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A Total Body Swiss Ball Workout: Part 2
{As written for the Italian PublicationOlympian Magazine."}

By Joe Dowdell, CSCS, C.H.E.K. Practitioner

The Workout

----In Part 1, I discussed the history of the Swiss Ball, the benefits of using a Swiss Ball and some of the precautions one should take. Now, its time to talk about the workout. I have attached an actual Program Design Sheet {see figure 2} which shows the names of the exercises, the number of sets and reps, as well as the load, tempo and rest periods to be used. In addition, I will give you detailed explanationsand photos of the exercisesof how to perform these exercises properly. Also, I will describe what these acute training variables are and how they are
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Program Design Sheet
Total Body Swiss Ball Workout

Joe Dowdell, CSCS, C.H.E.K. Practitioner
Name/Team: Peak Perfo rmance Client
Sport/Activity: Recreational Bodybuilder
Training Phase: Body Composition Phase 1
Objectives: Increase Lean Muscle Mass and decrease Body Fat, Increase Core Strength & Stability.
Dates: 6 Weeks

Exercise
Sets
Reps

Load
Tempo
Rest Period
A1. Split Squats
3
10-15
B/W
3-1-1-0
60 seconds
A2. Flat Dumbbell Press
3
10-15
3-1-1-0
60 seconds
B1. Supine Hip Extension & Knee Flexion Combo
3
8-12
B/W
2-0-2-0
60 seconds
B2. Dumbbell Pullover
3
10-15
3-1-1-0
60 seconds
C1. Seated Military Db. Press
3
10-15
3-1-1-0
60 seconds
C2. E-Z Bar Triceps Extension
3
10-15
3-1-1-0
60 seconds
C3. E-Z Bar Conc. Cable Curls
3
10-15
3-0-1-1
60 seconds
D1. Back Extensions
3
10-12

B/W

1-0-1-3
60 seconds
D2. Crunches
3
10-12
B/W
2-0-2-0
60 seconds

Notes: See below for photos and details of the exercise.
Figure 2: The Swiss Ball Total Body Workout

Instructions

----This Swiss Ball workout is designed specifically for a 6-week training phase. Although it can be shortened to any length of timeas you desire. In addition, it is also an excellent program to be used as a transition phase after a high intensity training phase. It should be noted that this workout is not intended for very long periods of time.

----This workout should be performed 3 times per week with a day of rest in between each training session. For those of you who wish to perform cardiovascular work, you should either do so after the Swiss Ball workout or on the alternate days {i.e., the days in between your strength sessions}. In figure 3 below, you will find an explanation for each of the acute training variables.

Set = it refers to the number of times a particular exercise will be performed.

Reps = it is the number of times the movement will be performed within a given set.

Load = it the amount of weight or resistance being used.
* The desired repetition range always determines the Load.
* Therefore, if the repetition range is 10-15, then the last repetition that you can perform with perfect form and under complete control should fall within this range.
* In other words, if you can complete 12 repetitions with perfect form, but you are unable to complete another rep, than the weight is accurate because your pre-determined range was 10-15 reps.

Tempo
= it refers to the speed of movement.
* The first digit represents the eccentric movement or the lowering of the weight.
* The second digit represents the length of the pause in the muscles lengthened position.
* The third digit is the concentric phase or the raising of the weight.
* The fourth digit refers to the length of the pause in the contracted position.
* It is written as 4-0-1-0.

Rest Periods = the time between sets or between exercises.

Exercise Sequence = the order in which the exercises are performed.
* A1 Squats                60 seconds rest
* A2 Chin Ups             60 seconds rest

* You perform a set of Squats, rest 60 seconds, then perform a set of Chin Ups, rest 60 seconds and repeat the sequence for the predetermined number of sets.

