Exercising with gym balls

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013 | In Health | Tags: ,

Exercising with gym balls
~ Exercising with gym balls ~

Here are five awesome exercises you can do at home with a gym ball that will offer you a complete workout for your body. The gym ball is sometimes also referred to as a swiss ball or fitball, and is a versatile fitness tool that can be used at home. Costing not more that RM50, it can be purchased at any sports accessory shop and is even available in supermarkets.

The gym ball comes in various sizes. Generally, the rule of thumb is to have a ball that is a little higher than your knees when standing up. When you do sit on the ball, there should be a perfect right angle or a 90 degree angle between the shin bone and the thighs. The knees should sit right on top of the ankles.

There is an abundant of moves and exercises one can do with the gym ball. Here are the favorite five.

1. Gym ball pushups.
Method: Placing palms on opposite sides of the gym ball without slipping off, prop the body in a push up ready plank position. The legs should be shoulder width apart for stability. Drop the body with chest down close to the ball and push back into a straight arm plank position.

Regression: Place ball against the wall for support.

Advanced progression: Place feet on an elevated platform (chair perhaps) and/ or place each palm on separate balls.

Target muscles: Chest, upper back, shoulders, core, triceps. This exercise challenges your push up ability and core stability muscles of the upper body and shoulder girdle.

How many reps: Any effort above 10 repetitions would be good.

2. Hip raise leg curls.
Method: Lying on the ground belly up, place both calves on the gym ball with palms facing down by the side of the hips. The start position of the exercise is with the hips elevated to a point where the feet, hips and upper back is in a straight alignment. Digging the heels into the gym ball, bend your knees and draw the gym ball as close as you can towards your butt and reset back slowly.

Regression: Do a static hip raise hold.

Advanced progression: Do it with only one leg in similar movement where the other leg is elevated off the ball.

Target working muscles: Hamstring, gluteus, calves, lower back, core, inner thighs.

How many reps: 10 reps per set is good effort.

3. Gym ball crunch.
Method: From a seated position on the ball, walk forward until the ball is rolled to the lower back and your knees, hips and shoulders are in straight alignment parallel to the floor. Hug arms on the chest. Do a crunch by moving the shoulders and upper back upwards a few inches and back to position. If the gym ball is moving, you are doing it wrong.

Regression: Have your feet anchored by something or someone. You may also place your toes against the wall.

Advanced progression: Hold weights with either straight arms or on independent palms above chest.

Target working muscles: Rectus abdominals (the six pack muscles), lower back.

How many reps: As many as possible.

4. The pike.
Method: Assume a push up plank position where shins are on top of a gym ball. Fold the body by lifting the butt high until upper body goes into a handstand where toes will be balanced tiptoed on the gym ball.

Regression: Perform a jackknife. From the same start position, draw knees into a bend close towards the elbow.

Advanced progression: Alternative single leg pike. Perform the pike with a single leg suspended off the ball.

Target working muscles: Rectus abdominals (the six pack muscles), trunk core, lower back.

How many reps: Aim to perform sets of 10 reps or more.

5. The gym ball balance.
Method: Have your entire body balanced in a kneeling position with both palms and knees on the ball. Start in a keeling position with one foot supported on the ground and slowly work your way into a full balance.

Regression: Perform this with a start of either palms on the ball or knees on the ball. Aim to reduce movement of the gym ball while executing movement.

Advanced progression: Perform the bird dog. Move opposites (right arm, left leg) of arm forward and leg straight backwards, while staying balanced on the ball. Repeat opposite arm and leg.

Targeted working muscles: Trunk and body core stability muscles.

Reps to perform: Any hold above two minutes is good.

Have fun with the gym ball. Let’s be fit!

Information via theSuns Newspaper.


 



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