This class is on the ball!

This is a Ball pattern from www.turnstep.com. (pattern 10715)

I teach an hour-long body sculpt class which uses both balls and weights. I mix short cardio intervals with toning intervals so that heart rates stay in a slightly elevated state and the body is given an opportunity to recover. The ball makes a great "weight bench" with lighter weights and gives participants a larger range of motion.

Supine (with shoulders stablized by ball): Chest press, fly, scissor overhead, tricep press, lats, etc. Prone (with ball below breasts): fly, row, delt raises, etc. From these positions, you can work quads (extensions), glutes (lifts), and hamstrings (curls) quite efficiently. Back work (lifting opposite arm and leg) can be done from the prone position, too. I alternate arm and leg work with some combinations that allow participants to concentrate on form.

One of my favorite ab exercises is supine on the floor with legs draped over the ball. Grab the ball with the heels, squeezing it toward the buttocks. Now, simply lift the ball off the floor and lower it slowly. Hips should remain on the floor. Follow this with reverse curls (still squeezing the ball). The process of squeezing the ball engages the abdominal muscles from the start of each move. With ankles squeezing the ball from east and west, extend legs up into a diagonal position. Cue participants to press backs into the floor and extend to a height that allows them keep their backs down. (For some, this may be straight up to the ceiling!) An easier move is to hold the ball overhead with both hands (still supine), bend one knee, extend the other and raise the straight leg and ball simultaneously to meet over the body. Once again, backs should be pressed into the floor. From a seated position, abduct arms into a 90 degree position. Bend to the side and touch fingers to floor on either side of the ball. Write your name with your hips! Belly dance!

My favorite leg moves (least favorite for participants) involve standing with the ball between your lower back and the wall, mirror (have the Windex handy), or door. From this position, you can do narrow and wide-stance squats. Hold in the lowered position and make up "goofy" arm movements that will distract them while they "suffer". I do rhythmic clapping of hands and legs. By standing with one leg resting on the ball, you can accomplish one-legged squats without worrying about balance. Cue participants to keep torsos vertical and "sit back" to avoid strain on the lower back. Once again, hold the lowered position. From here, flex and extend the resting leg, moving the ball in and out from the body.

I am not including all the moves I use as most are already out there. We complete our class with a stretch done entirely with the ball. Hamstrings, backs, abs, and arms can be stretched from a seated position on the ball. Calf and quad exercises are done standing with the ball used as a prop. My class has gained a whole new appreciation for an apparatus they used to hate. I'm seeing great improvements in their strength and balance.



Added by Jan Adams at 11:45 AM on Thursday, January 3, 2002 EST. Add to favorites (view favorites)
(Email: aadams@acme-brain.com)
From: Clayton, Georgia (USA)
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