Written with love, by Nikki Lian
Last week I shared some simple exercises to target your abdominal area while using the exercise ball. Again, an exercise or stability ball helps improve your core strength during your workouts. And to recap, your “core” muscles include the muscles of your abdominals, back and around your pelvis.
Although a workout on the exercise ball targets your core, who says that’s the only thing we can target? It’s not! I love having my clients use this simple piece of equipment to work and tone their legs as well. Here are a few exercises you can add to last week’s routine to strengthen your bottom half:
Find a nice, flat wall you can use for this exercise. Place the ball at the curve of your back, and don’t be afraid to lean into the ball. Your feet should be shoulder width apart, with your back straight and your hands on your hips.
Proceed to do a low squat, like you’re aiming to sit on a chair. Leaning into the stability ball allows you to go lower than you would by doing a standing squat. Make sure your knees are not passing your toes—you want your weight to go into your quads and glutes. Once in a squat come back up to starting position.
You can make this exercise harder by holding your squat for ten seconds each rep and then coming back up. You can also alter this exercise to work your inner thighs by widening your stance and turning your feet out.
Walking Lunges with Ball Extensions
With the exercise ball in both hands, step into a forward lunge and extend the ball opposite of the leg you’ve stepped out with up to the sky. You should feel a nice stretch in your abdominal area. At the same time you step into starting position, lower the ball. Then alternate, extending the ball to the opposite side of each leg you lunge with, bringing the ball back down when you’re in standing position.
Exercise Ball Extensions
Lay flat on your back, with your hands at your sides for balance. Starting with your knees pulled in and both of your heels on the ball, push your legs out straight and pop your hips up as if you were doing a bridge. Bring your torso back down to the ground and then pull the ball into starting position, and repeat. To make this exercise a bit more challenging you can hold your bridge for ten seconds during each repetition.
So there you have it. Each of these stability ball exercises stayed true to the core, but added a workout to the thighs, glutes, and hamstrings. Who needs a gym? All you need is a large, air filled ball to get a good workout in! Exercise balls can be found at a variety of stores, including Target, Walmart and any sporting good store.