A lower body stability ball workout

Two lower body exercises will be featured this week performed on a stability ball. The ball adds two elements in these two exercises.  In the Hip Abduction exercise, the ball requires an increased stability (nose to toes core) challenge as well as changing the joint angle at the hip which places more load into the hip abductors (i.e., gluteus medius and minimus).

When performing the Glute Bridge/Roll Out Hip Extension exercise, the ball requires considerable stability as the body remains in the glute bridge throughout. And, when driving the heels into the top of the ball, the hamstrings are significantly firing while the gluteus maximus keep the hips extended throughout.  As always, consult your physician prior to beginning any exercise program.

TWO STABILITY BALL-LOWER BODY EXERCISES

Hip Abduction – Hip Abductors (i.e., Gluteus Medius/Minimus/Nose to Toes Core)Choose a stability ball generally 55-65cm.

  • If you are performing this exercise on a hard surface, you may want to use an exercise mat to cushion the bottom leg.
  • From a kneeling position, place the right hip against the ball with the bottom leg flexed back approximately 45 degrees at the knee joint and the left leg extended with the thighs parallel to one another.
  • Wrap your right arm around the ball, laying the right side of your torso on top of the ball.
  • Rotate the shoulders back/down, rib cage lifted and the navel pulled toward the spine.
  • Make certain that the head and neck are in neutral and avoid any movement of the upper body during the exercise.
  • Engage the left hip abductors and lift the leg toward the ceiling keeping the knee and foot relaxed.
  • The leg should lift approximately 45 degrees.
  • Lower the leg to the beginning position without touching the floor.
  • Avoid any momentum use, such as throwing the leg upward.
  • Keep the body in one straight line from the top of the head to the left foot.
  • Perform 1-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions, on each side, two-three non-consecutive days/week.
  • To add intensity, place a weighted bar on top of the outside arch of the working side’s shoe and the other end resting on the top of the ball, holding the bar with the top hand.
  • The more of the weighted bar that is extended off of the foot, the greater the intensity.

Supine Glute Bridge/Roll Out – Gluteus Maximus/Hamstrings/Nose to Toes Core

  • Choose a stability ball generally 55-65cm.
  • Begin sitting on the floor with the ball on the floor in front of your feet.
  • Lying back in a supine position, place your heels more on the “downside slope” on top of the ball with the knees and toes pointing toward the ceiling and the ball against the buttocks.
  • Make certain that your neck remains in neutral and the shoulders remain in contact with the floor at all times.
  • Rotate the shoulders back/down, rib cage lifted, navel pulled toward the spine and engage the gluteals so that your hips lift off of the floor.
  • Maintaining this position with the hips, press the legs out to full knee extension and then pull the legs back to the beginning position.
  • Avoid hyperextending the spine and keep the buttocks engaged throughout.
  • Perform 1-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions, two-three non-consecutive days/week.

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