Tone up Every inch of Your Body With This Easy-to-Follow Gym Ball Workout

You’ve probably tried using a stability ball for core-strengthening moves. But did you know this piece of kit can also help you hit most of the major muscles in your body, not just your abs? ‘Training with stability balls not only helps improve your flexibility, balance, strength, posture and co-ordination, it also wakes up new muscles and shocks your body into burning more calories,’ says personal trainer Chris Heron of Shaping Change (shapingchange.co.uk), a specialist in fat loss and toning. The instability of the ball works multiple muscles at one time because you’re constantly trying to stabilise yourself, which improves functional strength, balance and flexibility. The beauty of using this inexpensive piece of kit (available from as little as £6.99 from Amazon.co.uk, physicalcompany.co.uk and escapefitness.com), is that it requires little space, can be carried almost anywhere and needs little maintenance. Heron has designed a full-body ball workout for H&F. Once you get confident with this workout, you can start to introduce other kit to the plan, such as dumbbells, resistance bands and medicine balls, to help you progress and introduce a huge number of new moves to keep boredom in check.

Tone up Every inch of Your Body With This Easy-to-Follow Gym Ball Workout Photo Gallery



HOW TO DO THIS WORKOUT

Warm up for at least five minutes by combining star jumps, legs swings and the warm-up move, right, which will get blood pumping to your muscles and prepare your body for exercise.Warm up for at least five minutes by combining star jumps, legs swings and the warm-up move, right, which will get blood pumping to your muscles and prepare your body for exercise. Then, three times a week, complete this workout as a fast-paced circuit, moving from one move to the next with little or no rest in between. Catch your breath for two minutes and repeat the circuit.Then, three times a week, complete this workout as a fast-paced circuit, moving from one move to the next with little or no rest in between. Catch your breath for two minutes and repeat the circuit.

Tone up Every inch of Your Body With This Easy to Follow Gym Ball Workout

WARM-UP MOVE

SQUAT INTO SHOULDER ROLL

Reps: 20

Stand with the gym ball in the small of your back (a), the other side of it against a wall. Keeping your upper body upright, squat down, lifting your heels off the floor, so you go very low to the ground (b). As you stand back up, press your heels down and roll your arms and shoulders back (c). Keep the movement controlled, but continuous.Stand with the gym ball in the small of your back (a), the other side of it against a wall. Keeping your upper body upright, squat down, lifting your heels off the floor, so you go very low to the ground (b). As you stand back up, press your heels down and roll your arms and shoulders back (c). Keep the movement controlled, but continuous.

THE WORKOUT

1 NECKBRACE

Reps: 8

Lie on a stability ball (positioning it underneath your mid- to upper back) with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent to 90o, with ankles directly under your knees. Cross your arms over your chest.

Lift your hips so they’re in line with your upper body and keep your abs tight (a).

While keeping this body position, roll forward off the ball, so you’re just supported by your neck muscles (b), hold for six seconds, then roll back, so the pressure’s taken off your neck.

Tone up Every inch of Your Body With This Easy to Follow Gym Ball Workout

Tone up Every inch of Your Body With This Easy to Follow Gym Ball Workout

2. DEEP-KNEE WALL SQUATS

Reps: 25

Position the gym ball against the wall within the natural arch of your lower back. Place your feet shoulder-width apart and fold your arms across your chest.

Take a deep breath to contract your abdominal muscles, then slightly arch your lower back and lift your chest.

Slowly slide down the ball, pressing your hips backwards around it (a)

Lower down as far as possible, trying to get low enough so the back of your thigh touches your calf (b)

When you’ve squatted down as far as you can, pause for a second, then straighten your legs and return to the start position while exhaling.

Tone up Every inch of Your Body With This Easy to Follow Gym Ball Workout

3.WALL PUSH-UPS

Reps: 12

Rest the ball against a wall and place your hands on it, parallel to your shoulders.

Step back until there’s a lean in your body with your feet shoulder-width apart (a).

Inhale as you lower yourself towards the ball in a controlled manner, keeping your back straight and in a straight line with your legs (b).

Exhale as you pres your arms straight.

Tone up Every inch of Your Body With This Easy to Follow Gym Ball Workout
Tone up Every inch of Your Body With This Easy to Follow Gym Ball Workout

4. SINGLE-LEG SQUATS

Reps: 10 each leg

Position the stability ball against the wall within the natural arch of your lower back. Place your feet shoulder-width apart and fold your arms across your chest.

