Posts Tagged ‘Swiss Ball’

My previous post demonstrated me jumping onto a Swiss Ball, and then to another Swiss Ball. Now I’m going to show you how to do it.

Jumping on to the Swiss Ball is far from easy, and quite frankly, it’s rather dangerous. It’s do-able though, and with enough practice, you can figure it out too.

When I was playing college hockey, one of my teammates could do it – thinking of doing it was scary, yet it was a challenging exercise I wanted to be able to perform. I’m happy that I saw it through, and I now know I can do something that not a lot of others can. It’s fun to pass on my knowledge too.

Major Muscles Involved:

-Core, Quadriceps, Gluteus Maximus, Hamstrings, Gastrocnemeus

Major Joints Involved:

-Hips, Knees, Ankles.


-Hip Flexion (Iliopsoas, Sartorius, Tensor Fascia Latae, Pectineus, Rectus Femoris)

-Hip Extension (Gluteus Maximus, Semitendiunosus, Semimembranosus, Biceps Femoris, Adductor Magnus)

-Knee Flexion (Semitendinous, Biceps Femoris, Semimembranous, Sartorius, Gracilis, Popliteus, Gastrocnemius)

-Knee Extension (Rectus Femoris, Vastus Lateralis, Vastus Medialis, Vastus Intermedius) -Dorsi Flexion (Tibialis Anterior, Extensor Hallucis Longus, Extensor Digitorum Longus, Peroneus Tertius)

-Plantar Flexion (Gastrocnemius, Soleus, Plantaris, Flexor Hallucis Longus, Flexor Digitorum, Tibialis Posterior, Peronaeus Longus, Peronaeus Brevis)

Preliminary Tips: Jumping ball to ball is an advanced technique. Learn how to balance on the ball with your knees first, then progress to standing on it, then jumping. Always use a spotter when available.

When you are starting out learning this move, do it on a well padded floor, if available. Also, select your Swiss Ball wisely – they come in all different sizes, thicknesses, and levels of inflation. Best ball to start out on is a small, thick, ¾ inflated one. As you gain confidence, feel free to attempt the jump on different ball variables.

Concerns: Falling, ankle sprains, injury.

Why Should You Do It?: Because of the number of muscles involved in performing this maneuver, it’s imperative that those muscles are strong before you can pull it off. Thus, if you can do this, you know you’re doing good in the strength and stability department. If not, you now know what you can be working on. It’s a maneuver that shows you what you’re capable of – and if you can do this, you’ve showed yourself that you’re capable of attempting and performing other more advanced exercises too. Core strength and stability is crucial for competitive athletes – especially contact sports where other players are constantly trying to knock you down. If you can do this move, you’ll undoubtedly be able to stay on your feet in other precarious situations as well.

The Breakdown:

1)      As you prepare to leap, bend your knees to 90°, entering into hip/knee flexion, and dorsi flexion at the ankles.

2)      As you jump, your objective will to be to jump straight up in the air, and then descend down, on top of the ball – rather than jumping up and forward, and landing on the ball with forward momentum (which would undoubtedly conclude with the back of your head hitting the gym floor). At this stage, you’ll be in nearly full hip/knee extension, and now plantar flexion at the ankle. Aim to land on the ball with your feet shoulder width apart, with your ankles abducting slightly.

3)      In addition to jumping straight up in the air, you need to jump as high as you can straight up in the air – this will allow you to land down square on the top of the ball as previously mentioned in step 2. You will enter into hip/knee flexion with your knee bend up at 90° or higher, looking nearly identical to your take-off form.

4)      As you now land on the top of the ball, you will basically “stick” the landing, rather than performing a deep knee bend and absorbing the landing. Another way to think of it is as your head reaches its highest point in the jump, extend your legs and put your feet down on top of the ball, rather than letting your body drop onto it. This part of the maneuver will require full engagement of isometric contraction in the core and leg muscles to keep your balance. You’ll be in hip/knee extension here, opening up about halfway to straight or so.

5)       As you prepare to proceed to the next ball, again bend your knees down to a 90° starting position, entering into hip/knee flexion, and dorsi flexion at the ankles.  Mentally prepare to perform the same up-and-on jumping motion; minimizing your forward momentum.

6)      As you leap, you be ready-jumping — that is, ready to land, and jumping nearly in your landing position with a lesser degree of hip/knee extension than in your first jump. You actually don’t have to jump as high or as with much upward force this time, as you no longer have to clear the height of the ball like you did in the original jump. Again, aim to land on the ball with your feet shoulder-width apart, with your ankles abducting slightly. DO NOT RUSH this jump – position your feet, and jump only when you’re ready!

7)      Again, land on the top of the ball, and stick the landing while contracting your core and leg muscles in an isometric fashion. You should land with a little extra stabilizing knee bend this time, as this jump is far more precarious than the first.

8)      &   9) Dismount by abducting your hips straight out to the each side of the ball, dropping to the floor, and landing on the floor with a shock-absorbing knee bend. Congrats, you did it!

Try adding this challenging sequence to your workout repetoire! (btw, that’s me performing the circus stunt)

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