08 July, 2011
Half Stability Ball Exercises
A half stability ball helps enhance balance and stabilize muscles, and you can incorporate this piece of equipment into your overall exercise routine to make your workouts more challenging. A number of different manufacturers make half stability balls, and they are all slightly different. However, most half stability balls look like a round piece of wood or plastic connected to a half-rubber ball or bubble.
Squats train the large muscles in your legs, including the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings. Adding a half stability ball to the exercise makes the movement more difficult by adding an element of instability. This instability trains your core muscles as you twist and pivot to maintain balance. The half stability ball also helps train the smaller stabilizer muscles in your legs. To perform a squat, turn the half stability ball so that the bubble faces downward. Stand on the flat surface with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees until your upper thigh creates a 90-degree angle with your lower leg. Extend your arms out in front of you as you squat to help maintain your balance. Extend your knees and stand upright. For increased difficulty, turn the half stability ball upside down and stand on the bubble side.
Standing Hip Abduction
The standing hip abduction trains the muscles in your hips and lower back. This exercise helps improve posture and can minimize lower back pain and weakness. Adding a half stability ball to the standing hip abduction also trains the abdominal muscles and helps enhance balance. To perform the standing hip abduction, stand with one foot in the center of the bubble of the half stability ball. Extend your other foot outward to the side approximately 12 to 16 inches. Keep your hips and back straight. Hold that position momentarily, and bring your foot back toward your body without letting the foot touch the half stability ball.
A pushup is a compound exercise that trains the muscles in your forearms, shoulders, back, chest and upper arm. With the half stability ball, you can also train the abs, obliques and lower back. Adding the stability ball also makes performing a pushup much more difficult, so you should not attempt pushups with the half stability ball unless you can already perform at least 10 pushups without equipment. To perform the pushup, position the half stability ball so that the bubble is facing downward. Crouch to your hands and knees, and place one hand on each side of the stability ball. Either place your hands flat on the surface of the board, or grip each side of the board. Straighten your body and touch your toes to the ground. Bend your elbows so that your chest comes down to the stability ball's board. Hold the position momentarily, and then push yourself back up.
Crunches are an ab exercise that you can enhance with the half stability ball. In addition to training the muscles of the upper and lower abdominal region, crunches performed on the stability ball also target the obliques and lower back. This type of crunch can put a bit more strain on the neck, so make sure you use the proper form. Sit in the center of the half stability ball with the bubble side upward. With your feet firmly planted on the floor, lay back so that your upper body is parallel to the floor. Put your hands behind your neck to support your head, and slowly bring your shoulders up until you feel a contraction in your ab muscles. Hold momentarily, and then move your shoulders back down.
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