Want the benefits of a ‘no-weights’ routine? Try the Swiss ball

The Swiss ball, or exercise ball, also variously called pilates ball, stabiliser ball, pezzi ball or yoga ball is a simple piece of equipment that was first used as a rehabilitation tool in medicine. Today, it is an essential piece of equipment in gyms. One of the primary benefits of using the Swiss ball is that, unlike exercising on a floor or bench, the body brings more muscles into play to counter the inherent instability of the ball; the core muscles such as the abdominal and back muscles become stronger because of this.

While still used by physiotherapists as a rehabilitative tool, the exercise balls are today increasingly used by trainers to make exercise more challenging and fun, while serving to build up core strength, stability, flexibility and balance.

The big balls are bouncy and move around, so it takes greater effort to perform the usual workout routines on them. The simple challenge of keeping them stable and under control is an excellent way to tone up the body and help strengthen the core, essential for functional movement.

The great thing about Swiss balls is that you can fashion a full workout around them, without any weights, resistance bands, cables or machines. In other words, a ‘no-weights’ routine that will help you gain strength, flexibility, endurance and balance. You can work out every major muscle group of the body — back, chest, legs, arms, abs — using a Swiss ball, simply and easily, without ever stepping into a gym. The exercise balls can be used by men, women and children and by people at every level of fitness; it is not restricted by the level of fitness or strength of the individual concerned. If you are interested in a home gym, the Swiss ball should be an essential piece of equipment.