Fitness balls have become a popular part of exercise routines as trainers look for ways to revitalise the mundane. A simple and fun way to vary your routine, medicine, bosu and Swiss balls can target and tone your core, promote good posture and help build balance and stability.
Searle Choudree, personal trainer at Sydney’s Virgin Active Health Club, says fitness balls allow you to challenge yourself. “The Swiss ball will add instability and stability to your workout. A medicine ball is perfect for adding weight, which then benefits muscle because you’re fatiguing and strengthening, and the bosu will add instability, helping you work on balance.”
Use these three simple workouts to improve balance, tone your legs and strengthen your midsection. With each, start off with two sets of 15 reps, gradually building up to three sets. Once that gets easier, use a heavier medicine ball or add weights like dumbbells to your exercises where possible. Remember to always warm up with static and dynamic stretches.
A bosu is just like a fi tness ball cut in half, with a stable and unstable side. The ball is superversatile, working the core and fi ne-tuning your balance. Your body will be constantly shifting and muscles contracting to stay aligned. This helps burn more kilojoules, and enhances coordination and balance. “If you have one foot on the bosu when you’re performing a static lunge or a step-up, that instability allows you to recruit more muscle fi bres, and ensure you become more stable when you’re doing a grounded exercise,” says Choudree.
1. Place the bosu on the ground in front of you with the dome side facing up.
2. Step up to the centre of the ball; hold that position for fi ve seconds, paying extra attention to your posture so that you’re not wobbling on one side.
3. Step back down and repeat. CHALLENGE: Once you master three straight sets of step ups, speed up the process. Run up and back down while working out your arms with a set of dumbbells.
A fitness ball increases the intensity of a workout, while allowing you to work on your posture. “The ball provides a greater range of motion by raising you higher than you would be on the fl oor,” says Catherine Wall from Melbourne’s Wall2Wall fi tness. “Balancing on the ball requires regular adjustments from a number of muscles to keep you stabilised.”
1. Stand with your back to a smooth-surfaced wall, with the ball between your lower back and wall.
2. Ensure your core is engaged by slowly drawing your belly button in away from the belt line. While maintaining a long back, roll the ball down the wall until you form a squat position, with your bottom sitting behind your knees as though you were sitting on a chair. (Make sure you can still look down and see the top toes when in squat position.)
3. Slowly roll your body up into the starting position and repeat.
Tip: If it’s painful, only go down as far as it feels comfortable.
“A medicine ball (a weighted, rubber ball about the size of a basketball) works well with functional movement exercises, which cover a range of movement patterns and muscles at one time,” says Wall.
“The ball allows you to move forwards, backwards, side to side, up and down. You can toss them, bounce them, roll them and can perform many traditional freeweight exercises with them.
“It’s recommended that beginners start with a 2kg ball, then slowly increase the weight as they progress.”
1. Stand with feet hip width apart.
2. Take one step back with your left leg, standing on the ball of the foot. Feet should be positioned in a split stance, chest proud, standing straight in a neutral position.
3. Hold medicine ball in front of your chest. Lower the body by bending at hip and knee until the thigh of your front leg is parallel to floor, and the knee of the rear leg is a fraction above the floor.
4. While lunging, reach to one side of the leg with the ball.
5. Return to start position and repeat on opposite side.
Variation: Alternate legs every time you alternate the medicine ball.
Challenge: Increase the weight of the medicine ball.
Post A Comment