* Prices may differ from that shown
In a bid to lose some weight and shape up I decided to purchase some gym equipment to use at home. I'm a little short of money to be splashing out on a gym membership when I'm not sure I'll keep it up. Much better to try some bits out at home I thought!
The gym ball came 'flat packed' and I was very suprised at the tiny size of the deflated ball. It folds up easily so would be ideal if you wanted to travel with it. The largest item in the box was the pump to inflate the ball - it also comes with two handles on stretchy cord.
The ball smelt quite strongly of plastic/rubber when I first unpacked it. Personally I love that solvent-y smell but I can imagine that a lot of people don't. The smell did wear off with use and now, several months (and not much use!) down the line, the smell is undetectable. The material that the ball is made from feels suitably thick and I have never had any qualms about it popping or tearing. The pump is easy to use but the ball, being rather large, did take a bit of time to inflate. I keep mine inflated so this was a one-off event, I just top it up occasionally when it appears to have lost some of its air. I wouldn't recommend deflating and reinflating every session as this would take a lot of time and effort. You could make it part of your work-out though! Once inflated the handles on elastic are easily attached to either side of the ball and then you're ready to go.
The ball is a nice size for me to use (I'm 5'8"), not too small. Like most balls I've seen it features ridges around the circumference, presumably to stop you from slipping and sliding all over the place. To date I haven't slipped off so they seem to do the trick! I'm able to use the ball for core work, situps and balancing etc which was the main reason I purchased it. I'm also impressed by the handles which allow you to incorporate a little upper-body workout too. The elastic cord that attaches these handles is short enough that I can do bicep curls whilst sitting on the ball with a good amount of tension.
The only problem I have with this ball is that it requires a good dose of enthusiasm and motivation in order to complete, or even start, a workout on your own. When I first started using it, having never used one before, I felt like a kid at playtime. What's more fun than a huge ball right? Just sitting on it and rolling around onyour tummy is loads of fun. Then you realise that when you lose your balance you inevitably put your foot throught the flatscreen, crack your head open on the hearth or something equally as unappealing. Doing sit-ups on it just isn't that much fun though. Now it sits in the corner making me feel guilty - it's just not exciting enough for me to gather the enthusiasm to actually get it out and use it for a proper, sensible workout. It seems easier to get down on the floor and crack out 100 sit-ups the old fashioned way.
I think some people would find this a genuinely useful product. It's well made and provides a range of work-out opportunities. It's just not for me.
REEBOK PILATES CORE BALL
* Please note mine is DARK BLUE not PINK* :D :D
Who are Reebok? Born in 1960 by Joe and Jeff Foster in England, the name comes from the Afrikaans spelling of Rhebok, a type of African antelope/gazelle. Reebok produce sports and athletic clothing and equipment and are part of German sportswear firm Adidas.
After rupturing my cruicate ligament, I was given this core ball as a present in order to aid my recovery from key hole surgery. It has multiple uses, but the reasoning for me initially was to improve my balance and stability which were pretty much non existent.
It was also recommended by my qualified physio at the time as part of my rehab, as we used them on a weekly basis at Hospital.
However the Core Ball/Swiss ball has many other uses, it increases your posture, strengthens the body's core, and increases your flexibility and general strength.
WHAT'S A CORE BALL
The Reebok Pilate's Core Ball is basically an exercise ball used for fitness training. The Core ball is pretty much like a Swiss ball, and have been used for years up and down the countries gym's and physiotherapy rooms. The main purpose is to strengthen the body's core, increase stability and to increase posture.
The benefits of this particular ball is it comes with two resistance bands making it a much more versatile piece of equipment. The two resistance bands are either side of the ball, and can be varied to increase or decrease the intensity of resistance. Theses added benefits allow you to focus on certain muscle groups, focusing on specific exercises for certain areas, becoming a muscle work out as well as fitness.
The two bands are clipped into the sides of the balls, and can be removed within seconds...so you can exercise easily with or without them.
* 65 cm Reebok Gym Ball
* Two adjustable resistance bars - that vary the intensity
* Pump - To blow up the ball
* Training sheet full of different exercises.
The Ball itself seems fairly durable, I've had it a few years and I've not experienced any problems with it bursting or even self deflating, it keeps it shape well! It's a versatile piece of equipement that you can do allsorts with.
BODY CONDITIONING - THE BENEFITS
Body conditioning exercises increase the body's stabilizing muscles, they also improve your balance, co-ordination, and for me at the time improving and strengthening the bodies weak joints .
Creating a strong base increases your endurance and flexibility, reduces your body fat , and increases your lean muscle, gaining strength in the process. What's more if done correctly can remove stress from any aching joints, and the ability to cope or adapt to injury.
Think of an Apple, well the Core is it's backbone, spine, what holds it together, keeps it strong, basically our Core is the same, it's what makes us strong, balanced, reaction-able and flexible. Our spine and all the muscles around it, especially around your lower back and bottom is the key to our general health, flexibility and movement.
What this Ball does is increase all these things in a very easy and efficient manner through a number of different exercise, that can be done in the comfort of your own home. The exercises can be as difficult or easy as you wish, but training programmes are essential to improve your performance slowly and correctly.
*What can the ball do for you?
*Stretches and tones your body
*Increases balance, general posture & co-ordination.
*The potential to remove stress from joints
*Prevent bad backs
*Whilst exercising it's important to follow training schedules and depending on your level of fitness or flexibility to start with the simpler exercises and work your way up, to prevent injury*With the Core ball, you have a list of training exercises ...
Step One: BALANCE TRAINING
These generally are really easy and slow exercises focusing on relaxing the body, breathing and clearing your mind, whilst still exercising the core muscles. Basically sitting firmly and still, whilst focusing on your core and breathing , and moving your arms.Step Two: SITTING EXERCISES
These exercise the back and shoulder muscles, with the aid of the resistance straps. What's important whilst doing the exercises is you focus on the core, keeping your back straight, and maintaining correct posture and breathing.Step Three: LYING ON BALL
*The Hippo Yawns
*Drawing the Sword
*Core Ball Crunch
Step three the intensity increases a little, as you exercise the core muscles, back, chest and shoulders. It involves lying on the ball, on it's side, on the floor and with your back up against it, a lot more versatile but still easy enough for beginners. The exercises given are generally very easy and for beginners, or people that actually do pilates, if you are more interested in focusing on muscle gain and real body conditioning then I'd recommend a book by Hamlin 'Body Conditioning for Men' which is a book written by Paul Stephen Lubicz who is renowned for training movie stars.
I think this is excellent addition to any household, you don't have to be a sports fanatic to use it, Indeed you could even just lie on it watching TV and get a general work out. The flexibility of exercises available would enable anyone to use it, all age groups and all types of figure/fitness.
The only negative thing I can really think of is that it takes up a lot of room, unless you are prepared to deflate it after every use, but that would be a little silly! Other than for storage this is highly recommendable!
Prices / Availability : It generally is available for £19.99 and in most obvious high street sports retailers, and numerous online sports or fitness websites. I'm not sure of the variety of colours, except Pink, Grey and Dark Blue and I think it's also available in 3 different sizes.