Easy Exercise-Ball Workout
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Have a Ball!
The secret to getting more physical activity in your daily routine is finding workouts and exercises that you enjoy doing and that fit your lifestyle. This fun and easy exercise-ball (or stability-ball) workout is an inexpensive and convenient way to target your core, increase your heart rate, and tone your body while building strength and balance and boosting energy.
Bouncing On the Ball
Target: Works core, quads, glutes, and hamstrings
Time: 1-2 minutes
Sit tall on the ball with your navel pulled in toward your spine, shoulders relaxed over hips, and your arms relaxed by your sides. Place feet hip-width apart, knees aligned over ankles. Press your feet firmly on the ground as you lift your body slightly, then return to the starting position, in a bouncing motion. Start slowly, and as you feel more comfortable, quicken your pace.
Target: Increases the heart rate and works abs, quads, glutes, and hamstrings
Time: 1-2 minutes
a. Sit tall on the ball, navel pulled in toward spine, shoulders relaxed and over hips, arms relaxed by your sides. Place feet hip-width apart, knees over ankles.
b. Press down through the heels as you straighten both legs, rolling the ball backward; then press down on the heels as you bend the knees and pull yourself back to the starting position. Start slowly, and as you get used to the motion, quicken the pace.
Target: Strengthens inner thighs and core
Sit tall on the front edge of a chair with the ball between your knees. Keep your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, with knees aligned over the ankles. Squeeze your knees together, making sure your core is engaged, then lean back 1-2 inches. Return to the starting position and release the ball, keeping it between the knees. Repeat.
Target: Strengthens abs, glutes, and hamstrings
a. Place the ball against a wall. Sit with your shoulders relaxed over hips, arms extended in front at shoulder height. Keep your feet hip-width apart and knees aligned over the ankles. Press your heels into the ground and lift yourself off the ball, but don't stand all the way up.
b. Slowly sit back down and repeat.
Standing Chest Press
Target: Chest, back, shoulders, and biceps
Stand tall, navel pulled in toward spine, feet hip-width apart, and shoulders relaxed. Hold the ball at chest height with elbows bent wide, fingers facing forward. Contract the chest and back muscles as you press both palms, squeezing the ball, and release.
Side Leg Raise
Target: Tightens obliques and outer thighs
a. Lie on your left side with the ball under your left armpit, left knee bent and on the ground with your hips aligned vertically.
b. Press your left hip into the ball as you raise your right leg to hip height, keeping it straight. Using controlled movements, lower the right leg down. Complete reps and repeat on other side.
Kneeling Triceps Press
Target: Tones triceps, biceps, and chest
Place the ball against a wall. Kneel facing the ball, with hands shoulder-width apart. Rest your palms flat on the top third of the ball with arms fully extended. Bend your elbows, keeping them tight to your sides as you lower your chest to the ball, and slowly press back to the starting position.
Target: Strengthens abs and inner and outer thighs
Time: 1-2 minutes
a. Sit tall on top of the ball with your shoulders over hips, arms straight out in front of you at shoulder height, and feet wider than hip-width apart.
b. Keeping your butt on the ball, press through the right heel as you straighten the right leg and roll the ball to the left. Next, press through the left heel as you straighten the left leg and roll the ball to the right. Keep alternating from left to right.
Use for Everyday Activities
Once you get comfortable with the ball, try incorporating it into your everyday activities, such as sitting on it while you are at the computer, eating at the dinner table, or reading a book. The instability of the ball forces your body to recruit deep stabilizing muscles that will help improve posture and range of motion. The exercise ball is a fun, affordable piece of exercise equipment that should be in every household.