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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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For ab work, I hate those big stability balls at my gym. It's too easy to "cheat" and use momentum to do the crunches. Good old-fashioned sit-ups are the best for me. For lower-back work, though, they can be good...if you get on your belly on the ball and lift your trunk up and down. But I wouldn't buy a ball just for that...there are certainly other ways to work your lower back.

Friday, June 23, 2006, 9:02 AM

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Just sitting on the ball for a few hours every day has helped to tone up my ab muscles, back and sides! I can definitely feel a difference in the tone.

Friday, June 23, 2006, 9:30 AM

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I am a sloucher when I sit, the bounce ball, helps me keep my back straighter when I am sitting on it. Trying to maintain balance and doing different exercises is a nice little workout for me. I am no where near flexible or in shape. Core muscles- I haven't found them yet I know they are in there somewhere, one of these days they will show up.

Sunday, June 25, 2006, 8:08 AM

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just beginning

can you recommend a yoga for someone who needs to lose 100+ lbs and is just starting a new beginning?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009, 12:54 PM

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12:54p - are you looking for yoga DVD recommendations or will you be taking a class? Either way, I would recommend taking an intro class at a yoga studio if you can. IMO, learning from an instructor who can actually help you move into various positions and understand them all will help a lot when it comes to doing a yoga dvd. And, to date, I've preferred going to yoga studios (vs. taking the class at the gym.) I find the instruction more valuable at places where this is all they do - no offense gym-based yoga instructors!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009, 1:46 PM

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