Exercise Ball

Hello friends!  It is time for another fitness post!  I want to do at least one fitness post a month.  True health comes from eating well and exercising the body.  The last fitness post I did was a general cardio post.  We talked about the benefits of cardio and what differences there are in various types of cardio — I love cardio (for me, no workout is complete without it).  Today we are going to talk about strength training.  More specifically strength training with an exercise ball:-)

An exercise ball is a must have — in my book anyway:-).  They are fabulous for balance and core strength.  The key areas it helps you target are your abdominals and your lower back- however there are definitely ways to work your arms and legs as well!  Why is it so important to work on your core?  Having a strong core helps with just about every activity you could want or have to do.  Having greater balance and core strength will help in other sports, outdoor recreation, taking care of crazy munchkins and everyday household activities.  An exercise ball is a great way to work on strengthening that core.  Every gym should have some you can use or if you workout at home it is an affordable piece of equipment that will last for many many years to come.  The average price that I have found online is $20-40.

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Now that we have talked about the benefits of an exercise ball, we should focus on what is really important — what to do with it:-) Here are just a few of the exercises you can do:

Sit up: Place your back on the ball and plant your feet on the ground.  The round contours of the ball will increase the intensity of your sit-ups.

Push up: Begin in plank position with the ball under your legs.  The closer the ball is to your hips the easier your push-ups will be.  Move the ball closer to your feet in order to make the move more difficult.  This will take greater balance and core control.

Tricep dips:  Sit on a chair or bench; place your hands on the edge with your fingers facing you.  Extend your legs straight out in front of you with your feet on the ball, lift yourself off the chair and bend your elbows behind you lowering your buttocks towards the floor and then push yourself back up until your elbows are straight.

One-legged squat: Stand on one leg, place the top of your other foot on the exercise ball behind you, on your straight leg lower yourself into a squat position extending the leg behind you pushing the ball farther back.  Return to a standing position pulling the ball to its starting position.

Ball Jackknife: Begin in plank position with your feet balancing on the ball, using your abs draw your legs towards you pulling the ball closer to your body, extend legs pushing the ball back out as your legs straighten.

Leg curl: Lie on your back, grip the ball under your legs (it will be touching your calves and hamstrings), draw your knees towards your chest drawing the ball off the floor, lower your legs placing the ball on the floor again.  ** If you want to work your abs a little more… once you have crunched your knees towards your chest lift your feet towards the ceiling lifting your lower back off the floor.

Rear deltoid row: Place your chest/abdomen on the ball with your feet on the ground behind you, grab a dumbbell or weight in each hand and bend your elbows raising the weights off the ground towards your body.

Ab Rollout: Kneel on the ground, place your hands on the ball on front of you (I like to clasp my hands together) with your arms extended and your back straight, roll the ball out until your upper arms are against it, pull the ball back to your starting position.  Keep your arms and back straight the entire time.

Ball Hyperextension: Place the ball under your hips/lower abdomen with your legs out behind you (I like to press my feet against something stable like the couch or a wall), hang your upper body over the ball with your head towards the floor, straighten your back lifting yourself up off the ball as much as you can, lower yourself back onto the ball.

Ball squeeze: Lie on your back with your feet up towards the ceiling, hold the ball on your chest, toss the ball towards your legs/feet catching it between your feet, squeeze your legs towards one another, drop the ball back into your hands.  You can also hold the ball between your legs/feet and quickly squeeze and relax squeeze and relax.

 

Like I said, these are just a few of the exercises out there, but it should help you build your friendship with your exercise ball:-) Truth be told, I have been neglecting mine lately… something I plan to remedy.  I’ll share my experience if you do:-)  Have a great rest of your day and good luck with your fitness aspirations this week!

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