Yoga ball, exercise ball, gym ball, fitness ball — whatever you call it, it's a must have for all active people. An exercise ball can be used for both stretching and toning exercises, but if you're new to this piece of gym equipment, here are some things you should know.
When choosing an exercise ball, you should know they come in three sizes, depending on your height.
Check the list below to see which size is right for you before purchasing one.
4'11" to 5'4" height: 55 cm ball
5'4" to 5'11" height: 65 cm ball
5'11" to 6' 7" height: 75 cm ball
(There is also a 85 cm ball but they are harder to find)
Now that you know which size ball to use, here are some ways you can use it:
Use the ball as a weight bench. Lie across it on your back and do chest presses, tricep presses, or lying pec flies to work your upper body. Since you're using your legs to keep your body stable, you end up toning your glutes, quads, and hamstrings as well.
Use it to elevate parts of your body. Raising your upper or lower body on a ball can help target specific muscle groups more effectively. Try doing push-ups or bridge leg lifts with a ball and you'll end up working many muscles at one time.
Do ab work. Crunches, abdominal twists, and bicycle crunches are so much more challenging on a ball, since lying on one engages your abs even before you start doing any exercises.
Do yoga and Pilates moves. You can tone and increase flexibility by using a ball to do basic poses and exercises. Do backbends and back strengthening exercises such as prone leg raises. A ball can also support your body weight to help you balance when trying challenging poses such as Scorpion.
To see the other exercise ball ideas, contact Carey at www.careylongfitness.com or visit him personally at Spectrum Southdown's