Swiss Ball mountain climber – and exercise for ab strength and back and shoulder stability.

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  1. Ideally hands on Swiss ball – but can be done with forearms on the ball, which is slightly easier.
  2. Pull your shoulders firmly away from your ears as if squeezing the back of your armpits and lengthen your low back so it is straight.
  3. Step back onto your toes.
  4. If you find you are already holding your breath, then this exercise is not going to work very well for you.
  5. Push your body towards the ceiling through your shoulder blades if they are not sitting flat on your back.1  Don’t worry if your upper back is a little rounded as a result.
  6. If things are good to go, you will feel your low abs switched on and you will be breathing easily and calmly.  If your back hurts at all, then stop and revisit superman on the Swiss ball.  If you feel this in your upper abs, then stop and revisit superman on the Swiss ball.  If your shoulders hurt, stop the exercise and see a massage therapist toot sweet; your shoulders are in a mess.
  7. Keeping upper body stable, bring alternating knees straight towards the Swiss ball.
  8. No breath holding.  Relax the face without letting the head hang.
  9. If your wrists hurt, dig your finger tips into the ball.

This exercise helps stabilise the spine and shoulders.  By bringing one knee straight towards the ball, a criss cross pattern of stabilisation is introduced, making the small muscles that stabilise the back fire up – called the multifidi – along with the deepest corset like abdominal muscle, the TVA and the muscles that make the torso twist, the obliques.  Placing the hands on the Swiss ball and toes on the floor requires the shoulders to stabilise properly and, as the knee lifts, a further element of instability is introduced which places more load on those stabilisers.


  1. Shoulder blades should sit flat on the back.  It is not unusual if they don’t – it is called winging.  It does mean they are not stable and will injure in time.  Doing this exercise with them flattened onto the back helps strengthen the stabilising muscles, therefore this exercise works both the abs and the shoulder stabilisers []

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