Try This Thursday!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


On my trip home from work yesterday, my mind once again started buzzing with blog ideas (so much so I almost missed my exit, oops). I am, admittedly, a creature of habit. I find comfort in a schedule and planning ahead. One thing I don't like to get in to much of habit of is doing the same workouts day in and day out. For one thing, it's boring, and most importantly, it's not the most effective way to workout. After doing a certain exercise over and over again the exact same way, your body starts to adapt and you stop seeing results.

So with that in mind, I decided to start a new blog tradition, "Try This Thursday." Every Thursday, I will try to post new exercises, workout ideas, recipes, or anything else new I think we should all try. Feel free to take the ideas or leave them, but I hope it encourages all of us to try new things! Variety is the spice of life after all!

This week, I decided to share five stability ball exercises I am adding to my strength training routine this week.

Ball Twist

Your entire body will thank you for this exercise! Get into a push up position with the feet on either side of the ball (turning your ankles so that you are hugging the ball).  Hold body in a straight line with abs pulled in, hips straight and hands directly under shoulders.  Slowly rotate the ball to the right while trying to keep your shoulders level, then to the left.  Repeat for 12-16 reps, alternating sides. [source]

Ball Rotation

I love this exercise because you can really feel it in your obliques, but you get a nice little bonus for your glutes as well. Lie with ball under shoulders and lower back and hold a light-medium medicine ball over the chest.  Hold your body in a straight line from hips to knees. Tightening your glutes and abs, slowly twist your body to the left, sweeping med ball parallel to the floor, then back up, repeating on the other side.  Watch your knees on this move and allow them to turn naturally with the body so you don't injure them.  Repeat for 12-16 reps, alternating sides. [source]

Frog Jump

This exercise really torches your entire lower body; glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps! Stand behind a stability ball on floor, legs slightly wider than hip-width apart, toes turned out. Squat all the way down, bending knees deeper than 90 degrees, and place hands on either side of ball. Press elbows into insides of thighs to deepen the stretch. Pushing off with your legs and glutes, jump as high as you can, pointing toes and straightening your legs while lifting ball overhead, arms extended. Repeat 5 to 8 times. [source]

Push Up on the Ball

Like all push ups, this exercise works your chest and entire upper body, but by adding the ball your core really has to work to keep you still. Lie with your abdomen on an exercise ball and walk your hands forward on the floor until the ball rests under your thighs. Pull your navel in toward your spine, bending your elbows. Lower your upper body to the floor. Hold this position for three seconds, and then push up so your elbows are straight but not locked. Keep your head in line with your spine and your abs engaged. Start with 5 reps, working up to 15. Once you've mastered 15 reps, rest for one minute and then do a second set. [source] Tip: If you want to up the intensity walk your hands out further so your shins or ankles are on the ball.

Plank to Pike

This exercise works your lower back, core and shoulders! Take an exercise ball and lie on top of it with your shins on the ball and your palms on the floor under your shoulders. Now use your abs and legs, rolling the ball to your middle, lifting your hips and keeping your head down between your arms. (Your body should be in an inverted "V" shape.) Hold here for 1 count and then roll back to the start. Do 10-12 reps. Be sure to pull your abs in and keep your head even with your spine as you move in and out of the "V". If your not quite ready for the full pike, just pull your knees in towards your chest like you are doing a tuck. I promise it is still a killer workout. [source]

Try inserting one or all of these exercise into your next strength routine, and let me know what you think!

Food for thought:
Do you ever feel like you get in an exercise rut?
What do you do to bust out of that rut?

In health,

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