Swiss-Ball Pike Exercise

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Core Exercise: Swiss-Ball Pike

Swiss-ball pike (stability ball pike) is an excellent exercise for core strength and functional movement. It helps with balance of the body and strengthens the upper quarter. This movement develops coordination and strength in the entire body, integrating the core with the upper and lower extremities.

When performing this core exercise, make sure you have a clear exercise area. Do not sacrifice good form for speed. Adjust your body position and keep your belly button drawn in. Always maintain proper form.

How to Perform Swiss-Ball Pike?

Rest your shins on top of a Swiss ball, and support your upper body with your hands flat on the floor and slightly more than shoulder-width apart, arms straight. In other words, place your hands on the ground in a push-up position. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your ankles.

Swiss-Ball Pike

Swiss-Ball Pike

Keeping your legs straight (without bending the knees) and abs tight, bend your hips, lifting them into the air into an inverted “V” position as you pull the ball toward your chest. In other words, just roll the ball toward your chest by raising your hips (glutes) as high as you can toward the ceiling (until you achieve a pike position).¬†Pause, then return the ball to the starting position by lowering your hips and rolling the ball backward.

Swiss-Ball Pike Video Demonstration

This video is designed to show you exactly how to perform Swiss-ball pike using perfect technique (proper form) so you can get the most from this great core building exercise.

Swiss-Ball Pike Tips & Key Points

  • Keep your body in good postural alignment and do not let your pelvis sink or hike up.
  • Choose a ball that has a diameter about the same as the length of your arm.
  • Use your abs to raise your hips toward the sky, keeping your legs fairly straight.
  • Raise your hips until just before they reach above your shoulders (see figure b).
  • Don’t round your lower back while raising your hips.
  • Keep your elbows almost locked out during the entire exercise.
  • Slowly lower to the starting position with your body straight.
  • Avoid rounding your back, bending your knees, or bending your elbows.

Muscles Engaged

Abs, hips, shoulders, pecs.

Exercise Variations

  • To increase intensity, add a pushup after you roll the ball back lo starting position.
  • TRX Pike. Start in a push-up position with your feet in the TRX straps, your lower back flat and your hands directly under your shoulders. Using your abs, pull your body upwards into a pike position fully contracting your abs at the top.
TRX Pike

TRX Pike

Summing up

Although researching every available core exercise to determine which one best activates the intended muscle is virtually impossible, one study at least got the ball rolling. Swiss-ball pike develops strength in your upper body while increasing your flexibility and coordination. A study in the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy tested the ability of eight Swiss ball exercises (roll-out, pike, knee-up, skier, hip extension right, hip extension left, decline push-up, and sitting march right) and two traditional abdominal exercises (crunch and bent-knee sit-up) on activating core (lumbopelvic hip complex) musculature.

Results revealed that the roll-out and Swiss-ball pike were the most effective exercises in activating upper and lower rectus abdominis, external and internal obliques, and latissimus dorsi muscles, while minimizing lumbar paraspinals (back extensors) and rectus femoris (quadriceps) activity.

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