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3 Ways to Use Exercise Balls – Besides Crunches!

Exercise balls offer a great deal more than simply postural work while sitting and crunches for tight abs.

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Exercise balls offer increased results because they decrease our stability while working. When we are balancing on the ball, we must first maintain our balance – then perform the movements we are working on. Many people find that sitting on an exercise ball rather than an office chair offers an abdominal workout because it destabilizes us, forcing the core muscles to work more.

Here are 3 other great exercises that can be done to increase your overall strength and performance:

  1. Push-Ups: Doing push-ups can be made more challenging by placing your feet or shins on an exercise ball. Once your legs are on the ball, proceed to do push-ups as you normally would. While keeping your body in a straight line, place hands shoulder width apart and keep your core tight. Be sure to go all the way to the floor and all the way back up. If this is too difficult, try maintaining a plank position while your legs are on the ball and work your way up to push-ups. Repeat 10 times.
  2. Abs Jackknife: Place your lower legs on the ball a little higher than with push-ups, with the ball just below your knees. Begin with your hands shoulder width apart, maintaining a straight body. Contract your lower abs, jackknifing your legs, moving your behind toward the ceiling, rolling the ball down your legs toward your feet; then with controlled motion, roll the ball back up toward your knees as you lower back into a plank position. Repeat 10 times.
  3. Wall Crawl: Stand with feet shoulder width apart and place the ball behind your mid to lower spine against the wall. Continue to hold the pressure on the ball, keeping it against your back as you drop into a squat and stand up again. Be sure to just break the parallel line between your knees and hips on each squat. Repeat 10 times.

There are many exercises that can be done with an exercise ball, and the ball can make many things more challenging. This is a great, relatively inexpensive way to boost your performance and see fast results.

Bender Birch, B. (1995). Power Yoga: A total strength and flexibility workout. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

Budilovsky, J.; Adamson, E. (1998). The complete idiot’s guide to yoga. New York, NY: Alpha Books.

Pohlman, J; Searle, R. (2007). 3 in 1 Ball: The complete collection. Heatherton, VIC, Australia: Hinkler Books, Pty. Ltd.

Shaw, B. (2009). YogaFit: The program for a more powerful, flexible, and defined physique. Second Edition. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

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