An exercise ball is a large, rubber ball that typically measures mid-thigh height and is used in the performance of several different exercises. No matter if you want to strengthen and tone the muscles of your lower body, upper body or core, there are many exercise ball exercises that will get the job done. Here are three toning exercises to engage in with an exercise ball.
Squats are considered by many to be one of the all-around best exercises that you can do with an exercise ball. Unlike other exercises, which may focus on only one specific body part, squats target every muscle in the lower body. This is a great exercise if you are either new to exercising or are short on time. To perform a squat with an exercise ball properly, start by putting the ball up against an empty wall approximately three feet from the ground. Lean all of your weight against the ball, making sure that your lower back is pressed firmly to the ball.
Step your feet out three feet from the wall. Take a few deep breaths. As you inhale your breath, bend your knees, slowly lowering your buttocks towards the ground as if you were sitting. The exercise ball should have rolled up your back and should now be near your shoulders. Exhale your breath, and use the muscles of your lower body to push yourself back up to the starting position. For the best results, do at least two sets of 10 repetitions of this exercise.
2. Push Ups
Push ups are another great exercise; like squats, they target a large group of muscles. In this case, however, the muscles targeted are those of the upper body. To perform a push up with an exercise ball properly, start by coming onto all fours on the ground. Make sure that your hands are spaced directly under your shoulders. At this point, ask a friend for help. Instruct her to help you lift your feet onto the top of the exercise ball. Your body should now be in a straight, angled line from your shoulders to your feet. Inhale your breath, bend your elbows, and lower your upper body towards the ground. Once your elbows are bent to a 90 degree angle, exhale and use the muscles in your upper body to push yourself back up to the start position. As with the squats, do two sets of 10 repetitions for best results.
3. Sit Ups
Sit ups are a great, easy exercise that can be done by almost anyone, anywhere. To perform a sit up, start by sitting on an exercise ball with your feet flat on the floor and your spine stretched towards the sky. In addition, lace your fingers behind your neck for maximal support. Take a deep breath, and as you do so, slowly lean back, lowering your back to the ground. Individuals should be sure to keep their backs as flat as possible and their core muscles engaged. As you exhale your breath, use the muscles of your core to bring your chest and shoulders back up to the starting position. Do two sets of 10 repetitions for the best results.