Lift your left leg off the flor (a) and inhale as you bend your right knee to 90o, sliding the ball

down the wall as you lower (b).

Pause for a few seconds, then exhale, pulling your abs towards your spine and straightening your right knee so you come back up to standing.

Repeat, keeping your left leg off the floor at all times, then switch sides.

5. BACK EXTENSIONS

Reps: 15

Resting your feet against a wall or stable object, lie face- down on the ball with your hands on the ground, ball under your pelvis (not stomach or chest.

Cross your hands across your chest (a), raise your shoulders and arch your back until your

spine is slightly extended (b).

Pause at the top for four seconds, then slowly return to the starting position.

Tone up Every inch of Your Body With This Easy to Follow Gym Ball Workout

6. STANDING TRICEPS PRESS

Reps: 15

Rest the ball against a wall and, standing two feet away from it, place the palms of your hands on it.

Lean in so your forehead is close to ball (a). Then, keeping your body as stiff aspossible, press your hands into the ball so your body moves away from the wall (b).

Keep the tempo slow and your core engaged so you don’t bend your back as you lower back to the starting position.

Tone up Every inch of Your Body With This Easy to Follow Gym Ball Workout

BONUS AB MOVES

Once you’ve finished the circuit, do these moves to hit your abs and work your core.

Reps: 10

Sets: 3

Start in a push-up position, hands on the floor but with your shins on the gym ball (a).

Keeping your body in a straight line from your ankles to your head, contract your abs and use your feet to pull the ball towards your chest by bending your knees. Don’t lift your bottom (b).

Pause, then push your legs back out to the starting position without bending your back or sinking your abs.

Tone up Every inch of Your Body With This Easy to Follow Gym Ball Workout
Tone up Every inch of Your Body With This Easy to Follow Gym Ball Workout

2. LOWER-BODY TWISTERS

Reps: 10 to each side

Sets: 3

Lie on your back with your arms by your sides and abs pulled in.

Hold the ball between your lower legs and the backs of your thighs.

Squeeze the ball between your legs, then lower your legs to your left as far as you can, keeping

your core tight (a).

Reverse the movement all the way to the right (b), and continue to alternate back and forth, keeping your shoulders glued to the flor.

STRETCH IT OUT

Once you’ve finished your circuit, don’t forget to stretch using these gym-ball moves.

FULL-BODY STRETCH

Start by sitting on your gym ball and walk your legs forward.

Wrap your body back over the ball and stretch your hands up overhead as you let the ball support

your body. Hold for 20 seconds.

Tone up Every inch of Your Body With This Easy to Follow Gym Ball Workout

DOWN DOG

Kneel behind the ball with your hands firmly on the top (a).

Apply pressure to the ball as you stand up, straightening your legs and bringingyour heels towards the floor (b).

With your arms straight out in front of you on the ball and your body in a V shape,let your head hang between your arms. Breathe and hold for 20 seconds.

Tone up Every inch of Your Body With This Easy to Follow Gym Ball Workout
Tone up Every inch of Your Body With This Easy to Follow Gym Ball Workout

GETTHE MOST FROM YOUR GYM BALL

‘Beware, an under- or over-inflated ball will not perform correctly,’ says Steve Barrett, author of The Total Gym Ball Workout (A&C Black, £14.99). ‘If the ball is too soft, you’ll sink down into it and if it’s over- inflated, you’ll balance on top of it, rather than it moulding to your body shape.’ Here’s how to get the most out of it. ‘Inflate your gym ball to about 80 per cent of its total inflation,’ says Barrett, ‘then leave it for 24 hours to allow the material to settle, before inflating it fully.’‘Beware, an under- or over-inflated ball will not perform correctly,’ says Steve Barrett, author of The Total Gym Ball Workout (A&C Black, £14.99). ‘If the ball is too soft, you’ll sink down into it and if it’s over- inflated, you’ll balance on top of it, rather than it moulding to your body shape.’ Here’s how to get the most out of it. ‘Inflate your gym ball to about 80 per cent of its total inflation,’ says Barrett, ‘then leave it for 24 hours to allow the material to settle, before inflating it fully.’

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