Figure 3: Acute Excercise Variables

Exercise Descriptions

Split Squats:

----Stand with your feet as if you were going to perform a normal Split Squat. But, instead of placing your rear foot on the floor, you will place it on the top of a Swiss Ball. At first, some of you may need to hold onto a pole or something for balancethats finebut the goal is to be able to perform the movement without any assistance. Begin by drawing your bellybutton inward toward your spineactivating your Transverse Abdominus muscle in order to stabilize the core. Next, while maintaining an upright torso {i.e., proper spinal alignment}, begin to lower the rear knee towards the floor as far you can, but do not let the knee touch the floor. You should focus on using the front leg to lower and raise yourself. Contract the Quadriceps and extend the front knee and return to the starting position. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Start Position
Bottom Position
Finish Position

Flat Dumbbell Press:
----Grab a pair of dumbbells and sit on top of a Swiss Ball with the Dumbbells resting on your knees. If this is the first time that you are doing this exercise, you might want to choose a weight that is about half of your normal training weight. Next, slowly walk your feet out so that only your upper back and head are resting on the ball. Your torso and thighs should be parallel to the floor and your lower legs should form a 90 angle to your thighs. Begin by drawing your bellybutton inward toward your spineactivating your Transverse Abdominus muscle in order to stabilize the core. Next, press the Dumbbells up so that they are positioned over your Sternum. Make sure you are as stable as possible and your spine is in perfect alignment, than begin by moving the arms out away from the body and toward the floor. Your upper arms should touch the ball at the bottom range of the movement. Return to the start position. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Start Position
Bottom Position
Finish Position

Supine Hip Extension & Knee Flexion Combo:
----Lie supine on a mat with your feet resting on top of a Swiss Ball. Your arms should be outstretched with the palms facing up toward the ceiling. Begin by drawing your bellybutton inward toward your spineactivating your Transverse Abdominus muscle in order to stabilize the coreand then squeeze the Glutes together and lift your hips up toward the ceiling. When your hips reach full extension, contract your hamstrings and pull the ball inward toward your butt. Make sure that as you are pulling the ball inward, you keep lifting your hips toward the ceiling. Then, you should reverse the movement and repeat. As you become more efficient with the exercise, you should slowly move your arms closer to the body in order to decrease the base of support.

Start Position
Mid-Phase
Full Contraction

Dumbbell Pullover:
----Sit on top of a Swiss Ball, while holding a Dumbbell on your thighs, and hook your feet under a machine or under a pair of dumbbells. Whichever you decide to do, please make sure it is stable enough to keep you from flipping over the ball. Then, lie supine over a Swiss Ball and hold the dumbbell over your Sternum at arms length. Begin by drawing your bellybutton inward toward your spineactivating your Transverse Abdominus muscle in order to stabilize the core and slowly lower your arms in an arcing motion over your head. You should keep a slight bend in the elbows throughout the movement. In order to return to the start position, contract your Lats and pull the arms back in the same path as the descent. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Start Position
Mid-Phase
Finish Position

Seated Military Dumbbell Press:
----Sit on top of the Swiss Ball with a pair of dumbbells resting on your thighs. Your thighs should be parallel or slightly above parallel and the lower legs should be vertical. Raise the Dumbbells up to shoulder height. Begin by drawing your bellybutton inward toward your spineactivating your Transverse Abdominus muscle in order to stabilize the core and slowly press the dumbbells overhead in an arcing motion. Make sure you keep the chest up and the spine in perfect alignment throughout the movement. Lower the dumbbells in the same path of motion as when you pressed them up. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Start Position
Mid-Phase
Finish Position

E-Z Bar Triceps Extension:
----Sit on top of a Swiss Ball, while holding an E-Z Curl Bar across your thighs, and hook your feet under a machine or under a pair of dumbbells. Whichever you decide to do, please make sure it is stable enough to keep you from flipping over the ball. Then, lie supine over a Swiss Ball and hold the curl bar over your Sternum at arms length. Begin by drawing your bellybutton inward toward your spineactivating your Transverse Abdominus muscle in order to stabilize the core and slowly lower your forearms in an arcing motion over your head. Make sure you keep the upper arms in a stationary position throughout the movement. Use the Triceps muscle in an eccentric manner to lower the bar. In order to return to the start position, contract your Triceps and raise the forearms back in the same path as the descent. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Start Position
Bottom Position
Finish Position

