Practice total-body pikes (and your proprioception!) on this inflated exercise ball to take your home workouts to a whole new level
Some pieces of exercise equipment should have never been made in the first place (Shake Weight, anyone?). Others, however, can help take your bodyweight workouts up a notch (or several notches). Kettlebells, dumbbells, battling ropes, and a Swiss ball can all help you reach your fitness goals faster. While a lot of these tools aren't exactly living room staples, a Swiss ball is inexpensive and can deflate to be stored in the smallest of spaces. (Check out The Ultimate Home Workout.)
“The Swiss ball is such a great tool because it forces you to recruit more muscles in order to stabilize yourself,” says David Kirsch, celebrity trainer and wellness expert. This helps build balance which, yes, helps you in day-to-day activities, but it also helps you perform better in the gym. (Check out these 5 Moves to Balance Your Body.). In fact, shoring up your proprioception (your body’s ability to sense where it is in space using balance, agility, and coordination) also helps ensure you can bounce back after tripping on a root or slipping on some wet leaves too.
And there's more to do on a Swiss ball than you think. But the pike may be the king of exercises when it comes to this equipment. “The Swiss Ball Pike is a total-body exercise that is especially great for your core, arms, and lower back,” says Kirsch. Feeling particularly tough? Add a pushup in between each pike, advises Kirsch. Just be sure to maintain proper form—don’t let your back “sink” and keep your core engaged throughout the move.
Kirsch recommends doing 15 reps of this move at a time (no rest!) as part of a larger circuit workout that includes moves like Reverse Lunges, Swiss Ball Pushups, and Squats with a dumbbell overhead. Aim to do a routine like this four times a week.
A Get into high plank position with calves and tops of sneakers on top of a Swiss ball. Hands should be on the ground directly under shoulders.
B Raise hips up into the air so that body is in a pike position and tip toes are on the Swiss ball. Keep abs tight and hips even. Pause at top, then return to starting position. That’s one rep.