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Tone up with the exercise ball


The exercise ball is a great workout tool. In addition to the muscles activated during the exercises, using an exercise ball also makes other stabilizing and balancing muscles of the body work. Here are 5 exercises designed to tone several muscles of the body. They are relatively easy to perform but yield impressive results.

You can integrate all of these exercises into your exercise program, or try using one at a time. Perform 2 sets of each exercise with a 45 to 60 seconds pause between sets.

For optimal results, aim for 3 to 4 sessions a week with at least one day off in between.

Exercise 1: Ball squat with front raise
Target areas: Legs and shoulders
Accessories: Exercise ball and dumbbells
How many: 2 sets of 15 to 20 repetitions.
Execution: Put the ball between your lower back and the wall, with your feet at shoulder’s length and slightly forward, and the dumbbells in your hands hanging out at each side (A). Flex your knees to a 90° angle while lifting your arms in front of your body up to shoulder’s height (B). Complete a full extension without locking your knees while bringing your arms to your sides, and then back to initial position. Repeat.

Exercise 2: One-leg lunges with rear feet on ball
Target areas
: Legs and glutes
: Exercise ball and dumbbells
How many
: 2 sets of 15 to 20 repetitions on each side.
: Position the top of your foot on the ball while holding the dumbbells in your hands hanging out at each side (A). By pushing the ball backwards, flex your front knee without bending your torso forward. The front knee should not be allowed to go further than the toes while flexing (B). To return to initial position, perform a complete extension of the front knee without locking it. Repeat with the same leg, and then switch to the other side.

If you need more balance, stay close to a wall and use your hand, or place your hands on the back of a chair.

Exercise 3: Alternate curl
Target area: Biceps
Accessories: Exercise ball and dumbbells
How many: 2 sets of 12 repetitions on each side for a total of 24 repetitions.
Execution: Sit on the ball with the dumbbells in your hands and your arms hanging out each side (A). Flex your forearm by placing your hand in supination and holding your elbow close to your body (B). Lower your arm and repeat with opposite arm (C). Avoid rolling backward. Repeat.

Exercise 4: Push-up with feet on the ball
Target area: Pectorals
Accessories: Exercise ball
How many: 2 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.
Execution: With your feet on the ball and your hands on the ground (A), flex your elbows until your nose is 1 cm away from the ground (B). To return to initial position, perform a complete extension without locking your elbows. Repeat.

Exercise 5: Hand-to-feet ball pass
Target area: Abs
Accessories: Exercise ball
How many: 2 sets of 10 repetitions.
Execution: From a straddling position (A), take the ball with your ankles and position yourself in a “V” (B). Come back to straddle position (C) and take the ball with your hands when forming the “V” once again (D). One complete exchange represents one repetition. Repeat.

By Karine Larose

Pictures: Mathieu St-Ours, personal trainer at the St-Hyacinthe Nautilus Plus club.

Karine Larose, M.Sc.

Karine Larose is a kinesiologist, Director of Marketing and Communications and Spokesperson for Nautilus Plus who specializes in fitness motivation. She authored The Guide to Healthier Living, penned the book 10-4 The Healthy Way to Lose 10 Pounds in 4 Weeks and released her third work called Zero Diet: Delicious and Healthy Recipes for Success, all by Les Éditions du TRÉCARRÉ. Karine has launched a series of exercise DVDs entitled 30 minutes par jour pour Vivre Plus and is featured on the ULTIME FIT online platform. Many TV shows and radio stations regularly request Karine’s point of view on physical exercise issues and points of interest.

Tone up with the exercise ball is a post from I'm taking charge. I'm taking charge is a blog that aims to help people in their journey to fitness through articles on training, nutrition, motivation, exercise and healthy recipes.
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