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I am a teacher, fitness/yoga instructor, runner, celebrity stalker, chocolate lover, embarrassing dancer, wine guzzler, can't-live-without-my-girlfriends kind of girl. I also have a collection of high heels that strongly outweighs my collection of runners. My goal is to find balance in my life through health and exercise- and when I say balance, I mean kicking ass in the gym and enjoying food, wine, family, friends, and basking in celebrity news. Let's eat clean and do some craaahaaayzy workouts together... followed by a glass of wine.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Create Your Own Home Gym: The Stability Ball 1

Pin It Welcome to the first installment of the Home Gym Creator! I'm a big believer in making fitness accessible, so I will be bringing you different pieces of equipment that you can buy and store at home- giving you the option to quickly complete a home workout (and furthermore- no more "I couldn't get to the gym" excuses!). Otherwise, most of the equipment pieces that I will showcase are available at your gym, if you prefer to use it there.

Up first: the Stability Ball! Aka: the balance ball, aka: the fitness ball, aka: the big ball, aka: that mother#%@$ing ball that kicks the crap out of me but is fun to sit on (to quote Phoebe Buffay, "for the woman in you.").

Nice ball. 
Brands: Energizer, SPARQ, Isokinetics, Thera-Band, etc.

Cost: Can be as low as $14.99 and as high as $69.99, depending on brand and durability (usually comes with a pump)

Where to buy: Winner's, Chapters, Fitness Source, Fitness Depot, Shopper's Drug Mart, National Sports, and pretty much any store that has anything to do with sports and/or fitness.

You can't go wrong with any brand of the stability ball. What you want to look for is the size- based on your HEIGHT and not your weight- "small" balls (ha!) are for those about 5'4" and under (55cm ball), medium between 5'5" and 5'10" (65cm ball), and big (I won't go there) 5'10" and over (75cm ball). The one I'm holding above would be a medium. Don't fret too much about this- but if you are tall and you use a small ball, it will become much more challenging due to the smaller surface area. 

If you can test out the stability ball before buying, sit on the ball- if you are directly on the top, in the middle, and your knees are 90 degrees to the ground, it's the right size for you. 

There are literally HUNDREDS of exercises you can do on the stability ball. I've demonstrated 10 muscular endurance exercises in the video below (more to come!!!). For a great workout, complete 4 sets of 10 reps of all the exercises- will take you about 20 minutes!

Exercise Notes: 
Squat- place stability ball at the small of your back on a sturdy wall, bringing the knees 90 degrees to the ground
One-Legged Squat- Same as above, but really lean back into the ball for extra support, ensuring your knee does not pass the toe. Make sure you do both sides! :)
Push Ups on wall- Elbows wide, feet shoulder-width apart behind you, bring chest as close to ball as possible
Mountain Climbers- place ball against wall and alternate bringing knees into chest
Sit Ups- sit directly on top of the ball, and then move about 3-6 inches forward so you are sitting on the edge of the ball. Lean back, keeping elbows wide, and place toes against the wall. Brace the abdominals and sit up!
Push Ups on ball- place chest on ball and roll forward, placing your hands on the ground until the ball reaches your thighs. For more advanced push ups, keep moving the ball back to the shins and the ankles. Bring elbows wide until 90 degrees.
Jack Knife- Same position as push up, bend the knees into the chest and back to starting position.
Advanced Jack Knife- Bring hips to the ceiling while keeping the legs straight.
Sit Ups with legs up- place calves on ball, back on the ground. Lift shoulderblades off the ground.
Abdominal Leg Lifts- start with ball between the knees. Pass ball to hands, lifting ball overhead and straightening the legs in front of you. Bring ball back to knees and tap feet to ground. Repeat.
The stability ball makes a great gift for all ages- you can even activate your core by using the ball in place of a chair at work (try sitting on it for 20 minute intervals), or try sitting on the ball instead of your couch for 20 minutes while watching television.

Do you own a stability ball? Would you try any of these exercises?