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Have a Ball With Stability Ball Exercise
By: Rick DeToma

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Have a Ball With Stability Ball Exercise

İRick DeToma

Whether you call them a stability ball, swiss ball, or exercise ball, there are so many great benefits to exercising with a stability ball in your home workouts.

Stability Ball Benefits
Besides providing balance training, (an often overlooked component in most exercise programs) stability balls work your core in almost every exercise that is performed, and work multiple muscles at one time while forcing your body to balance itself. So your core will be better prepared to support the rest of your body in whatever activity you do. They are versatile too:
1. The ball can be used at home or at your gym.
2. All ages, and levels of fitness can benefit from stability ball training.
3. An exercise ball is portable and light weight.
4. An exercise ball is inexpensive.
5. Requires little if any maintenance.

Stability Ball Workout Tips
Use your exercise ball for a total body workout. You can work your legs, arms, chest, back, and abdominals. Try some of these in your stability ball training:

Supine Oblique Curl
Start with the top of the ball beneath the center of the back, then stagger your feet and turn hips to one side. Anchor the lower hip to the ball and move the rib cage at a diagonal direction toward the legs (for example, right elbow to left inner thigh). Make sure your neck and pelvis are stable.

Forward Transverse Roll
Kneel on the floor and place your forearms on the ball, making sure your hips and arms form a 90 degree angle. From this starting position, roll the ball forward as you extend your arms and legs simultaneously. Contract your abdominals to help support your lower back, which should not be strained. Roll as far forward as possible without compressing the spine, drooping the shoulders, or rounding the torso. Return to starting position.

Chest Fly
Lie 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 each other. Slowly separate your arms in a circular motion and bend your elbows slightly as lower your arms down until your upper arms are parallel to the ground. Return to start position and repeat.

Wall Squats
Lean your back against a ball that is placed against the wall and stand with your feet hip-width apart and about a foot away from the wall. Keep your back straight. 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.

Shoulder Retraction
Kneel over the ball. Tuck your hips into the ball and rest your abs against it. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, with your arms relaxed and at the sides of the ball, palms facing back. Pull your shoulder blades back. Pull your arms up, bending at your elbows to form right angles until they are parallel with your shoulders. Return to the starting postion.

Don't Forget to Stretch
The American Council on Exercise suggests the following simple yet effective stretches on the ball:

Back Extension - Start in a seated position with your fingertips supporting the back of your head both your elbows out. Walk your feet out until your upper back is lying on the ball while continuing to support your head and back. For a more intense stretch, lengthen your arms overhead and straighten your legs - breathe deeply and hold the stretch.

Kneeling Side - Start by kneeling upright on a mat with the ball at the side of your right hip, place your right hand on the ball and your left arm hanging close to your torso. Sweep your left arm in a wide arc up and over your head and back to the starting position. Hold the final arc in a lifted position 10-30 seconds for a static stretch and repeat three to five times.

Pelvic Circles - Start in a seated base position. Slowly circle your hips clockwise three to five times; reverse, circling counterclockwise. Focus on releasing tension in the hips and lower back.

You can't go wrong with such a versatile and inexpensive piece of equipment. If you are looking for a simple and highly effective way to change a workout routine, look into doing your exercise on a stability ball.

The information contained in this article is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended to provide medical advice. If you are sedentary or over 40 please get clearance from a doctor before starting an exercise program.

About the Author

Rick DeToma is a fitness coach, and trainer who specializes in home workouts. Contact Rick for a no obligation telephone fitness assessment at:

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The Power of Stretching    - Dave Snape


Your muscles ache from a good stretch. This is quite
normal and is part of the process. Stretching has
seemingly been with us and particularly with athletes
since the beginning of time.

A very key point to good stretching is to hold the
stretch for at least seventeen seconds. This is a
pearl of wisdom gleaned from a ballet teacher a few
years back. She said that any stretch under 17
seconds was just not effective.

The 17 second rule is exceeded in the high intensity
Bikram's yoga where stretches are held for about 30
seconds. Don't forget the high level of heat that is
used in Bikram's to extract that last little bit of
stretch out of your muscles. An interesting twist that
is not necessary to gain benefits from stretching. But,
it can't hurt, right?

So what kind of benefits can you expect from
stretching? That's an easy one. Have you ever seen the
movie, Blood Sport? Did you know that Frank Dux could
truly stretch his body to the extreme. The actor that
played him was quite elastic as well.

Great elasticity is also something you might see in
well trained Spetsnaz (Russian) agents. They often work
out with Russian kettlebells too. They are for superior
strength gains and the ability to withstand ballistic

Why are stretching and flexibility considered important
to these people? Stretching gives one the ability to
have explosive power available at one's fingertips
without the need to warm up. Of course most of us are
not martial artists or agents. But, you'll be happy to
know there are plenty of other benefits.

Let me give you an example. After learning to sit in
the full lotus position for long periods of time, my
ankles became very flexible. One day I was walking
along and my left foot fell into a pothole. This mishap
pushed my ankle sideways to about 90 degrees from it's
normal position.

Amazingly, this didn't even hurt, not one bit. If my
ankle hadn't been so flexible, I may have suffered a
sprained ankle. At the very least, it would have hurt
for days.

Key point: stretching helps you to avoid injuries.
Not only that but if you do have a muscle, tendon or
ligament injury it should heal faster, theoretically

Stretching actually grows the ligaments, tendons and
muscles being stretched. They really grow longer over

Check with your physician before undertaking any type
of exercise, including stretching.

Here is some good instructional material on stretching:

Dave Snape

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