The stability ball is a versatile fitness tool utilized for a wide variety of exercises. While not for every person, the majority of our clients are able to train on a stability ball whether it is for simple stretching/flexibility uses or at the opposite end of the spectrum for high intensity, challenging nose to toe core exercises.
This week, one excellent stability ball exercise with three progressions, which target the entire nose to toes core will be featured. All three progressions require the client to be familiar and comfortable with the stability ball as well as competent regarding their stability and safety on the ball regardless of position. *If you are unable to stabilize safely on the ball, try these progressions on a BOSU balance trainer first. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.
*Perform 8-12 repetitions of 1-2 sets of these three progressions, two-three, non-consecutive days per week. Choose a ball that you may lie supine on comfortably—the taller the person, the bigger the ball. Make certain it is well inflated following the manufacturer’s recommendations. Head/neck in neutral, rib cage lifted, navel imprinted on the spine, pelvic floor pulled up and inward.
-Offset Long Lever Curls – Progression #1 – begin seated on the ball, walking the feet out away from the ball until the lumbar spine is comfortably supported as well as the thoracic spine (i.e. middle of the back). “Walk” your feet to the right to shift the body to the right side of the ball so that the right shoulder is not quite supported on the ball. However, the middle of the thoracic spine to the left shoulder, is fully in contact with the ball. Place the left hand behind the head supporting the head/neck and extend the right arm behind and over the head, both feet remain in contact with the floor throughout. Legs approximately shoulder distance apart and the knees to the top of the head should form a “table top” position. Engaging the rectus abdominis by compressing the abdomen, lift the head/neck/shoulders off the ball sliding the rib cage toward the hip bones (this is approximately 30 degrees of trunk flexion). Then, return slowly to the beginning position and repeat. Perform this sequence on the opposite side.
-Offset Long Lever Curls with Rotations – Progression #2 – return to the beginning position shifting the body to the right side of the ball. With the tabletop position re-established, and the left hand supporting the head/neck and right arm extended again, engaging the external obliques, rotate the torso initiating from the waistline, leading with your right shoulder aiming toward the opposite hip. Then, return to the beginning position and repeat. Perform this sequence on the opposite side. *Remember, rotations should be directed toward the midline of the body, not to the outside of the body or ball.
-Offset Long Lever Curls/Rotation Combination – Progression #3 – return to the beginning position shifting the body to the right side of the ball once again. With the tabletop position re-established, and the left hand supporting the head/neck and the right arm extended again, perform the long lever curl to the left, then perform a center curl. Repeat this sequence (i.e. left/center – 8x). Repeat on the opposite side.