Stability Ball Workout

05/20/2011 - Amy Eisenson

A lot of people have an exercise ball at home and don’t know all the possibilities the ball holds other than sit-ups. Below are some basic exercises that can be done on a stability (exercise) ball.

 

SB Shoulder Bridge

 

Starting Position:Lie on your back on a mat, placing the backs of your lower legs and heels on the top of a stability ball. Position your feet hip-width apart on the ball. Gently contract your abdominal/core muscles to flatten your low back into the floor. Attempt to maintain this gentle muscle contraction throughout the exercise. Extend your arms out to your sides with palms turned to the floor to help stabilize your body during the exercise.

Upward Phase:Gently exhale while holding your abdominal contraction and press your hips upwards off the floor into extension by contracting your glutes (butt muscles). At the same time press the backs of your lower legs and heels into the ball for additional stability. Avoid pushing your hips too high as this generally increases the amount of hyperextension (arching) in your low back. Maintaining your abdominal contraction helps avoid excessive arching in your low back. Continue to press upwards until your torso and legs are parallel with each other.

Step 3: Lowering Phase: Inhale and slowly lower yourself back towards your starting position. Repeat 12-15 times for 2 sets.

Exercise Variation (1): To further increase the balance challenge, move your feet closer together on the stability ball.

Exercise Variation (2): To further increase the balance challenge, move your arms towards your side or place them on your chest to reduce your stabilizing points of contact with the floor.

Exercise Variation (3): To further increase the balance challenge, raise one leg off the ball in the up position.

Avoid arching your lower back as your press your hips upward which normally occurs if your attempt to push your hips as high as possible. This can be achieved by contracting your abdominal muscles prior to lifting, and keeping them engaged throughout the lift.

 

SB Reverse Extensions

 

Starting Position: Lie on your stomach over the top of a properly-inflated stability ball (one that compresses approximately 6" under your body weight) with both feet and hands on the floor, hip- and shoulder-width apart.

Step 2

Upward Phase: Gently exhale, contract your abdominal/core muscles to stiffen your torso and slowly walk yourself forward until your hips lie directly over the top of the ball, lifting both legs in unison off the floor until they are parallel with your torso. In this position, your body weight is distributed over the ball and supported by both hands placed on the floor. Press and hold your legs together so they move at the same time. Think about squeezing a quarter between your knees to help maintain the position.

Step 3

Lowering Phase: Inhale and slowly lower both legs in unison back towards the floor while keeping them fully extended. Repeat 12-15 times, for 2 sets.

 

SB Walk Out Planks

 

 

Step 1

Starting Position: Lie on your stomach over the top of a stability ball with both feet and hands on the floor, hip- and shoulder-width apart.

Step 2

Gently exhale, contract your abdominal/core muscles to stiffen your torso and slowly walk yourself forward, lifting your legs off the floor. Continue walking out until your toes, rest on the top of the ball. Maintain a rigid torso aligned parallel with your legs. Retract and depress your scapulae (pull your shoulder back and down) as your reach your end position, with your arms fully extended and hands positioned directly under your shoulders. Hold this position for at least 30 seconds. Walk yourself back until the ball is under your abdomen. Repeat 5-8 times, holding each for 30 seconds.
 

 

Pictures and descriptions provided by ACE Fitness, www.acefitness.com


 

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