My gym is filled with pink balls. They’re deceptively innocent-looking, but don’t let their bouncy appearance fool you – my balls really make my clients sweat. Exercise balls are a fun way to challenge your balance and build core strength – plus a swiss ball is WAY more fun to sit on than an office chair.
I try to do this workout once every other week to mix up my usual skating, running and lifting routine. It’s a nice change of pace and the word “balls” never fails to make me smile. I run through this routine 2-3 times, resting no more than 3 minutes between each set and no more than 30 seconds between each exercise. Sometimes I’ll take the 3rd set to failure (meaning I ignore the listed number of reps and just keep going ‘til I can’t any more) – this method of training can help you push past fat loss plateaus. Remember, the more intense your workout is, the more calories you’ll burn (and the less mindless cardio you’ll have to do).
What you’ll need:
A swiss ball (make sure you have the appropriate size for your height)
A medicine ball (6-12lbs is a good starting weight)
Stretch and warm-up
Ball Plank: This move takes a basic elbow plank up a notch by forcing your core to work harder to stay balanced. Hold for 30 seconds.
** When the plank becomes too easy, you can ramp it up by doing plank rollouts: from your elbow plank position, use your arms to roll the ball 2-3 inches forward, keeping your core tight. Pause for a breath and roll ball back to start position. Repeat 12-15 times. You don’t need to roll it out more than a couple of inches to feel the effect of this move. I also draw tiny circles or figure 8s with the ball when I’m feeling particularly masochistic.
Ball pike to pushup: This is a compound exercise that hits pretty much every muscle! Start in a straight arm plank with feet on swiss ball.
Bend knees and tuck butt under, curling ball toward body.
Straighten legs to return to start position, then immediately do a pushup.
Return to start position. That’s one rep! Do 12-15 reps of this one. Aren’t balls fun?
Lie on your back in bridge position with your shoulders centered on your swiss ball. Keep your core tight and let your head lie back – don’t strain your neck. Hold your medicine ball above your chest, arms straight.
Keeping your core tight and your legs and feet still, slowly rotate torso as far as you can to the side while maintaining balance and keeping arms straight. Pause for a moment, then slowly return to start position, using your core to maintain balance.
Repeat on other side. That’s one rep – aim for 12-15.
Grab a drink of water and put your swiss ball aside – time for some allover toning with your medicine ball.
Stand straight up, shoulders back, chest out and hold your medicine ball at chest level with your elbows near your sides.
Bend your knees and push your butt back into a squat, keeping your weight in your heels and your knees behind your toes. (If you have knee problems, don’t take any squat below 60°) Make sure your knees are parallel to each other and not dipping inward. At the same time, straighten your arms at chest level and push the ball out in front of your body. Keep your shoulders down, core tight and chest up.
Straighten legs to return to start position, squeezing your glutes as you drive through your legs to power back to standing. Bend elbows and draw ball back to chest. Repeat 12-15 times.
These are fantastic for balance and will make every square inch of your body burn. Do these as quickly as you can with proper form and burn even more calories while building muscle all over.
Stand on right leg, left knee bent and held at waist height. Hold your medicine ball in both hands and rest it on your knee.
Maintaining balance on your right, leg, straighten your left leg and float it diagonally off the ground as you straighten your arms and raise the medicine ball diagonally overhead to your right.
Now, quickly and forcefully bring the medicine ball down in a chopping motion as you bend your left knee and bring it back to your starting position to meet the ball. Don’t make contact with the ball with your knee – use your upper body and core to stop the motion of the ball just before they connect. That’s one rep. Complete 12-15 on your right leg, then shake it out and switch to your left leg. Almost done!
Lateral lunge with medicine ball taps:
Start standing straight up, legs together, medicine ball held at chest level with elbows by sides. Take a big step to the left and bend your left knee, sinking into a side lunge. Keep that knee behind those toes! Tap the ball on the ground in front of your left foot, then return to your start position and immediately repeat the lunge on your right side. Aim for 12-15 lunges on each side without stopping.
Roll that swiss ball back out and drape yourself across it, face up or face down, for a fantastic spinal stretch after all your hard work. Let me know if you enjoyed this workout! I always welcome feedback.