Gym balls are in fashion but are they effective?
Over the last number of years, the gym ball has become a central component of most gym equipment collections.
Evidence for use of a gym ball to activate the ‘core’ muscles is sparse; however, research performed ar Dalhousie University’s School of Health and Human Performance compared the muscle activation of the upper abdomnal muscles during a series of abdominal exercises. They compared activation by performing electromyography. This is where a machine measures the electrical activity of muscles during exercises.
Kathryn Clark and her research team analysed the muscle activation during several abdominal exercises: the curl up, swiss ball curl up, ab roller curl up, leg-lower on back, ab roller curl up and Swiss ball roll-out to bridge.
The team found that the Swiss ball curl up resulted in the highest EMG readings when compared with the abdominal curl up from the floor.