The Swiss Ball Dilemma

The Swiss ball is discussed by strength coaches Cameron McGarr and Mike Wunsch who reveal which exercises work — and which ones really don’t.


Swiss ball leg curl

Lie flat on your back and rest your heels on a Swiss ball. Contract your glutes, drive your heels into the ball and extend your hips until they’re suspended in the air. Bend your knees and roll the ball towards your body.

“You’ll hit both actions of the hamstring — knee flexion and hip extension — at the same time,” McGarr says.


Perform a push-up with your feet on the ball.”

“It’s an excellent challenge to core stability,” says Wunsch. “Plus, you can combine them with the prone pike.” For example, after finishing a set of Swiss ball push-ups, follow it up with a set of prone pikes.

Prone pike

Get in push-up position and rest the tops of your feet on a Swiss ball. Bend your hips and try to pull your feet towards your chest so that the ball rolls forward. Hold for a few seconds, then roll back to the starting position. Continue rolling the ball backward (letting it move up your legs) until your head angles toward the floor about 30 degrees.

“You can get a great workout without needing to use a lot of space,” Wunsch says.



“I understand the argument that if you sit on a Swiss ball you can work your core harder, but a standing press with your legs locked is a much better option,” Wunsch says.


“The spine was not meant to hyperextend,” McGarr says. “That’s why it’s called a hyperextension — as in ‘too much extension’.”


“The risk-reward ratio of squatting on the ball is way out of balance,” McGarr says. “Plus, using an unstable surface doesn’t help with force production.”

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