Ball-o-rama (some ball "resistance" stuff)

This is a Ball pattern from (pattern 10307)

When talking about ball training, I use the word "resistance" with hesitation. I think that the ball's best use is not really for resistance training or "sculpting..." True, it can be used as a prop to aid some resistance maneouvres, just like a step can, but I think the ball was developed for other reasons.

When you use a ball, no matter what position you happen to be in, there's a lot of work going on. The first is the obvious balance reaction that comes into play when you consider the fact that you are perched atop a ball that wants to roll all over the place. Muscles throughout your body (especially core) switch on and off quickly and instinctively to correct for your wobbliness. This helps to target core strength and stability. Another thing that is improved by ball training is proprioception and body awareness - just knowing where your body is, where it's going, how to keep it where you want it...

Here are some ball exercises to try in your class. Some serve "Sculpting" purposes, some are strictly to train for balance, stability and body awareness.

These ones are ball-specific exercises that use no additional resisitance (free weights or tubing).

Maybe later, I'll post some ball exercises using dumbbells...

PRAYING MANTIS (core strength -similar to the "plank" exercise):
Position: KNEELING
Kneeling on a mat, place your elbows on top of the ball and clasp hands together lie you're praying. Now, push the ball out with your elbows so that you form a STRAIGHT line, from shoulders to hips to kees. Contract abdominals to support the back. Hold isometrically for a few counts, then back off, take a little rest and repeat.

Trains CORE but also, because of the wobbly tendencies of the ball, balance reaction is quite engaged.
Surprise muscle involvement: Lats!

Position: PRONE
Walk out to the prone position (kinda like push-up position), with the ball supporting the thighs just above the knee, and the hands on the floor, directly under the shoulders.

TUCK (level 1): crunch the whole body in towards the arms. The ball will roll with you until you are in a tight tucked position. Straighten out smooth and controlled (REALLY contract the abdominals and keep them tight all the way through...). Repeat.

PIKE (level 2): rather than tucking the body in towards the legs, only bend at the waist, keeping the legs totally straight while you pull the ball in toward you with your feet. Your end position will look like an inverted 'V.'

ADD-ON: Throw in a push-up to make a cool compound move...
Press chest down to floor, then push up. Then tuck in and extend out...Down, Up, In, Out...Try it!

CIRCUS SEAL (balance)
Position: on top of the ball!
Hard to describe, but the Circus Seal involves balancing on your hands and knees on top of the ball. The best tip I can give is to put your hands, about shoulder width, on top of the ball. Then kinda "roll" your knees up into the ball. The goal is to stay on top. Correct for the wobbliness. Don't touch the floor at any cost! Challenge!!

LEVEL 2: take hands away, and bring yourself up into a tall kneeling position on the ball. Every muscle wakes up to keep you on the ball...

Position: LYING ON FLOOR (supine)
2-part movement...
Put the soles of your feet on the very top of the ball. Squeeze the glutes to lift hips off the floor; keep arms on floor for balance. This is the start position -- hips don't touch back down 'till the work is done!

The GLUTE portion of the move: press hips up toward ceiling, squeeze bum HARD, the lower down to start position. Up, down, up, down...

The HAM portion of the move: pull ball in with the HEELS, then fully extend back to a straight-legged position (hips still lifted off the floor!). In, Out, In, Out.

Then, combine them: Starting with bent legs and feet on top of the ball, hips lifted, go- Out, In, Up, Down; Out, In, Up, Down...

Hardest. Thing. Ever.
Surprise muscle involvement: CALVES!

How 'bout one more...

LEG ROTATIONS (total leg involvement)
Position: LYING ON FLOOR (supine)
Put legs straight up in the air, and place the ball between the ankles. Center the ball between the ankles as much as possible.

Then, simply rotate the ball around one way, and back the other way, by kinda "twisting" the legs. Keep a hand up to spot the ball (you'll need to adjust it after every couple of rotations). Make the rotations as big as possible. Looks wimpy, but it really gets ALL leg muscles involved.


Ya gotta love the ball.

Have fun with it.

I have lots more stuff, but it's just TOO much work to type it all out me with any questions or inquiries!

Added by Ball Queen of the Universe at 10:46 AM on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 EDT. Add to favorites (view favorites)
From: Manitoba (Canada)
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