Roll Your Way to Fitness
Out of all the exercise equipment, the gym ball (or stability ball) is probably the least intimidating. A no-frills, simple-to-use item, the gym ball has been a staple in many gyms and homes in recent years.
Benefits of a Gym Ball
Using a gym ball can be tricky, and the most obvious and biggest benefit is that you get to practice or improve your balance.
In a world that increasingly promotes a lifestyle glued to our desks, getting some sort of physical activity is crucial. The gym ball helps improve mobility (the ability to move freely) and stability (maintaining proper posture).
Aside from these, you can easily purchase one and do a quick workout when you’re pressed for time and you can’t come visit your favourite Rec Xpress Fitness Centre.
Warming Up with a Gym Ball
As with any exercise, it is important to warm up.
Get your body in the mood by doing five minutes of stretching. Awesome stretches include knee hugs, inner thigh stretches, walk out planks, and arm rotations.
Include the gym ball in your warm up routine. Here’s how to do it:
Hold the ball in front of you. Stand with your feet slightly hip-width apart. Lower yourself as if you are going to do a squat. Tap the ball slightly on the floor. Stand up, keep your ab muscles tight, and raise the ball above your head. Do this 20 times and you’ve got yourself a heart-pumping warm up that you can include in any of your workout routines.
Pro tip: do the following exercises in as many reps as you possibly can within the recommended time frame (30 seconds). Your aim is to give yourself as little rest as possible in between exercises.
1. Atlas Squat
Here’s an alternative to the usual traditional squat. By adding the gym ball, your core gets more of a workout.
Begin by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Hold the gym ball above your head, with your arms stretched out. Lower into a squat, keeping your feet on the ground, and make sure your toes are behind your knees. Keep your arms overhead. To avoid any strain, point your chin towards your chest.
Number of reps: 20
2. Gym Ball Plank
Getting tired of the plank? Challenge yourself and you’ll see why doing it ON a gym ball will give your core a burn!
Your elbows should be lined up under your shoulders. Hold your hands together. Your feet should be hip width apart. Keep your chest and stomach off the ball completely. Using your elbows, imagine writing your full name. Make this exercise harder by either keeping your feet closer together or farther apart.
Number of reps: 20
Begin as if you are going to do a plank. Extend your arms shoulder-width apart, palms flat on the floor, and the gym ball should be under your shin. Draw your hips upwards and the ball will roll towards your toes. Your butt should be in line with your shoulders. Pause in this position and then go back to the start.
Number of reps: 20
4. Crab Toe Touch
To start, sit on the ball and then walk until it rolls towards your back, below your shoulder blades. Place your left hand behind your head, your elbows bent. Slowly extend and lift your left leg and reach out for your toes using your right hand. Switch sides and repeat. Do this for 1 minute.
5. Gym Ball Push-up
This exercise is pretty simple… Just kidding, it isn’t. It’s an awesome way to update the good ol’ push up.
Place your hands on the gym ball, as if you are going to do a plank. To do a push-up, lower your body towards the ball, bending your elbows in the process. Keep your back and hips in line. Don’t let your hip dip. Aim to let your chest tap (not rest) on the ball. Extend your arms to starting position.
Make this exercise easier by keeping your feet wider than hip-width, or you can make it more challenging by keeping your feet closer together. You can try it out first by placing the ball against the wall to prevent it from rolling away from you. Once you’ve gotten the hang of it, you can do the real thing.
6. Side Lunge Row
This is a balancing exercise, which means you’re in for a more intense whole body workout.
Rest your extended left leg to the side on the ball. On your right hand hold a dumbbell. Your left arm is behind your back, elbow bent. Do a single-leg squat with your right leg. Bend your right knee and push your hips back. Slightly move forward from the hips, and imagine yourself reaching for the floor with your right hand. Pull the dumbbell back by bending your right elbow by your side, in line with your torso. As you do this bend your left knee, bringing the ball towards your body.
Number of reps: 15 on each side
7. Gym Ball Stretch
A whole body workout needs a bit of stretching afterwards. Make use of the gym ball too!
Stand with your feet wide apart and your arms stretch out to the sides. The gym ball should be in front of your on the floor. Bend forward, keeping knees bent as well, and rest the back of your right hand on the ball while your left arm is extending overhead towards the ceiling. Roll the ball to your right shoulder and gaze up to your left hand, keeping this position for at least 30 seconds (you can stay for 1 minute). Repeat this movement on the other side.
Going to the gym can be pretty daunting itself and seeing all sorts of equipment (that you’re unsure of using) can be enough to keep from trying out new and exciting exercises.
The gym ball is a neat and awesome way to get the whole body moving and in shape. Rec Xpress has a number of stability balls that are available exclusively to its members. Aside from this we have state-of-the-art gym equipment at your disposal 24/7.
Getting into shape with the help of a professional trainer is always a great plan. Our team of personal trainers have had many years of experience under their belts. Choose one that will most likely be a perfect fit for you and your fitness goals.