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do exercise balls really help or are they just a passing fad?

Is this a fad or do exercise balls really help (stability balls, swiss balls, medicine balls, whatever)? I know they help build core muscles, but what if you are already doing ab crunches and other exercises, such as yoga, and walking, all without any equipment. Will ts really help?

Thu. Jun 22, 1:54pm

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i have a large, round frame. can i use a ball effectively?

Thursday, June 22, 2006, 1:56 PM

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doing crunches doesn't really work core muscles. It works the outer muscles not the inner core ones. Ab crunches are a little over rated.

Medicines balls are great because they can mimic movements that you do in daily life so that they build things practically. Balance balls are great for balance and flexibility- which depending on what you do for yoga may not be needed.

People of any size can use a balance ball, however, you may not be able to do all the exercises as shown at first. (Just like if you start on a treadmill doesn't mean you can run a 10 minute mile right away).

I personally think medicine balls are a better workout than traditional weight training.

Thursday, June 22, 2006, 2:47 PM

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I can't tell by the way you worded your post if you realize this but there is a big difference between medicine balls and balance/stability balls.

Medicine balls range in size from a softball to about a basketball. They are different weights.

A balance/stability ball really has no weight and when you sit on it your knees should be at a 90 degree angle.

Both types of equipment are effective as part of a total body workout. They aren't miracle workers but are useful. Do you need it? No, but if it motivates you to exercise and try new things to challenge your muscles, for a relatively low cost, then it's worth it.

Thursday, June 22, 2006, 4:18 PM

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To the 2:47 poster, what do you mean by "outer" and "inner" core muscles? Could you put some names on those for us?

Thursday, June 22, 2006, 5:38 PM

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I use both the medicine balls and the big stability "balance" ball.

I've noticed a greater stability in my core and balance-- it' is amazing what sitting on the ball (properly inflated, of course) and trying to balance while watching TV, etc. can do. You will find that the more you do it, the better your balance will be.

I like the medicine balls and toss them around in the air to help my arms and shoulders :-) I don't play basketball, but mimicking that motion of tossing a weighted ball straight up really works out my arms and shoulders!

Thursday, June 22, 2006, 5:46 PM

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The trainer at my gym kneels on the stability ball, has his clients kneel on a ball (after much practice) and then they play catch with the medicine ball. It's tough! I havn't mastered the kneeling balance yet but I have stood on a bosu and threw the medicine ball.

Thursday, June 22, 2006, 5:57 PM

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I can kneel on all 4s, but haven't tried just with the legs only. My friend had a bosu ball and that was a blast to stand on! :-)

Thursday, June 22, 2006, 11:29 PM

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i'm not the 2:47 poster, but the "outer" ab muscles are those 6-pack muscles right in the front, called the Rectus abdominus. the "inner" muscles are the internal & external obliques and the Transversus abdominus, which is the deepest layer of muscle in the abdomin. the link below explains the four groups more in detail.


Friday, June 23, 2006, 12:02 AM

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OP here: I walk an hour every day. The 30-min yoga (mostly daily) includes 6-8 sun salutations and various asanas. I am reasonably flexible and can do a large number of the postures, but not tough ones such as a headstand. I also throw in 50-60 ab crunches and other exercises for obliques. Question: Should I invest in a stability ball?

Friday, June 23, 2006, 12:16 AM

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RE: 12:02 on 2:47 ... oh, median and lateral, gotcha, duh.
I was thinking, "superficial and deep? what would be deep, quadratus lumborum? There's just gut in there, otherwise."

Friday, June 23, 2006, 12:46 AM

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