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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Golf Exercises with a Stability Ball

Yes, it's another golf exercise video. This one is from fitness instructor Mike Hansen and focuses on using a stability ball, also called a fitness ball, a balance ball or a Swiss ball.

I'm not going to try and recap the exercises in this video since you really need to see them to understand how to do them. However, I can give you a few tips on using a stability ball.

First of all, don't let it freak you out when Mike talks about the diameter of the stability ball. I have one myself, and you buy them according to your height. When you get the ball, there should be a small chart on the box showing what size you need. The ball I have (it's from Gaiam, but the brand isn't critical) comes in small, medium and large:
  • Small (22" / 55cm): for 5'0" to 5'5" tall
  • Medium (26" / 65cm): for 5'6" to 5'11" tall
  • Large (30" / 75cm): for 6'0" to 6'3" tall
I imagine those are pretty standard recommendations but check the box for the ball you get. I've seen listings for 85cm balls, so I know they make bigger ones and I suspect you can find smaller ones if necessary.

And yes, stability balls come deflated in a box -- mine came in a box that's around 12"x10"x5" -- and it should come with a small pump. They aren't hard to pump up because they aren't under a lot of pressure; you can see how squishy they are in the video. And if you decide you don't want to use it for a while, you just let the air out. Stability balls are like oversize beach balls with really thick balloon-like skins.

A great thing about stability balls is that they don't take much room to either store or use. They don't make a lot of noise when you use them. And they're pretty easy to use in front of the TV set, if you can't make a lot of time for a workout. Stability balls are about as simple as exercise equipment gets, and they aren't that expensive. If you look around, you should be able to get a perfectly good one for less than $20... often considerably less.

Trust me, I wouldn't have gotten one to experiment with if I'd had to spend a lot of money!

Finally, you don't need weights to do exercises. Stability balls are about gaining stability, after all, so any kind of weight will do the job. You can use a book, a big can of beans, an old VCR or anything else that you feel comfortable handling. You won't need a lot of weight because it's tricky enough just keeping your balance on a ball!

In some ways, stability ball exercises remind me of Pilates work -- they're much tougher than they look. (In fact, some Pilates exercises use a stability ball.) So don't be surprised if these exercises are harder to master than you expect. Just keep working at them and you'll see results.

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