Swiss balls are a quite alarming piece of equipment for the uninitiated, one prone to bounce you straight onto the floor if you approach them in anything but the most careful fashion.
However, once you have become accustomed to them, ideally without too many people watching, they’re an excellent accompaniment to a bodyweight workout. Having to balance any part of your body on the ball makes your muscles work all the harder, and it’s a rare exercise that challenges them more than the Swiss-ball pike.
The pike movement really hits the abs hard, and combined with having to balance on the ball, the whole movement is a core killer. Holding your upper body up means your arms and shoulders will also be aching the next day. In fact, there’s not much of your body that gets off lightly.
By the by, the Swiss-ball pike is also an excellent exercise for anyone who one day dreams of doing a handstand. And who doesn’t dream of doing a handstand?
How To Do The Swiss-Ball Pike
Mount your exercise ball with due care, resting your feet on it as you walk your hands out on the floor in front. You’re aiming for a raised press-up position with your body straight in line with your feet on the ball.
From there it gets tricky. Bend at the hips and draw your feet forward, rolling the ball along with them. Raise your hips towards the ceiling then hold them in the pike position for a couple of seconds before rolling back to the start.
Aim for two to three sets of five to ten pikes, but don’t be disappointed to fall short first time out. Or indeed second time out.
Exercise balls are cheap and easy to come by, making it worthwhile picking one up and using it at home rather than face-planting at the gym the first time you try and mount one.
Amazon and Argos have a variety of balls available, which don’t need to set you back more than £10.
Browse amazon.co.uk for Swiss balls
Browse argos.co.uk for gym balls
Try incorporating it into any of your regular bodyweight exercises to see how keeping your balance makes everything harder on your core. If you really love it, you can even use it as an office chair.