We often receive emails that ask us “How do I inflate my Swiss Ball?” Let us help you out.
When we ship out your Swiss Ball order, the package would contain a deflated Swiss ball, a pump, DVD, and exercise chart. If you have an electric pump or air compressor, you can use that to inflate your Swiss ball.
Let’s begin to inflate your Swiss Ball:
Depending on the size of the ball you purchased, check the Swiss ball will have a label indicating the maximum diameter that you can inflate your ball. If you are unable to estimate that you have already reached the maximum diameter, the best thing to do is to get a measuring tape and pencil or something to mark a spot on the wall and ceiling. For the height, start measuring from the floor and mark the wall up to the maximum diameter of the Swiss ball. Likewise, from the wall start measuring the floor up to the recommended diameter.
Take the deflated ball, place it on the floor and inspect if there are any defects. Our Swiss balls have been test inflated to ensure your safety and to check if there are any holes and/or if it meets our high standards.
Inspect the ball and find the plug. After unplugging, get the pump and place its tip into the plug hole. Start pumping into it. Same procedure with an electric pump or air compressor. Check if you have reached the allowable diameter by looking at the markings you placed on the wall and floor. You can also stop pumping air when the ball is already firm.
We know you will be excited to use the ball immediately but try to avoid this and allow 24 hours before using the ball or adding more air.
After the 24-hour wait, check if the ball is ready for you to use. Get the ball and sit on it. The rule of thumb that you have placed the right amount of air is when you sit on the ball; your legs should be at a 90 degree angle with the ball.
Your knees should be aligned with your hips, if it is lower, deflate the ball. If your knees are higher, inflate the ball a little bit more.
Also, you will know that you have the correct ball size when you are able to make a 2-inch dent on the ball while in the proper sitting position. If not, you may need a different size.
Phthalates and BPA: The So-Called “Everyday” Chemicals
You may have heard of Phthalates and BPA before but had no idea on what these things are. Phthalates is a compound used in the manufacture of plastic. Phthalates increases the durability, flexibility, longevity, and transparency of plastics. This chemical is widely used every day, from the manufacture of enteric coating of medicinal tablets to the manufacture of adhesives. It can be found in almost everywhere. Likewise with BPA; BPA is short for Bisphenol A. BPA enables plastic to be tough and clear. Common products that use BPA are baby bottles, epoxy resins, and sports equipment (e.g. Swiss balls) to name a few.
These two chemicals has been around for quite some time – phthalates was introduced in the 1920s while BPA during the 60s and were supposedly safe to use hence almost all consumer plastic-based products contained these chemicals. Unfortunately, recent studies have shown that these chemical compounds are a health risk.
Exposure to Phthalates
Exposure to Phthalates has been linked to several health problems like asthma; allergies, breast cancer, endocrine disruption, obesity, and ADHD just to name a few. And the scary part is that exposure to phthalates can be everywhere (both indoors and outdoors). Phthalates can be part ingredient of plastic, it can also be found in milk, cosmetics, butter, meats, erasers, common everyday household items; it’s everywhere. Phthalates is unable to create a covalent bond with plastics that is why when the plastic breaks down as time wears on, the phthalates are released into the environment.
Babies and young children are always the ones at great risk since they are always curious and tend to put things in their mouths or touch things that interest them.
Other Risk of Phthalates and BPA
Recently, the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) released the results of a study that adults, both male and female, who have been exposed to either phthalates or BPA has a greater risk of developing fertility problems. Notice that in the United States, more and more couples are seeking the aid of fertility clinics instead of conceiving naturally.
According to the study, medical researchers have found that these adults may have gotten exposed to phthalates and BPA through cash register receipts, personal care products, detergents, and containers that had been for drinking and eating.
Although lab tests on rodents have produced the said results, the FDA advised that more tests must be made before taking a general action against the use of phthalates and BPA.
For couples trying to conceive, getting exposed to BPA poses a health risk. Males exposed to BPA may end up with a reduced sperm count.
Samples taken from 501 couples who were trying to conceive showed that the men with higher phthalates concentration in their urine suffered 20% reduction in their sperm count and either had damaged sperm DNA or abnormal sperm.
The women who had higher concentrations of BPA in their urine showed that out the 114 pregnancies, 68 were miscarriages.
Awareness and Vigilance
These effects and health risks are just but a tip of the iceberg. Being aware and vigilant on what materials were used in the products that we consume is the key to minimising the risks. Take for example, you exercise ball. An exercise or Swiss ball is made of plastic-like rubber, and there is a big possibility that it contains phthalates and BPA. As a precaution, only buy from trusted and reputable sources.
One brand that has the reputation of marketing high quality, puncture-resistant Swiss balls is Swiss Balls Australia. The specialists when it comes to Swiss balls, medi-balls, exercise balls, and stability balls; Swiss Balls Australia only sells products that are free from phthalates and BPA. Don’t risk your health with substandard materials, trust a brand that is safe and is made of quality materials. Visit the store today.
If you walk around the gym you will sometimes notice that some people utilise the swiss ball almost like a bench when doing their presses. Have you ever wondered whether this actually does anything or it is just to look fancy?
Well, you are not alone.
Marshall and Murphy (2006) decided to assess the muscle activity that is elicited when you trade in a stable bench for a fancy and unstable exercise ball, and see whether there are any differences between the two exercises. They found some interesting results....
What Did The Study Show?
The authors of the study found that when you perform a swiss ball dumbbell bench press, instead of using a bench, you have significantly greater:
Furthermore, whilst not increased, the swiss ball did not inhibit or reduce the activation of the prime movers of the exercise - pectoralis major and triceps brachii.
Why Is This The Case?
The authors suggest that the instability of the exercise ball leads to an increased activation of 'secondary stabilisers'. The need to stabilise the movement in all 3 anatomical planes meant there was a greater activation of the core and shoulder musculature (Marshall & Murphy, 2006).
What's the take home message?
Well, if you are looking to get the most out of your workouts in the shortest time period (and let's be honest who isn't?) combining the bench press with the instability of the ball can increase activation of your abdominal muscles for core strengthening and toning.
Swiss Ball Bench Press Technique
Marshall PWM, Murphy BA. Increased deltoid and abdominal muscle activity during swiss ball bench press. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2006;20(4):745-750
This is a question that I have received countless times on our support page. The only problem is that there is not one right answer! The appropriate swiss ball size will change according to your:
Intended Use: sitting, exercises, which particular exercises.
However, do not despair! In order to help you with your choice we have made the following swiss ball sizing chart available. Hopefully, this will guide your decision making when purchasing swiss balls from SwissBalls.com.au : The Australian Swiss Ball Specialists.