kick? Start in a plank position with your lower legs on the ball. Keeping a strong core, move your feet as if your were doing freestyle kick.
Incorporating the Swiss Ball into Your Dryland Training
If you have access to a Swiss ball, start using it as a tool to build strength! For workout guidance and in-depth technique videos, check out the dryland training plans in the MySwimPro app. The plans listed below include exercises using a Swiss ball, medicine ball and resistance bands.
Work on core strength in this training plan to improve your streamline and body position in the water!
- 4 weeks
- 4 workouts per week
- 20-30 minute workouts
Take your training to the next level with added resistance! Develop total body strength and prevent injury with total body workouts.
- 8 weeks
- 4 workouts per week
- 30-40 minute workouts
Build strength without added pressure on your lower back or knees. Prevent injury with swimming-specific dryland workouts!
- 6 weeks
- 3 workouts per week
- 25-30 minute workouts
More Dryland Resources
Bodyweight Dryland Exercises for Swimmers
30 Strength & Conditioning Exercises for Swimmers Using TRX Suspension Cables
20 Strength & Conditioning Exercises For Swimmers Using a Medicine Ball