E-Z Bar Concentrated Cable Curls:
----Attach the E-Z Bar cable attachment to a Low Pulley and select the desired weight. Place a Swiss ball in front of the Cable Column. Kneel behind the Swiss Ball, facing the column, and rest your arms over the ball. Reach down and grab the E-Z Bar and shift your weight back behind the ball. Now you are in the correct position to start the set. Next, begin by slightly retracting your shoulder blades and curling the bar toward you. Make sure that you keep your chest up and your head in proper spinal alignment. Once youve achieved a full biceps contraction, slowly lower the bar in the same path of motion. Repeat the movement for the desired number of reps.

Start Position
Top Position
Finish Position

Back Extentions:
----Lie prone over a Swiss Ball. If the floor is slippery or you need some help with maintaining your balance, you should position yourself so that your feet are against a wall or something sturdy. Depending on your strength levels, you can position your arms in one of the following ways:

1. Along the side of your body.
2. Hands just resting on the Mastoid Process and the elbows abducted away from the body.{see the picture below}.
3. The arms extended directly above your head with the hands in a neutral position.

----The above progressions are depicted from easiest to hardest. Initiate the extension from the Lumbar Vertebrae up the Spine. Make sure you retract the shoulder blades throughout the movement. In addition, make sure you do not raise the head up, rather keep your cervical spine in line with the rest of the spine. Once, you reach full extension, slowly reverse the movement and then repeat.


PIC

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Start Position
Top Position
Finish Position

Crunches:
----Lie Supine over a Swiss Ball. You should be positioned so that the Lower Back, neck and head are resting on the ball. You should position your arms in one of four ways during the exercise depending on your initial strength levels:

1. Arms extended out in front of the torso.
2. Arms resting in a crossed arm position across the chest.
3. Arms held up by the head with the hands resting on the Mastoid Process and the elbows abducted away from the body.
4. Arms extended above the head.

----The above progressions are depicted from the easiest to hardest. In addition, for the very advanced trainee, you can hold a dumbbell across the chest {see the photo below} for added resistance. First, place your tongue on the roof of your mouth as if you just swallowed in order to stabilize the anterior neck muscles and to prevent forward head posture. For more information as to why one should use this technique, call the C.H.E.K. Institute {@ 800-552-8789} and order the Scientific Core Conditioning Series. Next, begin by drawing your bellybutton inward toward your spineactivating your Transverse Abdominus muscle in order to stabilize the coreand curl your trunk forward. Continue to flex your trunk until you achieve maximum contraction of the Rectus Abdominus. Then slowly reverse the movement until you are extended over the ball. Please note: If you feel any discomfort in the Lower Back, simply shift your hips down lower on the ball or stretch your Erector Spinae Musculature prior to performing the exercise. Also, if you are using a dumbbell, make sure you secure your feet under something sturdy.

Start Position
Top Position
Finish Position

References

Carriere, Beate, The Swiss Ball: Theory, Basic Exercises and Clinical Application. Springer-Verlag, 1965. ISBN #: 3-540-61144-4.
Chek, Paul. Advanced Swiss Ball Training for Rehabilitation Seminar. 2000.
Chek, Paul, Program Design Course. 1995.
Chek, Paul, Swiss Ball Training Course. 1996.
Poliquin, Charles, Advanced Strength Coach Theory Certification. 1996.
Posner-Mayer PT, Joanne, Swiss Ball Applications for Orthopedic and Sports Medicine. Ball Dynamics International. 1995. ISBN #: 0-9645341-4-2.

 

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