Whether you call them a stability ball, swiss ball, or exercise ball, there are so many great benefits to exercising with a stability ball in your home workouts.
Stability Ball Benefits
Besides providing balance training, (an often overlooked component in most exercise programs) stability balls work your core in almost every exercise that is performed, and work multiple muscles at one time while forcing your body to balance itself. So your core will be better prepared to support the rest of your body in whatever activity you do. They are versatile too:
1. The ball can be used at home or at your gym.
2. All ages, and levels of fitness can benefit from stability ball training.
3. An exercise ball is portable and light weight.
4. An exercise ball is inexpensive.
5. Requires little if any maintenance.
Stability Ball Workout Tips
Use your exercise ball for a total body workout. You can work your legs, arms, chest, back, and abdominals. Try some of these in your stability ball training:
Supine Oblique Curl
Start with the top of the ball beneath the center of the back, then stagger your feet and turn hips to one side. Anchor the lower hip to the ball and move the rib cage at a diagonal direction toward the legs (for example, right elbow to left inner thigh). Make sure your neck and pelvis are stable.
Forward Transverse Roll
Kneel on the floor and place your forearms on the ball, making sure your hips and arms form a 90 degree angle. From this starting position, roll the ball forward as you extend your arms and legs simultaneously. Contract your abdominals to help support your lower back, which should not be strained. Roll as far forward as possible without compressing the spine, drooping the shoulders, or rounding the torso. Return to starting position.
Lie across the ball with your head and shoulders supported on the ball and your legs bent with heals about two feet from ball. Extend arms overhead with palms facing each other. Slowly separate your arms in a circular motion and bend your elbows slightly as lower your arms down until your upper arms are parallel to the ground. Return to start position and repeat.
Lean your back against a ball that is placed against the wall and stand with your feet hip-width apart and about a foot away from the wall. Keep your back straight. Bend your knees and let the ball roll up your back until your knees bend to about a 90 degree angle. Keep your knees behind your toes as you bend. Return to start position and repeat.
Kneel over the ball. Tuck your hips into the ball and rest your abs against it. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, with your arms relaxed and at the sides of the ball, palms facing back. Pull your shoulder blades back. Pull your arms up, bending at your elbows to form right angles until they are parallel with your shoulders. Return to the starting postion.
Don't Forget to Stretch
The American Council on Exercise suggests the following simple yet effective stretches on the ball:
Back Extension - Start in a seated position with your fingertips supporting the back of your head both your elbows out. Walk your feet out until your upper back is lying on the ball while continuing to support your head and back. For a more intense stretch, lengthen your arms overhead and straighten your legs - breathe deeply and hold the stretch.
Kneeling Side - Start by kneeling upright on a mat with the ball at the side of your right hip, place your right hand on the ball and your left arm hanging close to your torso. Sweep your left arm in a wide arc up and over your head and back to the starting position. Hold the final arc in a lifted position 10-30 seconds for a static stretch and repeat three to five times.
Pelvic Circles - Start in a seated base position. Slowly circle your hips clockwise three to five times; reverse, circling counterclockwise. Focus on releasing tension in the hips and lower back.
You can't go wrong with such a versatile and inexpensive piece of equipment. If you are looking for a simple and highly effective way to change a workout routine, look into doing your exercise on a stability ball.
The information contained in this article is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended to provide medical advice. If you are sedentary or over 40 please get clearance from a doctor before starting an exercise program.
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Rick DeToma is a fitness coach, and trainer who specializes in home workouts. Contact Rick for a no obligation telephone fitness assessment at:
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