When most people think of using a stability ball as part of a workout, they usually think to use it for abdominal crunches, or sit-ups. While those are great, and engage your core a lot more then traditional crunches on the floor, the stability ball can be used in so many other ways to provide an intense workout where you will learn how to use and build your core. The ball is great for unilateral work where you can strengthen one side of the body at a time, and is a great tool to see where your weaknesses may be from one side of your body compared to the other. Make sure that you choose a ball size that is right for you according to your height. The build up of core strength that you will get from using the ball will allow you to maintain a better posture, decrease low back pain, and make other work outs that you do more efficient. If you are under 5 feet 6 inches, the 55 centimeter size should suffice. Any taller than that and you will want to default to a 65 centimeter size ball. Here are some ideas of how you can add using a stability ball into your workout. Remember to take your time with these moves and be patient with yourself.
1) Single Leg Lunge: Start on left leg by placing left foot on the ground in front of the ball. Next take the right leg and place onto the ball behind you with the shin and foot on the ball. Begin movement by bending the left leg in front while allowing the right shin and foot to push the ball back in space. Try doing ten on each side.
2) Single Leg Bridge: Start laying on your back on the floor with both soles of the feet placed on the ball in the center with your knees bent. Lift the hips away from the ground while keeping the knees bent. Take your left leg off the ball and straighten it towards the ceiling and hold for a breath. Bring the leg back onto the ball and then switch sides. Try five with each leg, and you could also add in pulses where you keep the leg extended towards the ceiling as you lift and lower the hips down and up an inch.
3) Bend and Press: Start in a “push -up” position with the tops of both feet on the ball with legs glued together, and hands on the ground shoulder width distance apart. Move the ball towards your head by bending the knees and keeping the hips level toward the ground, then press the ball back to the starting position. Repeat motion ten times total. To change it up, try doing one set really slow, and then another set at a faster pace!
*** Stay tuned for more exercises involving the stability ball!***