If you are dreaming of a faster way to fitness, an exercise ball is just what you need. Rethink the way you use the core-focused ball exercises and gain upper body muscle tone with one simple tool. Working out on the ball helps keep your core engaged while you target a specific area–in this case, your arms, chest, shoulders and upper back.
Work Your Shoulders with the Ball Lift
This exercise looks easy, but it doesn’t take much weight to work the shoulders. Stand squarely with feet at shoulder width. Hold the exercise ball in front of you at shoulder height, arms extended. Slowly raise the ball over your head, then lower back to shoulder height. Complete as many repetitions as necessary for one minute. Concentrate on raising and lowering by contracting your shoulder muscles, while you avoid swinging or using momentum to raise. Rest for 20 seconds and repeat for two more sets.
Get in a push-up position with hands directly under the shoulders, centered as close to the top of the ball as you can while keeping your balance. Lower your body toward the ball slowly, maintaining your balance. Keep feet together if possible, and spread them slightly if your balance wavers. Complete 8-10 reps, then rest for 30 seconds before completing your next set. Do a total of three sets.
Total Body Shoulder Press
Get your heart pumping and your lower body in on the action with the shoulder press. Hold the ball as close to your body as you can at shoulder height with your elbows bent. Squat low, and as you raise, press the ball up overhead, arms next to your ears. As you return the ball to the starting position, slowly squat low then press up again to repeat. Do as many reps as you can until muscle failure. Rest for 30 seconds and repeat for a total of three sets.
Isolated Tricep Dips
Sit on the ball and place your hands flat on either side of the ball. Slowly walk feet forward until knees are bent in front of the ball and push your backside forward so it is hanging in front of the ball. Slowly bend your elbows as you lower your body down, keeping elbows back so you keep the focus on your triceps. Complete 15-20 reps and a total of three sets.
As you become stronger, try at least one set in a more difficult, advanced position. Sit on the edge of a bench, placing hands next to your rear-end and feet on the exercise ball. Hold firmly to the bench as you straighten arms and hover over the edge of the bench. Extend legs, and raise and lower, dipping down until elbows form a right angle. Perform the dips slowly, keeping balanced on the ball to engage the core and keep the work on your arms. Elbows should stay in toward the body as you raise and lower to keep the work on your triceps, not shoulders.
For extra calorie burning cardio, complete each move in succession as a circuit, with no rest in between. That way, your heart rate will stay elevated as you sculpt lean, muscular arms and shoulders.