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Winning Ways:
Having A Ball!

Wednesday, April 7, 1999

By Gregory "Graig" White
SJSports Physical Fitness Advisor

Have you ever heard the expression, "less is more"? When it comes to the Physio-ball, nothing could be truer. This ball can help develop a body that is tighter, leaner and stronger. It was first introduced by Swiss physical therapists in 1965, as a tool to help in the development of balance and increase reflex actions. Today the ball has hundreds of uses. It is a safe, inexpensive and effective tool in creating the body you want. Plus, it's also a lot of fun!

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When training with the ball, proper form is the key. There is only one body alignment for a chosen movement that matches the force created by your muscles. What that means is that once you are in the proper alignment, and working through the full range of motion, the targeted muscle group will feel the full effect of the exercise. The body alignment is directly against the resistance. When working out on the ball, short rest intervals between sets are recommended. Ideally, the rest period between a set is 30 to 45 seconds. Between exercises it's 45 seconds to one minute.

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Physio-balls come in different sizes. Your ball should be large enough so that when you sit on it, your knees should bend at a ninety-degree angle. The ball's diameter is measured in centimeters. A person who is 60 to 67 inches tall would be best suited for a 55-cm ball. People 68 inches and taller would go for the 65-cm ball. When in doubt, it's better to have a ball that is slightly larger.

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When done correctly, the Physio-ball is effective, efficient and just plain fun. I recommend that if you train in a facility that doesn't have a Physio-ball, ask them to get one. You'll be glad you did.

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I'd like to thank Jessica Cintron. She is a first-year student at Rutgers and graciously and patiently posed for the pictures used in this article.


Photos by Art Redd

Do you have a fitness or conditioning question for Graig? Send it to If your question is used in an article, you will receive a free Team Conditioning Systems t-shirt.

For previous Winning Ways, visit Graig's Archives

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