You know that ball that you bought because it was the latest fitness rage? It wasn't too expensive, so you decided that was how you were going to get in shape.
Now it sits deflated in your garage or under a bed somewhere. Well, find it and get it out. It's one of the best pieces of fitness equipment out there! And if you don't like going to the gym, then it is even more important that you find that ball!
Most complaints I hear from people is they fall off, or it is too tough. One of the great things about the ball is that you can make it as easy or as hard as you need to. And that magic word 'core' that everyone talks about—it does wonderful things for your core.
The greatest thing about the ball is that it works a lot of different muscles, ones that you are not even aware of, in order to keep you on the ball. It is training these muscles that are unaware that is going to take your fitness to the next level. Most people shy away from the ball because they feel it is too hard, too hard to balance on but the truth is you can make it as easy or as challenging as you want. The more of your body that you put on the ball, the easier it will be. As you become more proficient you can begin to move some of your body off of the ball.
Below is a good combination of upper and lower body exercises that you can do on the ball at home. You can perform these exercises 3-4 times per week. In order to make it a complete workout you can add a minute of jumping jacks in between each exercise and then run through everything twice. This will give you a challenging whole body program for home.
- Hamstring curl on the ball – Start by lying on your back and placing both feet on the ball. Push your butt off the ground and then curl the ball towards you. You can make this more challenging by doing it with just one leg.
- Push-ups – The more of your stomach that is on the ball the easier this is. Eventually you want just your feet to be on the ball but this is usually not possible in the beginning so start with just your stomach or hips on the ball. The as time goes on slowly move so less of you is on the ball. One of the biggest mistakes people make is they roll out so that only their feet are on the ball but their backs are sagging in the middle. You must be able to keep you body in a straight line if your feet are going to be placed on the ball.
- Double knee to chest – Again start with as much of your body on the ball as you feel comfortable. Then bring the knees into the chest. If you have a hard time bringing the knees into the chest, just hold the plank position. Work your way up to moving the legs so the knees come into the chest.
- Planks – Walk out as far as you feel comfortable on the ball. The hardest position is just having your feet on the ball. Again, make sure that your back is straight and not sagging.
- Kicks on a ball – While it looks easy, this is one of the more challenging exercises. Start by lying on your back on the ball. Walk out so that just your shoulders are on the ball. If need be you can keep your back on the ball to make it easier. You should squeeze your abdominals and your gluteus muscles in order to keep you your body as flat as a table. You should start by lifting just one leg a little off the ground, then move to the full kick. Again, progress these as you get more comfortable.
Many people are looking for the next best thing when it comes to fitness. But when it comes to being in really good shape, it does not take a lot of equipment. You just need to use what you already have.