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How to create engaging workout routines with Wellness Ball Training and Balance Pads

Wellness Ball Training and Balance Pad are familiar small tools, present in every fitness center but often little-used and little-known. This article explains what they are, how to use them and how to create fun training routines for client’s various needs.

Origin of the Wellness Ball

Exercises at Technogym Wellness Ball Training
The origin of the Wellness Ball, also known as "fitness ball", dates to 1963 when an Italian plastic manufacturer, Aquilino Cosani, was able to create balls resistant to perforation thanks to an elaborate process of molding. Later it was used in physiotherapy both in England and Switzerland and, given the prodigious results, became a "must" in physiotherapy and training programs for the activities of Yoga, Pilates, and Postural Gymnastics.

The origin of the Wellness Ball, also called "fitness ball", dates back to 1963 when an Italian plastic manufacturer, Aquilino Cosani, was able to create balls resistant to perforation thanks to an elaborate moulding process.

It is still used today in holistic activities, but its use has become common in many other activities, from athletic training to muscle strengthening and as an alternative to the traditional office chair.

Exercise ball is made with special materials that promote perfect stability, adherence, and softness during exercises. The innovative compound of which it is composed, makes it burst-proof, ensuring safety in the exercises and durability over time. It is available in two sizes: Diameter of 55cm or 65cm, the correct selection depends on the height of the user.

Benefits of using the exercise ball

The use of the exercise ball in training programs has many advantages, including:

  •  Home exercise solution: The exercise ball allows you to train without the use of mechanical equipment and without the need to go to the gym.
  • Portability and ease of storage: Due to its small size and having the possibility to deflate it easily and quickly for storage, the Wellness Ball can be transported anywhere you want. Moreover, thanks to these features it is an indispensable tool for any trainer who does Personal Training at client’s homes or in the park.
Detail of Balance Pad
  • Improves coordination and proprioception at the same time: The exercise ball being an unstable base continuously involves all the deep muscles of the body to stay in position. For this reason, the Wellness Ball not only works on the muscles but also on the nervous system, which must be constantly focused on keeping the body in balance during the exercises.

How to use the exercise ball

As mentioned, the exercise ball has a lot of potential uses:

  • Physiotherapy: Born as a tool for rehabilitation and improvement of posture. Its ability to simultaneously involve the nervous system and the musculoskeletal system makes its use indispensable in many physiotherapy programs.
  • Holistic activities: In Pilates as in Yoga, the Wellness Ball can be used as a support base or as a tool to improve and assist the posture in certain positions used in these activities.
Exercise at Wellness Ball Training
  • General and specific athletic preparation: Excellent tool for strengthening the Core and beyond. There are many athletic trainers that include its use in the training routines of recreational and professional athletes. It can be an excellent unstable base on which to perform specific exercises for muscle endurance and hypertrophy (for example pressing exercises with dumbbells performed lying on the Wellness Ball or Push-ups with the feet resting on it). It is also very often used in Functional Training activities. There are many studies that show that there is greater postural muscle activation in exercises that involve the use of the Wellness Ball as a base for support.
  • Injury prevention: Its use in prehabilitation programs is now widespread everywhere, many studies show that greater control of the Core can prevent many injuries during physical activity. Not only does it improve intra-muscular coordination, but also inter-muscular coordination.
  • Use for stretching exercises: The Wellness Ball is an excellent tool to be used for stretching exercises, especially for users who have difficulty lying down on the ground or maintaining certain positions (for example, for elderly people or those with joint problems).

What is the Balance Pad?

As with the exercise ball, the Balance Pad was also created as a tool for the rehabilitation-postural field.

Small, lightweight and easy to use, the balance pad is an excellent tool for developing proprioception, balance and neuromuscular coordination. The Balance Pad is a rectangle, a few centimeters in height, made of an ergonomic material that provides an excellent surface for many types of exercise and can support almost any part of the body.

Skilltools rack

Benefits of using the Balance Pad

The use of the Balance Pad can have many benefits:

  • Improvement of stability and proprioception: Thanks to its shape and composition, the Balance Pad constitutes an unstable support surface that can improve stability and balance during the execution of standing exercises.
  • Suitable for everyone and for many activities: The use of the Balance Pad is suitable for everyone. From children to adults, from professional athletes to beginners who want to approach the world of fitness. Balance Pad can be used in physiotherapy and rehabilitation, in the weight room, in holistic activities, and in functional training.

How to use the Balance Pad

There are many different uses for the Balance Pad:

  • Physiotherapy and rehabilitation: As mentioned above, its use in rehabilitation is very widespread. Excellent as a support surface for exercises with bipedal and/or monopodial load but also for upper body exercises, where the load is placed through the hands/elbows on the Balance Pad.
  • A comfortable base of support: Balance Pad is a comfortable base of support for the body during the execution of specific exercises. Excellent for stretching and yoga but also to support elbows and knees during training sessions, it can also be a comfortable cushion to be used during the cool down both as a support for the head and for the lumbar area as a support for the head and lumbar area.

Training on an unstable tool improves intra- and inter-muscular coordination to improve response to external stimulation.

  • Athletic preparation and functional training: Many trainers use the Balance Pad in their training programmes for strength development and improving balance and coordination. Training on an unstable base improves intra- and inter-muscular coordination in order to improve its response to external stimuli. In functional training the balance pad is used to intensify the training, just try to maintain the position of Plank on the floor or on the balance pad, you will notice that fatigue and muscle activation will be greater.

Workout routines with wellness ball and balance pad

Try to perform these two workout routines using these two  tools, the routines last 20 minutes and are oriented towards two objectives, the first to improve your wellness, the second to improve strength.

1. Be Wellness

  • Squat on Balance Pad
  • Crunch on Wellness Ball Training
  • Balance on one leg with Balance Pad (20 seconds per side)
  • Chest extensions in a prone position on Wellness Ball Training
  • Alternate forward lunge onto the Balance Pad
  • Alternate leg lifts - supine – foot on Wellness ball
Hold each position for 30" recovering 15" between exercises:

  • Elongation of the Hamstrings sitting on a Wellness Ball
  • Elongation adductors sitting on Wellness Ball (30" for each side)
  • Elongation of the prone spine over Wellness Ball
  • Ilio-psoas elongation, knee supported on Balance Pad (30" for each side)
  • Pigeon position on Balance Pad (30" for each side)

2. Be strong

Repeat this circuit twice, performing 40 seconds of work and 20 seconds of recovery for each exercise and 1 minute of additional rest between the first and second rounds.

  • Squat on Balance Pad
  • Wellness Ball Training Pass from hands-feet in supine lying
  • Hands flexed on Balance Pad (20 seconds per side)
  • Bulgarian split squat with rear foot resting on Wellness Ball (20 seconds per side)
  • Side lunges on Balance Pad
  • Glute bridge with feet resting on Wellness Ball
Hold each position for 30" recovering 15" between exercises

  • Elongation of the Hamstring muscles sitting on a Wellness Ball Training
  • Elongation adductors sitting on Wellness Ball (30" for each side)
  • Elongation of the prone spine over Wellness Ball
  • Ilio-psoas elongation, knee supported on Balance Pad (30" for each side)
  • Pigeon position on Balance Pad (30" for each side)

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