Picture this scene. You walk into the weight room at the gym and hear this loud groaning. Whatever could it be? Is someone hurling? Has someone been punched in the gut? Nope and nope.
Someone is doing bench presses!
I don’t know why, but it always seems like people groan the most while bench pressing. Hey, if groaning is your thing, have at it, broski. It’s not mine but who am I to judge?RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
I’m just a fitness and wellness professional trying to make a living.
All kidding aside, the bench press is a fun and engaging exercise that innervates the senses and contributes to a strong, sturdy body. One that can turn heads in a matter of seconds.
The question then becomes, what’s the deal with a swiss ball bench press?
The answer is pretty elementary.
When you opt to use a swiss ball—also known as a stability, fitness, physio, yoga, gym or balance ball – you end up with a string of benefits that a regular bench does not afford you.
First things first, you are forced to contract your core, quads, glutes and hamstrings while doing a set of reps.
This gives you an upper and lower body workout at the same time.
Since you are achieving all this added muscle recruitment, you also burn more calories.
Lastly, because you are on an unstable surface, you fire up more subsystems in your upper body, leading to more overall muscle fiber recruitment. This equates to a big victory with one movement.
Focus on form
All that being said though means nothing if you don’t execute proper form. Flipping and flopping around like a guppy out of its bowl will get you nowhere.
You need to focus on precision, proper body alignment and a good tempo.
Think in terms of 90% perfection or better. Here is the correct way to do swiss ball bench presses so you have no excuses your next trip to the gym.
1. Before you start, select the right size ball. When you are seated, your knees should be bent 90 degrees and thighs should be parallel to the floor. Find your ball and sit on it while holding dumbbells vertically on your thighs.
2. Walk your feet forward slowly as you roll backwards. Stop when your head and shoulders rest comfortably on top. Raise your hips to form a straight line from your shoulders to knees. This is referred to as a “bench position.”
3. Hold the dumbbells out at your sides with your palms facing forward, elbows bent 90 degrees and upper arms parallel to the floor. If you were looking straight down at your body, you should be in a “T” shape at this point.
4. Squeeze your abs forcefully as you push the weights up and toward each other. Stop when they are about an inch apart then slowly lower them back to the starting point. Take a big inhale as you lower the dumbbells and exhale as you push them up. Repeat for a set of reps then tuck your arms in by your sides with the dumbbells close to your chest.
5. Keep your abs tight as you walk your feet in and curl yourself back up to a seated position. Place the weights back on the floor and take a breather before your next set.
Ok, I gave you all the ammunition you need to integrate swiss ball bench presses into your program. If you have trouble pulling them off, give me a shout back and I’ll give you further assistance.
Good luck and please keep the groaning to a minimum!
Connect with Expert Kevin Rail.