When doing workout routines, people always look for the most innovative, dynamic, effective and safest ones to do on a daily basis or several times a week. If you’re looking for something to shake things up in your workouts, the exercise ball is the perfect tool. Keep reading to find out how to pick the right one, how it can help, and what exercises will help you tone all of your body.
Picking the Right Ball Size for Your Body
Before you get started on the exercise ball routine, it’s important to notice that you can’t use any type of fitness ball. These tools can be picked in different sizes, so they really help you tone your body and you don’t hurt yourself exercising. The size of the ball is determined by your height, so when you’re seated your feet must be flat on the ground and the knees should be at level or lower than the pelvis. Although weight is not a factor, if the ball is compressed too much while you sit, you might want to pick a bigger ball.
How can the Exercise Ball Help Tone Your Body?
A stability ball is the perfect tool for people who want to exercise and tone their bodies in a fun and new way that doesn’t compromise their health. It’s perfect for people who have certain spine problems and physical limitations. Exercise balls can help you stretch and tone abs, legs, back, glutes and even arms. The cool thing about the stability ball is that you can perform a full workout with it or you can use it to complement with other tools such as dumbbells.
The Best Moves With an Exercise Ball
Push-ups Over the Ball
Climb on the ball with your chest pressed against it, then move forward with your hands so the ball is sitting underneath your legs. Make sure your back is completely straight and your hands don’t pass your shoulders. Now you can start doing push-ups like you regularly would. Doing push-ups over a ball not only strengthens your core, it also helps you improve your stability.
Straight Legs Raise
The straight leg raise is a good exercise for those who want to tone their abs and legs in a low-impact manner. Lie on your back over a yoga mat with your legs straight and place your heels over the exercise ball. Press your feet and raise your hips, creating a straight line with your whole body. Lift one of your legs completely straight towards the ceiling, then lower it and change sides.
Lower Body Twist
The lower body twist is a great exercise practiced regularly in Pilates and similar fitness routines. It helps you strengthen the lower abs, your shoulders and even your hip muscles. To perform a lower body twist, get on the exercise ball with your chest pressed against it, and move forward until your feet are the only thing touching the ball. Position your arms so they’re completely straight and in line with your shoulders. Tilt your hip to one side and twist the lower side of your body without lifting your hands from the ground or losing balance. Then do the same thing on your opposite side.
Supine Bridges Over the Ball (Hamstring Curl)
Supine bridges are an excellent exercise to tone your glutes, legs and lower abs. Lay down on a yoga mat to protect your back and place your feet up on the ball, close to your glutes. Your arms rest straight on your sides and your back needs to be aligned. Press your feet against the exercise ball and slowly elevate your back, trying to lift it one vertebra at a time until only your arms, shoulders and head are on the floor. Following the same order, you lower your back until your glutes touch the ground. To crank it up a notch you can move the ball forward and backwards with your feet when your back is lifted.
Crunches on the Exercise Ball
Whoever’s done crunches knows they are a very effective fitness movement, yet a difficult one to do correctly. If you love crunches and want to keep toning your abs, using an exercise ball might help you. Start by sitting on the exercise ball completely straight and with your feet well planted on the floor. Slowly take a few steps forward while sitting, so you’ll be sliding off the ball. Stop when your lower back is resting on the ball and place your hands on the back of your head. Keeping your elbows open and your feet firm start doing crunches over the ball.
Lunges performed correctly can help you tone your hamstrings, glutes and even your abs. For a new way of doing lunges you can turn to an exercise ball. Get in position for doing a regular lunge (legs straight, feet firm, arms over your hips or lifted at a 90º angle in front of you), but instead of doing a lunge, you’ll lift one leg and place it over the ball right behind you. Keep in mind that when you do each lunge, the leg that’s on the ball will roll and move around, so you’ll have to exercise even more by trying to keep your balance.
An exercise ball is also a great tool to strengthen your back, legs and glutes. Press your chest against the ball, facing the ground. Extend your legs and place firmly the balls of your feet on the ground. Lastly, place your hands on the back of your head. While you control your core and balance, lift your upper body while you squeeze the muscles of your back. Make sure to do it slowly to avoid straining your back.
Leg Sitting Balance
This exercise is perfect for people who want to get in shape but don’t have a great physical condition yet. With the leg sitting balance you can strengthen your core and your legs in a way that doesn’t put your lower back under a lot of stress, which also makes it perfect for people with certain back problems. Start by sitting on the ball with your back completely straight, and make sure you’re wearing sneakers or you’re over a yoga mat so your feet can have friction with the ground. Place your arms on your sides touching the ball for support and slowly lift one of your legs, keeping it completely straight. Hold this position for a few seconds and then change legs.
As you can see, there are many exercises that can be performed or even improved by adding an exercise ball to your routine. Make sure to study all exercises before performing them and keep in mind any physical limitations so you don’t end up hurting yourself. In a few weeks of doing some basic fitness ball movements you’ll notice the shape of your body changing for the better.