Since I first laid my eyes on the UGI ball watching home workout fitness videos produced by Body Rock and Zuzka Light, I have wanted to own one desperately. The only trouble was that for a long time, it was not available in the UK, so I was left pining after one.
The UGI ball is a modern twist on the old school medicine ball and Swiss ball. It is weighted, squishy and very sturdy – it comes in a variety of lovely colours (depending on weight) such as pink, purple, green, grey and teal. It was created to be a versatile and functional fitness tool incorporating strength, cardiovascular and core stability training. And it is so attractively designed, you do not need to put it away when you are done with your workout!
I have to admit, at first I was a bit skeptical when I was watching those home workout videos. Surely, a ball weighing between 6 – 12 lbs can’t seriously challenge someone like me, with multiple half marathons and marathons behind my back, almost calling the gym my second home? Yeah, right. I think curiosity got the better of me in the end, having listened to all the praise this ball got online, so following the advice on the UGI website, I placed an order for a ‘home kit’ which includes a teal coloured 10 lb ball and a home workout video, following the advice on the aforementioned website about hot choose the right weight for your ball.
The home kit comes with a ball (who would have guessed!), a brief nutrition guide, a CD with 5 x 30 minute home workouts loaded onto it, a free downloadable UGI interval timer for your iPhone and a workout guide booklet with the 5 workout programmes which are demonstrated in the videos. The ball is also available on its own, without the kit, but the home kit is only a tiny bit more expensive so you get a lot more for your money, so it is a no-brainer, really!
So, as soon as my ball arrived, I put it to the test straight away to see if I got my money’s worth. About 10 minutes into the first workout did I realise how much I had underestimated this innocent looking, squishy little devil… My heart wanted to jump out of my chest, my arms felt like iron, I was drenched in my own sweat, begging for mercy not even halfway through the workout, finding myself doing the easier modifications for some of the exercises (!) It was most humbling to see the girl demonstrating the exercises in the video remaining completely dry and very happy in her pink outfit, pumping out the reps without stopping for a second as if she had grown up with the UGI ball. I bet they paused the workout a couple of times whilst recording it! Fortunately, there is a cheerleader-style countdown for the final 10 seconds of each exercise, so just as I was about to die, it always brought me back to life. The best part is that at the end of the 30 minutes, you get a firework display on the screen, to celebrate your survival!
I have done quite a few workouts so far, and I have to say, I am seriously impressed and very pleasantly surprised: I am working all my body parts at a challenging intensity, using just one but extremely versatile exercise equipment, in a very small space, it takes only 30 minutes to complete a workout, and it is impossible to get bored, as you don’t do the same exercise twice!
I also love the fact that the UGI ball promotes functional training (which I am a very strong advocate for), the principles of which are explained on the UGI website in a very simple way:-
“The goal of functional training is to emphasize the transfer of fitness gained from exercise into improved performance in daily activities (and sport). The body knows movements rather than muscles. Traditionally we use machine-based strength training which focuses on isolating muscles to increase the size of a given target muscle but does not demand the coordination required to build optimum strength and performance.”
I can wholeheartedly say that first I was shocked at the cost of the UGI ball but now that I have experienced it and can see its full potential and I am a convert. I would say that if you only want to buy yourself one piece of fitness equipment, do yourself a favour and get a UGI ball!