Monday, February 01, 2010


This week we showed them how to “have a ball” in their training by using an exercise stability ball for their entire workout. Stability balls can be used for a wide variety of exercises, and are always a great addition to any exercise program.

They did three exercises, while their partner did jogged three laps around the outside of the room. Then they rotated. After everyone finished round one, they learned another three exercises while their partner jogged, and so on. Before they knew it, they’d completed four rounds, and learned 12 new exercises. I’ve included the routine here in case you’d like to try it.

Here’s what you do. To perform a crunch on the ball, you start by lying down backwards with the center of the ball around the small of your back. Be careful not to get to far back beyond the ball because you could flip backward over the ball. Trust me, I’ve seen it happen—and it happens quite quickly!

But you also have to be far enough back on the ball to use your core. If your upper back is on the ball, you won’t be working your core enough, so you have to find that perfect balance point. Since the ball will want to roll, you have to use more abdominal muscles along with your other stabilizer muscles to try and keep the ball from moving while you rise up to a sitting position. That’s why they call it a stability ball.

Once you get comfortable with regular crunches, I like to start on the pushups. This time, get on the ball face down, and roll out until your hands are on the floor in front of the ball, and your shins or feet are on the ball. Just doing that can be a challenge.

Once you’re comfortable with that, it’s time to hold that plank-like position while doing pushups. The ball will want to roll to the side, so you’ll have to tighten your core, especially your oblique muscles (sides). It takes concentration to hold that ball steady, especially when you’re doing pushups!

The next exercise is a squat while holding the ball out in front of you. It provides a good counter-balance during the squatting motion, and also requires you to keep your upper body nice and straight. This also works a lot of core and stabilizer muscles.

Once you’ve done the crunch, the pushup, and the squat with the ball, you can learn some other exercises to get you through another 2 or 3 rounds. This time, instead of just a crunch, lean backwards and try to touch the floor with your hands. Then, sit-up all the way forward, and cross over your hands to touch the opposite foot. Repeat on the other side.

This time, instead of a pushup, you’ll maintain the pushup position but try to bring your knees into your chest. You’ll basically be rolling the ball in toward you. These are pretty tough, but doable.

For the squat, this time, hold the ball directly overhead and then squat. It’s much tougher than the other way. Remember to try to always keep your upper body upright, with good posture.

For the third round, lay on the ball again, but at the same time, try lifting one foot off the ground. Then do the other foot. Once you can maintain your balance, try doing the crunch like that.

In the pushup position, instead of doing the knee-in, you’ll be trying for a pike on the ball. While keeping your legs straight, lift your hips up in the air as high as possible. These are called pikes.

For the squat movement, do sumo squats this time. While holding the ball to your chest, lift one leg up in the air and then put it down in a wide stance. Then lift the other leg up high and put it down in a wide stance, and so on.

For the fourth and final round, you perform the exercise on your back on the floor, holding the ball with your feet, between your legs. Bring the ball up by lifting your legs, and grab the ball with both hands. Touch the ball to the floor behind your head with your arms outstretched while putting your feet back down on the floor. Then bring the ball back so you can grab it with your feet again, and so on.

In the pushup position on the ball, this time you’ll combine all three movements by doing a pushup, then bringing your knees in, and finishing with a pike. Repeat. This is pretty tasking.

The last lower body exercise is to do walking lunges while holding the ball overhead. Step far enough in front of you where your knee is bent but you can still see your toes. Make sure you bend your back leg, and come off your heel so that only the ball of your back foot is touching. Then step forward again with a walking lunge with the other leg.

These 12 exercises will definitely help you develop a strong core, and you’ll be working your whole body at the same time. The goal is to start working some of these exercises into your regular routine. Give them a try.

The Biggest Loser in the Friday night group was Chris Chapman, who lost 1.9% of his body weight and 3.8 lbs. Second place went to Shawn Bowers, who lost 1.8% and 5.2 lbs. Heather Gill took 3rd place, losing 1.6% and 2.4 lbs. Jim Huxford was 4th, losing 1.5% and 3.2 lbs, and Sheri Tyler and Scott Block tied for 5th, losing 1.4% and 3.0 and 3.2 lbs respectively.

In the Saturday morning group, the Biggest Loser was Jennifer Bowers, who lost 1.7% and 3.4 lbs. Cheri Dosch scored 2nd, by losing 1.6% and 2.4 lbs. Third place was a tie between Dale Rasmussen and Joan Brown, who both lost 1.2% and 3.2 lbs and 2.0 lbs respectively. Melissa White finished 5th, losing 1.0% of her body weight and 1.4 lbs.

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