A gym ball or an exercise ball is made of soft elastic with a diameter of approximately 35 to 85 centimeters and it is filled with air. It is used in physical therapy, weight training, athletic training and regular exercise. There are numerous names for this ball like the balance ball, fitness ball, pilates ball, or the birth ball. It has been proved to be of great help in improving cardio endurance, balance and strength. For those recovering from injuries, gym ball exercises are very effective as they reduce spinal and muscle strain during movements. Most people may think that these exercises are more child-like, but they aren’t as easy as they appear and need to be performed in the right manner to produce results. Here are a few gym ball exercises that you can try if you are a beginner.
1. Over-Head Ball Squat
In this exercise, both your arms and legs are put to use. While holding the ball over your head, bend your knees and do a squat. Performing 10 to 15 of these, strengthens your arms, shoulders and deltoid muscles. This is an easy and effective exercise and all that is required is a gym ball.
2. Standing Ball Squeeze
This exercise works on your hips, lower back and inner thighs. First, stand straight and place the ball between your legs, next to your knees. Then squat down, forming a 90-degree angle and squeeze the ball. Remain in this position for as long as possible and stay balanced. The bigger the ball, the tougher it is to perform this exercise. Beginners can take the support of a wall or chair, if they find it too hard to stand straight. Perform this 10 times for 35-45 seconds for effective results.
3. Standing Plank
This exercise benefits your shoulders and arms and increases the intensity of a normal plank. Take your left leg and stretch it behind, while resting your arms and elbows on the ball. Take your right leg and stretch it behind, making both the feet meet. Do this 6 times, 30 seconds per set.
4. Triceps Dip
This exercise works on your upper body and strengthens your triceps and biceps. To perform it, you need to sit on the ball with your legs forming a 90-degree angle. Keep your knees apart from each other and place your hands on your hips. Slowly move your hips forward so that they are a few inches in front of the ball. Then, use your triceps to lower your arms down a few inches and return to the starting position. Make sure your back remains upright and repeat this 10-15 times.
5. Ball Jog
This exercise strengthens your core and makes it firm. Sit up straight on the ball with your feet firmly pressed on the ground. Move your knees up and down to bounce on the ball. Try to bounce as high as possible and for 2 to 5 minutes for 5 sets. This will keep your heart rate up and can also be used as a warm-up exercise.
6. Hands off
This exercise works on your abs and core. To perform it you need to lie flat on your back on the ground, with your arms and legs stretched out. Hold the ball over your head with both your hands and transfer the ball from your hands to your feet. Continue this movement repeatedly and make sure that only your hips and butt touch the ground.
Always remember to get proper guidance from your fitness trainer before you embark on a new journey.