Monday, 30 July 2012

Stability Ball Workout

I'm so sorry for the wait, what with insanity, (more on this later), Olympics and my free 'Bootcamp' taster on Sunday, where 10 victims, sorry I mean willing participants came out to join me and worked with tyres, sledgehammers, ropes, suspension trainers, kettlebells, sled drags, and a host of fabulous unconventional tools, a very big well done to all who joined me.  Keep watch for details of my 'Spare Tyre Boot Camp' coming soon!

So as promised your stability ball workout that can be done easily at home or in the gym.  You should perform a 5 - 10 minutes mobility and warm up drill.  This could be performed without the ball, example a few minutes doing some range of dynamic movement at your joints such as elbow circles in both directions, this can be made bigger by performing some front crawl and backstroke type movements for the shoulders.  Moving down the body, perform some hip circles in one direction then the other.  Then incorporate both upper and lower body with a full body extension; start with arms up over head, now bring arms down and behind you as you push your bum and hips out and down behind you.  Your finish position will feel like your a down hill skier!  There you have 3 dynamic moves that mobilises all your major joints, prepares your muscles and mind and warms you up a little.

If you are warming up with the ball, try this;

Sit on your ball with legs hip width apart, sit up tall with your tummy muscles engaged.  The shoulder bit from above can easily be performed seated on the ball.  Now start to bounce softly on the ball, so you get a little bit of knee bend.  Keep your fingers lightly touching the ball on both sides to aid stability.  Now start to make this bounce bigger, you should feel that you nearly want to stand.  During these their should be some space between your bum and the ball!  Next bounce for a count of 10 then quickly stand, walk around your ball and repeat for 10 bounces, stand and walk around in the other direction.  Repeat this sequence 6 times.  Your heart rate should be increasing at this time.  So again in not so many exercises you've still mobilised your shoulders, back, knees, ankles and warmed you up.

So to the workout.  Again make sure you've taken precautions as suggested in the previous blog, have some water available, then your good to go.  Try this circuit 2 or 3 times, taking rest and water as and when needed.

1.  Plank - hold a full plank if possible, so your forearms are on top of the ball, engage your 'core' muscles, your knees should also be off the floor, push your heels away from you and hold for as long as possible, best technique.  If someone was looking at you, they should be able to draw a line from your ear to your shoulder, to your hip to your heel.  (If difficult you may put your knees down, but I believe holding a full plank for 10 seconds is better than holding a on knees plank for a long time, if unsure speak to an instructor or me!)

2.  Next wall squats, you'll need to put the ball behind you on a wall.  The ball should sit quite comfortably in your lumbar curve.  Take a little step forward, so that when you squat your knees shouldn't go directly over your toes.  If you get knee pain, step forward a few inches and that should make a difference.  Place your arms crossed in front of your chest, then sit back and down like your sitting in a chair.  Go as low as you comfortably can, go slow on the way down, say a count of 5 seconds, then come up on a count of 1 / 2 seconds squeezing your butt at the top.  Repeat for 12 - 16 reps.  Any hard core people could half way through their set sit at the bottom and pulse (short tiny quick movements), see how many you can do:)

3.  Next woodchops  -  stand with legs hip to shoulder width apart, feet facing forward.  Hold the ball above your right shoulder, now like you would in a woodchop motion, bring the ball down towards the outside of your left lower leg.  Try and keep your legs straight.  Go easy if you have back pain, try the motion slowly.  Do 12 - 16 on one side, then repeat on the other.

4.  Hamstring curls  -  lay on the floor with the ball under your heels.  Engage your core and slowly bring your mid, lower back and butt off the floor.  This in itself is quite challenging.  Now use your heels, core strength and hamstrings (back of thighs) to drag the ball towards your bottom, try and not let your hips sag to the floor.  Repeat for 12 - 16 reps.  Extra challenge, do this with one leg at a time or regression, keep bottom on the floor.

5.  Russian twists  -  from seated position on the ball, slowly with control bring yourself into a supine bridge (walk away so you eventually end up with your head and shoulders supported on the ball, feet underneath knees at the other end.  Reverse the whole motion to get yourself back to your seated position.  I'd suggest practising a few times if you've never done this before).  Take your hands directly up over your upper chest, clasp hands together (think holding a gun position).  Okay the movement is to twist with control to one side so you feel the weight on that one shoulder, the other one will be off the ball slightly, repeat on the other side.  Easier done than explained I fear!  Any problems a good instructor should be able to show you this exercise.  Again repeat for your 12 - 16 reps.

So there you have it, repeat the above circuit 2 or 3 times, you should definitely feel that you've accomplished something at the end.  Obviously finish with 5 - 10 minutes of stretching all your major muscle groups, in particularly, back, shoulders, and legs.

Give it a go, let me know your comments.
Till next time, all the best

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