The exercise ball is becoming a more popular piece of equipment in both professional and home gyms. It is extremely versatile and can be used by both novices and experienced fitness enthusiasts.
The main advantage of using exercise ball workouts is that they can be used to strengthen the core muscles of the body. These are the muscles of the abdomen and lower back, which maintain posture. Even if you are performing an exercise on the ball that is not directly targeting these muscles, they will still be working to maintain stability.
You can use your exercise ball either by itself or with weights. Popular exercises that do not require weights include those that specifically target the muscles of the abdomen. These are popular with people that are aiming to build a ‘6-pack’.
One of the best exercises to perform for the abdomen is the abdominal crunch. This is similar to performing a crunch without a ball but you are working harder to maintain stability. Other exercises to perform include the side crunch to concentrate on the oblique muscles and the reverse crunch. This latter exercise involves you lying on your back on a floormat and lifting the exercise ball between your feet.
There are also a number of exercises that you can perform with weights. Using an exercise ball instead of a weights bench adds interest to your workout routines and also adds a degree of difficulty because you have to maintain stability in addition to lifting the weight. You should be able to perform the workout correctly on the bench before progressing to the ball.
A good exercise to perform is the chest press, which targets the muscles of the chest (the ‘pecs’). Use a pair of dumbbells and maintain the thighs and upper body in a straight line when performing this exercise. Another useful exercise to perform is the seated dumbbell curl. By sitting on the ball you are providing a workout for your deep abdominal muscles in maintaining posture as well as targeting your biceps.
Other exercise ball workouts that you can perform with dumbbells include the facedown lateral raise, which exercises the upper back and shoulders. While in the facedown position you can also perform the external rotation, which targets the deep rotator cuff muscles of the shoulder.