BodybuildingPro.com Articles Database Articles by Writer Articles By Workoutsforyou.com Benefits and Tips For Using Exercise Balls
Play Ball To Get FIt
Chances are if
you've stepped foot in a gym or watched a television fitness program in the past
year then you've seen the "big balls". You've probably wondered what all the
fuss is about. Well, they may look like something found on a children's
playground, but don't be deceived. These balls offer one of the best methods for
strengthening your abdominals and core.
That is why the
fitness industry is jumping on the ball bandwagon. According to the 2003 Idea
Fitness Programs and Equipment Survey, 89 percent of IDEA businesses were
offering balls to their customers and 71 percent had added ball group fitness
classes in 2003.
Find it hard to
believe that simply sitting, rolling or bouncing on a big inflatable ball can
make you more fit? Read on to learn just how effective ball fitness can be.
While they are
somewhat of a new craze in the public domain, the ball (commonly known as
stability ball, fitness ball, Swiss ball, physio ball, etc) was used as early as
the 1960s. It originally was used by physical therapist to assist with
But, the ball
is far more versatile and valuable then simply for re-hab use. It is a very
inexpensive piece of equipment that offers a total body workout while also
improving your balance. There are literally hundreds of different exercises that
can be used with the ball. And, both beginners and advanced exercises can
benefit from it. Plus, children to seniors can use it.
What makes this
piece of fitness equipment so uniquely effective? It works multiple muscles at
one time while forcing your body to balance itself. This creates a very
effective and challenging workout. For example, lying on a bench to perform
tricep extensions is a good exercise but it's limited to working primarily just
the triceps. However, perform that same move on a stability ball and you have
created an unstable environment. Additional muscles are activated that work to
keep you balanced on the ball. That means you are now working harder and
essentially getting more bang for your buck while not increasing your exercise
So, if you
haven't already gotten on the ball, it's time to give it a try. You may think
that your workout already provides everything you need but chances are you are
focusing the majority of your exercise time on the lower body. It is essential
to concentrate fitness time on your core, which is responsible for stabilizing
the rest of your body. Having a strong core improves your performance in all
activities, not just exercise but also daily activities like carrying groceries.
The ball can help improve your posture, balance, and core strength. Virtually
every exercise performed on the ball works your core area. And, yes, it can even
help you get that sought-after six-pack!
Before you try
out the ball be sure to choose the right size and firmness. The harder the ball
is then the more difficult the exercise move will be. Therefore, beginners
should probably choose a ball that is softer (e.g. not overly inflated). Also,
it is important to choose the right size based on your height. The ball
manufacturer or your fitness center can provide height guidelines.
mentioned, the ball can be used for a total body workout. With the ball you can
work your legs, arms, chest, back, abdominals and you can even get a cardio
workout by doing such moves as sitting jumping jacks. Below are a few examples
of the types of exercises that can be done with the stability ball.
lying with ball resting under your back. Place hands behind head for support.
Using your abdominal muscles slowly raise up lifting your shoulder blades off of
the ball and rotate left shoulder toward right hip. Do not strain neck by
pulling on it with hands. Keep elbows out to your side. Return to starting
position and repeat then switch sides.
across the ball with your head and shoulders supported on the ball and your legs
bent with heals about two feet from ball. Extend arms overhead with palms facing
away from you.
Slowly separate your
arms in a circular motion and bend your elbows slightly as lower your arms down
and rotate your palms to face each other. Return to start position and repeat.
your back against a ball that is placed against a wall and stand with your feet
hip-width apart and about a foot away from the wall. Keep your back in a
straight position. Bend your knees and let the ball roll up your back until your
knees bend to about a 90 degree angle. Keep your knees behind your toes as you
bend. Return to start position and repeat.
Lynn Bode is a certified personal
trainer specializing in Internet-based fitness programs. She founded Workouts
For You, which provides affordable online exercise programs that are custom
designed for each individual. Visit: http://www.workoutsforyou.com for a free
sample workout and to sign-up for their monthly fitness newsletter. Fitness
professionals, visit: http://www.trainerforce.com
If you would like to publish
this article in print or electronically, please contact Lynn at email@example.com
About the author: Lynn Bode is a certified personal trainer specializing in
Internet-based fitness programs. She founded Workouts For You, which
provides affordable online exercise programs that are custom designed for
each individual. Visit: http://www.workoutsforyou.com for a free sample
workout and to sign-up for their monthly fitness newsletter. Fitness
professionals, visit: http://www.trainerforce.com
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