First let me start by describing how you should effectively size a Swiss Ball. The ball is the correct height for you when after sitting down on it your thighs are slightly greater than parallel to the ground. Another way to say it is that when youre sat on the Swiss Ball your hips should be higher than your knees when observed from the side. This ensures that your spine is in the correct position whilst performing exercises on the ball.
By performing exercises on the Swiss ball you create an unstable environment in which to train your body. This is great for sports like surfing and horse riding as it replicates the same conditions involved in these sports and your body adapts accordingly and your performance in these sports will improve with practice. By balancing on the ball you test your righting and tilting reflexes which will help improve your balance.
In terms of your time spent in the gym, training on a Swiss Ball works your deep core muscles and joint stabilisers really well. This not only gives you a great core workout but it will also strengthen the muscles that stabilise the other major joints of the body like the shoulder and the knee. The end result of this will be that you can lift heavier and perform better in the exercises involving these joints.
Swiss Balls are one of a number of fitness tools that can be used for stretching and mobilisation but it really comes into its own when applied to abdominal training. It can be used in combination with various other pieces of equipment such as medicine balls and bands to provide a fantastic abdominal workout. But perhaps the best way to use the Swiss Ball is for the good old fashioned abdominal crunch. The range of motion created as your arch over the ball puts the abdominal muscles in a stretched position, therefore increasing the range of motion and increasing the intensity and effectiveness of the exercise.
I highly recommend you introduce the Swiss Ball into your training regime. Its a fun and flexible piece of equipment that adds a new dimension to your training. It creates an unstable environment which will improve your balance and flexibility as well as giving you a great core workout. Even if you just add a couple of Swiss Ball exercises onto the end of your gym workout I assure you that youll be pleased with the results.