Incorporating a stability ball into your workouts is an easy way to challenge even the most basic exercise. Whether you're lying on a stability ball or simply holding it, you'll quickly find how much harder your body has to work — especially when it comes to ab exercises! Just in time for the oncoming bikini season, we're taking you through a series of ab exercises that really focus on strengthening and toning your entire core. Hit play and get ready to feel the burn!
Physio ball, exercise ball, stability ball, fitness ball — whatever you call it, we think a ball is must have for just about everyone. A stability ball can be used in the office and the gym — with a ball, basic exercises like sit-ups or push-up become much more challenging and effective. If you're new to this piece of fitness equipment, here are some details you should know.
Sizing and Sitting
You need to buy the correct size ball for your height. The diameter of the ball makes all the difference — size does matter. If you are close to the cut off point between sizes, try testing out both sizes and see which works best for you. Here are basic guidelines to follow:
4'11" to 5'4" height: 55 cm ball
5'4" to 5'11" height: 65 cm ball
5'11" to 6' 7" height: 75 cm ball
An exercise ball, when size properly, makes for an active chair when sitting at a desk. You should be able to sit with your knees at a right angle and your thighs parallel to the ground. Aside from keeping your core engaged, replacing your seat with a ball will help your posture. Celeb trainer David Kirsch endorses the switch! If you still need convincing, here are more reasons to swap your chair for a ball.
You can also use the ball, to replace a weight bench for exercises like pec flies or skull crushers. Simply, lie with the ball supporting your upper back and head, and work your arms while stabilizing your unsupported core with your abs, glutes, and legs. Using the ball as a bench replacement, transforms these upper-body moves into full-body exercises. Here's step-by-step instructionsto work your triceps lying on the ball.
The exercises you can do with one of these stability balls is practically endless.We have created a full-body ball workout. So grab your stability ball try moves like hamstring curls to tone your backside and planks on the ball, which will tone just about everything. You can also use the ball as a tool to focus on a certain muscle groups, like the abs. Watch this video of five ab exercises you can do using a ball, including tips on how to take sit-ups on the ball to the next level.
Yoga and Stretching
An exercise ball can work as a yoga prop to deepen stretches or support your body in difficult poses. A ball is the perfect prop to help you master tricky yoga poses like Scorpion. If this is a pose you are working, learn how to use the ball with this video. If stretching is more your scene, lengthen the front of your body by reclining with your back on the ball. This spinal stretch is great after a long bike ride or a long day hunched over your computer.
You may think it's all fun and games sitting on a stability ball while you work, but you should implement these important guidelines to help protect yourself from accidental injury. While the stability ball has its advantages, you should avoid using one if you have an acute back injury, especially if your quadratus lumborum, the major back muscle that runs from your 12th rib to the top of your pelvis, is compromised. The ball offers no back support, forcing you to heavily depend on the QL for support. If you notice any sharp or discomforting pain, forgo the ball for an ergonomic chair.
Five Rules For Proper Stability Ball Usage:
- Right size: Buy a ball that is intended for your height. Inflate the ball enough so that when you sit down, your legs create a 90 degree angle, at both the hip and knee, and your entire forearm can rest easily on your desk when typing.
- Wide stance: Place your feet flat on the floor about six inches from the ball. Open your legs to about the ball's width (wider than hip distance). You'll notice that if you place your feet closer together, your hip flexors will tighten up, and that lower back pain will creep up.
The following post was written by New York-based trainer David Kirsch.Has your job become a "desk sentence?" With deadlines, big projects, and upcoming presentations, fitting in exercise can be challenging — especially when you are trapped within a small cubicle from 9-5. But that's no excuse! All you working moms, busy executives, and career-focused professionals: if you have a commitment to wellness, you can make time for daily exercise even at work!
One of my clients recently read a New York Times article about using a stability ball as a chair and was curious of my take on it . . .
Using a stability ball as a chair is a great way to engage your core muscles all day long. It's also a constant reminder to exercise. Here are some other moves you can do when you are having some downtime in the office . . .
- Take a break from typing and do an upper body workout. Alternate between 10 push-ups and 10 dips on the stability ball. You'll feel the burn.
- It's crunch-time! Literally. Take 5 minutes to work your abs/core and love handles if you've got them.
- Tired of sitting? Get off your butt and do some single-leg squats! Repeat 10 to 15 times.
So trade in your chair for a stability ball!
For more complete office workouts, check out The Ultimate New York Diet.
Want more on Kirsching the Office? Check out my blog and learn how to make your desk a wellness zone.
Here are the details on the four stability ball exercises mentioned above:
For more tips, be sure to check out all of David's posts here on FitSugar.
You love Jessica Biel; we know that. I mean, for three years running she's been voted the fittest female celebrity by you, our readers. It's easy to see why. Jessica always looks toned, slim, and strong. We already know how Jessica keeps her arms in shape, and now we know how she works those abs. Trainer Ramona Braganza shared with Us Magazine the details of how she kept Jessica in shape while filming the A-Team: "Jessica is in great shape. She maintains her body and doesn't necessarily have to train every day." Check out some of the exercises Braganza did with Jessica to work those abs. Added bonus: they're easy enough to do in your own home!
We all know and love traditional stability balls but do you find it really annoying that they never stay put? Balls are always rolling all over the place at my gym -- It's so frustrating!
The Ballast Ball ($59.95, includes foot pump and workout DVD) is a weighted stability ball that stays where you put it. This ball makes it possible to perform new exercises and allows for better execution of a wide variety of seated, lying, side-lying and traveling exercises involving dumbbells, kettlebells, cable pulley systems and medicine balls. What's even more? The ball stacks easily, which means no more chasing them around the gym. Other than using the ball as a chair or bench, you can also perform throwing, receiving, lifting and shifting drills in another manner than using just weighted medicine balls.
I love doing circuits with the stability ball but it's a real pain to have to go find the ball after using it, with the BOSO Ballast Ball, this is no longer an issue. Also, I don't know about you but exercise balls are not typically part of my decor at home (despite my love for fitness), so I get totally frustrated when my stability ball rolls itself all over my house. If you have a home gym, I highly recommend the ballast ball because it stays where you put it. Buy one from Bosu.com.