Health & Medical Fitness & bodybuilding

Ball Exercise Programs

    Stability Ball

    • The stability ball is also known as the Swiss ball and is often used in exercise programs. Using a stability ball for core work can improve the strength of the abdominal muscles and help improve balance. Abdominal crunches are a popular exercise on the stability ball. Perform this move by sitting on top of the stability ball and place your hands on your knees or behind your head. Take a moment to get your balance and lean backwards until you feel a stretch in your abdominal muscles. Raise your body up until you feel the muscles in your abdomen working. Repeat the move for three sets of 10 repetitions. Leg lifts are another exercise that can be performed using a stability ball. Lie down on your back on an exercise mat. Place the ball between your ankles and raise your legs until they are straight and the soles of your feet are pointed toward the ceiling. Raise your head off of the floor slightly and place your hands at your sides on the floor for balance. Slowly lower the ball as far as you can and raise it back up to the starting position. You should feel your lower abdominal muscles working. Repeat for three sets of 10 repetitions. More advanced moves such as the superman are also done on the stability ball; however, this is a move that requires good balance. Lie on your stomach on the ball, place your hips at the center of the ball. Once you have your balance, raise your arms and legs simultaneously to perform the superman move. Hold for a count of three and return to the starting position. Complete three sets of 10 repetitions for optimal benefits.

    Medicine Ball

    • The medicine ball is a smaller- to medium-sized ball that comes in a variety of weights. Adding medicine balls to your exercise program has many benefits, such as an increased metabolic rate, an increased work capacity and an increase in muscle coordination. Many athletes use the medicine ball during their warm-up before their actual exercise program to reduce the chance of injuries. Using a medicine ball while working with a partner breaks up the exercise monotony. Stand with your back to your partner and turn to the right side. Pass the medicine ball to your partner and turn to your left side. Your partner then passes you the ball from the back. Continue to pass the ball. Work as quickly as you can for 3 to 5 minutes. Wood-choppers are another good medicine ball exercise that works the quadriceps muscles. Raise a medicine ball of medium weight above your head. Bending your knees to a squatting position, lower the ball. Quickly raise the ball back over your head and repeat for three sets of 10 repetitions. Modify the wood-chopper to the forward position and swing the ball between your legs before raising your arms back to the starting position. This really raises the heart rate and makes you sweat.

    BOSU Ball

    • The BOSU ball is an exceptional workout tool. "BOSU" stands for "both sides utilized." BOSU balls are good training tools when you want to improve your balance, because the ball forces your body to use your core muscles to stabilize while exercising with the ball. Before attempting BOSU ball exercises, become acquainted with the feel of the ball before exercising on it. This will reduce your chance of injuries. Place the BOSU ball on the floor and stand on the bubble side of the ball. Place your feet as wide as you can on the top of the ball and slowly lower your body into a squat. Push back up with a slow, controlled motion. Perform three sets of 10 repetitions of this exercise. Once this move becomes too easy, add dumbbells in an appropriate weight for extra resistance. Push-ups can be performed on the BOSU ball; however, good balance is a requirement for this exercise. Place the ball on the floor with the bubble side down. Put your hands on the outside edges of the platform and be sure they are under your shoulders. Make sure your back stays flat throughout the entire move, and tighten your abdominal muscles with each repetition. Lower your body until your chest is close to the platform and push back up to the starting position. Perform as many repetitions as you can until you reach failure. Failure is when another repetition is physically impossible. Rest and repeat for two more sets until you reach failure again.

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