Do you have a half deflated fitness ball gathering dust in your garage or spare room? Well clean it off and pump it up. These balls are not just for sitting on at a desk to improve posture or alleviate back pain.
Your fitness ball is the perfect tool for you to do a ‘well rounded’ workout that will strengthen and tone your whole body – especially the core and those smaller stabiliser muscles around each joint that are often forgotten.
By Rachel Livingstone Personal Trainer
Place the ball against the wall and lean against it so it fits in the curve between your middle and lower back. Place one foot forward and one foot back with your hands on your hips. Keeping a straight back bend your legs until both knees are at 90 degrees, then straighten them. Repeat 20 times then change legs. The ball will roll up and down your back during the movement helping you keep a good position, whilst you focus on working your bum and thighs!
From kneeling, roll forwards over the ball until your hands are on the ground in front of the ball, your legs on the ball and your feet in the air. Maintaining a straight line through your body and not letting the lower back sink, bend and straighten your elbows to perform push ups. The further forward over the ball you are, the harder it will be. Repeat 15 times. Not only does this work your chest, shoulders and triceps just like floor push ups, but you get an extra workout for your core!
Lay back over the ball so your middle back is resting on the ball, feet hip width apart on the floor. Place the hands across the chest or behind the head. Keeping the hips still, curl the upper half of the torso up about 40 degrees, breathing out. Then slowly lower to the start position. Repeat 15 times. While you focus on working your abs your bum and thighs are getting a bonus work out!
Lie on the ground on your back, place your feet on the ball with straight legs. Keep your arms out to the sides for balance. Lift the hips and pull the ball towards you by bending the knees. Straighten your knees to return the ball to the start position. Repeat 20 times. This exercise works on the often neglected hamstrings, as well as activating your core and the muscles that stabilise your pelvis!
Lie front ways over the ball so the ball is under your hips. Place your feet apart using your feet to anchor and keep you still. Place the arms out to the sides like an aeroplane. Keeping the back straight and not arching, raise your upper torso. Pause and squeeze the shoulder blades together. Then relax the shoulder blades and slowly lower your upper body to the start position. Repeat 15 times. The target muscles of this exercise are your upper, middle and lower back. But your core and leg muscles also work to hold your position!
Place the ball against the wall and lean against it so it fits in the curve between your middle and lower back. Place your feet a little wider than hip width apart and slightly forward. Keeping your back straight, imagine you are sitting back into a chair as you bend your knees to 90 degrees. Squeeze with your buttocks as you come back to straight. Repeat 20 times. The ball will roll up and down your back during the movement helping you keep a good posture whilst you focus on toning your legs and butt!
By Rachel Livingstone Personal Trainer & Owner of The Health Hub www.healthhub.net.au
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