To say there’s a wide range of exercise equipment and tools in the fitness world would be an understatement. From kettlebells and resistance bands to cable machines and squat racks, the options are endless.

One of the very best and most versatile, in our opinion, is the Swiss Ball, also known as an exercise ball or stability ball. “Originally intended as a gymnastics aid, exercise balls have been on the fitness scene since the sixties” (Women’s Health, 2024). While the exercise bench is a staple in many gyms and in-home setups, the Swiss Ball is an excellent, cost-effective alternative that offers a range of additional benefits that can help you take your workouts to the next level.

Swiss ball or exercise bench?


“Found in almost every gym and fitness studio, the exercise ball has become one of the most popular and easy-to-use tools to increase core and abdominal fitness” ( Unlike the stable surface of an exercise bench, the Swiss Ball is unstable, requiring constant engagement of your core muscles to maintain balance. Whether you’re performing crunches, planks, or exercises seated directly on the ball (such as a seated march or overhead press), the instability of the Swiss Ball forces your core muscles to work much harder, leading to greater strength and stability over time.

The ‘Four-Point Balance’ is a great stability exercise that can be done on a Swiss Ball.


Balance is a crucial component of fitness, and the Swiss Ball is a fantastic tool for enhancing it. By incorporating the Swiss Ball into your workouts, you can challenge your body to stabilize itself on an uneven surface, improving your proprioception (your awareness of your body in space) and coordination. This translates to better function during daily activities and sports, as well as a reduced risk of falls and injuries. As we age, our balance can decline. If you’re having trouble with your balance, we recommend the guidance and instruction of an in-home personal trainer to ensure you’re exercising safely. Nielsen Fitness offers in-home (and virtual) personal training services that specialize in functional fitness with an emphasis on aging with strength.


While exercise benches certainly can be useful, their functionality is limited compared to the Swiss Ball, as its mobile and dynamic nature offers many more creative movement options. From strength training exercises atop the ball like chest presses and crunches, to squats and planks rolling the ball against the wall or ground, there’s no shortage of ways to incorporate the Swiss Ball into your routine. Plus, it can be used for stretching and mobility exercises, making it a versatile tool for all fitness levels.


One of the drawbacks of traditional exercise benches is their rigid surface, which can place unnecessary stress on your joints and spine. The Swiss Ball provides a more forgiving and gentle surface that reduces impact and minimizes the risk of injury. This makes it ideal for individuals with joint pain or those recovering from injuries, allowing exercises to be performed with greater comfort and safety.


Unlike bulky benches, Swiss Balls are lightweight and portable, making them perfect for home gyms or on-the-go workouts. They’re also smaller and more affordable than most benches, making them more accessible. With a Swiss Ball, you can enjoy effective workouts without breaking the bank or sacrificing precious space in your home.


While the exercise bench will always have its place, the Swiss Ball offers a host of unique benefits that can make it a superior choice. From enhanced core strength and balance to improved joint health and versatility, the Swiss Ball is a must-have tool for anyone looking to take their workouts to new heights.

If you’re looking to expand your exercise catalogue, a Nielsen Fitness personal trainer can show you countless ways of incorporating a Swiss Ball into your workout routine. We offer personal training Toronto and in the greater area. Not in Toronto? We offer in-person workouts in other cities in Ontario and virtual workouts everywhere. First workouts are zero pressure and always free. Click here to book yours.