Some of the best new exercises that trainers are recommending to their clients are just variations of the classic push up. The traditional push up was designed to power up the arms and upper body, and has been used for decades in military barracks, school gymnasiums and other training areas around the world. Some newer versions of the push up utilize new fitness tools that are appearing in gyms and health clubs everywhere. One of these is the exercise ball push up, which adds core muscles to the range of muscle groups being stimulated, toned and strengthened by this popular exercise.
Doing Exercise Ball Push Ups
To do an exercise ball push up, position yourself on your hands and knees in front of an exercise ball, which is an inflated fitness ball with a bouncy resistance. Get into a push up position with your hands on the exercise ball instead of on the ground. You will feel how the instability of the exercise ball adds a specific balance challenge. Maintain balance while doing a classic push up. Your body will be higher off of the ground than it would be in a classic push up, and so the exercise will feel a little different.
Bench Type Exercise Ball Push Ups
The most popular way to use a weight bench or exercise bench in an exercise ball push up is to follow the directions above, but with your feet propped on the bench instead of on the ground. Doing this will keep your whole body at a higher point above the ground, while still providing the balance challenge that the exercise ball provides.
Safety with the Exercise Ball Push Up
In order to be safe for this activity, you'll want to first practice maintaining balance with the exercise ball before you try to push your body up by extending your arms. Get good at maintaining balance with your arms bent and your body closer to the ball, then slowly extend your arms, always careful to sustain the balance or be able to fall safely to one side or the other. Keeping track of your own innate balance capacity is crucial to avoiding injury in this activity.
Muscles Worked with the Exercise Ball Push Up
The traditional push up works the chest muscles, as well as various core muscles and upper body muscle groups like the triceps. As mentioned above, the exercise ball variation adds core work to the activity, bringing into play a range of "stabilizers" that help balance the body, including muscles in the torso such as the abs. That's one reason that trainers like to take on these resistance and balance tasks, where core strength helps in pursuing a lot of activities that all of us do throughout the day. Look to fit this kind of activity into your regular fitness schedule to get toned up all over your body and find new power and overall body response for future challenges.