What Is A Good Workout With An Exercise Ball?

What is a good workout with an exercise ball? Find out what other people from the message boards think ...


TOPIC: What Is A Good Workout With An Exercise Ball?

The Question:

They have become pretty popular, and with good reason. An exercise ball can improve balance and can be difficult to stabilize.

What is a good routine to follow using only an exercise ball?

What kind of results can you expect?

Show off your knowledge to the world!

The Winners:

    Prizes:
      1st place - 75 in store credit.
      2nd place - 50 in store credit.
      3rd place - 25 in store credit.

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1st Place - perldog007

Question:
They have become pretty popular, and with good reason. An exercise ball can improve balance and can be difficult to stabilize.

Agreed, which is why there is one in the perldog007 home fitness complex. Of course in the dog compound we use the stability ball or Swiss ball with weights a bit.

Around here we do abdominal work like crunches without weight and if we are going to be seated in front of the boob tube for a while, say "UFC Unleashed" and "Ultimate Fighter", we may use it for a chair. This will give our stabilizers some play instead of just broadening our backside while we are entertained.

But we are here to talk about something different. You have been kidnapped by the CCCP. No genius not the remnants of the communist party, but the Concerned Chamomile Consuming People.

In their quest to eliminate testosterone from our culture they have gone beyond promoting the metrosexual lifestyle. They have kidnapped you and stranded you in a room with a big pink Swiss ball.

These anti-male forces are so insidious you may not even realize you have been kidnapped. You may think you are on a business trip at a motel with really lame exercise equipment, or just visiting in-laws.

Perception is not what it seems. You are cut off from iron and surrounded by unfriendlies. The only means of preserving your buff build is that big pink Swiss ball in the corner. The rat bastards didn't even have the human decency to obtain a cool looking one, say black with the Everlast logo. Now what do you do?

Well, if I were you, I would have read and practiced the routine below for just such an emergency. Prepare to go plumb bezerk, nothing, not even a lack of equipment will stop you from getting your workout. Now, make like you are using Johnson and Johnson Baby Shampoo and lose the tears. Read on.


Only A Ball

Only an exercise ball, are we joking? What do we do about progressive resistance, periodization, drop sets, pyramiding and all those other cool words we like to throw around? Courage, my troubled friend. Those of us who have been around for a while have seen some bad-ass cats who never really touched a weight.

Anybody who has experienced recruit training in our military, especially a leatherneck, knows that you can get stronger without lifting weights. My son's own mother did not recognize him at graduation due to larger arm muscles and smaller waistline.

Repeat my last, the young man lost fat and gained muscle without weight training. His arms only gained 1/2 inch in the twelve weeks, but with the rest of him getting 25 pounds smaller (185-to-160), the effect was dramatic.

There are some decent articles on this site, and books and videos everywhere. Even Wall-Mart has DVDs' showing Swiss ball routines. By now you should be open to the premise that we can stay pretty fit without weights if we try.

Maybe even gain some strength. Remember, more functional strength means we will be able to move more iron and that means bigger gains when we escape back to the gym.

One of my favorite writers on this site is Mike Mahler. He has developed an excellent bodyweight exercise he calls the Mahler Body Blaster. Mike also wrote an excellent article on a whole routine of just bodyweight exercises.

AUTHOR RECOMMENDED ARTICLE
The Mahler Body Blaster For Exceptional Endurance!
The Mahler Body Blaster is a full body bodyweight exercise that takes the 'burpee' one step further and works just about every muscle in the body. When done for high repetitions (25-30) it will burn fat and increase muscular endurance tremendously.
[ Click here to learn more. ]

Now Mike works with weights as well, but obviously bodyweight exercises have not hurt him and they wont hurt you either. Adding a Swiss ball to the mix will give you the benefits of bodyweight exercise and improve your stabilizers.

We want to make your captivity with the CCCP as productive as possible. You want to train every day. This means we will not be going for muscular failure. By training every day, we are training ourselves to be stronger by getting the muscles to give us better contractions.

This is not a size gaining protocol. This is a strength gaining workout. Our goal is to be stronger when we get back to our beloved iron pile.

With the why covered, let's get on the how. I already knew about several exercises with the ball. I found one for hamstrings and another for the shoulders in a great article by Jeff Turner about working out without a weight room here.

AUTHOR RECOMMENDED ARTICLE
No Weight Room? No Problem!
The reason I bring this up is the constant queries I receive for programs that don't require a weight room and that can be monitored by the coach or done at home.
[ Click here to learn more. ]


The Routine

Question:
What is a good routine to follow using only an exercise ball?

Like many things in life, there is an easy part, and a hard part. The easy part is prescribing exercises with a Swiss ball which will work the entire body. The hard part is prescribing a rep range. This will vary for every individual.

What we want here is to train the muscles to contract. We want to make better use of what we have. We should feel stronger after the workout than when we began. This means we will not train to failure.

You should be able to do this workout every day, even twice a day. Do the exercises in the order of the body parts you want to concentrate on most and do each exercise for as many reps as you can with good form.

If you are experiencing shaking and failure to contract, you are overdoing it. Read some of Pavel's books for a detailed explanation of the concept of training for success, not failure. The Naked Warrior is a good one to start with.

I like to do this routine indoors, or weather permitting, on the lawn always barefoot.

perldog007's Swissball Routine:

  • Swiss ball push-ups.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Swiss Ball Pushups.

Swiss Ball Push-ups Video
Windows Media (148 KB)
MPEG (313 KB)

  • Swiss ball lunges, with toe raise/calf raise at end of rep *


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Swiss Ball Lunges.

Swiss Ball Lunges Video
Windows Media (204 KB)
MPEG (581 KB)

  • Swiss ball crunches.


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Swiss Ball Crunches.

Swiss Ball Crunches Video
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MPEG (552 KB)

  • Hamstring curls on the ball.
    Hold last Hamstring curl at top of rep and do press head back as if doing a neckbridge(s). Use hands if needed.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Hamstring Curls On The Ball.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Last Curl Held At Top Of Rep.

Hamstring Curls Video
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MPEG (724 KB)

Last Curl Held Video
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MPEG (489 KB)

  • Swiss ball supermans, just like on the floor, but you balance on the ball. **


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Swiss Ball Supermans.

Swiss Ball Supermans Video
Windows Media (231 KB)
MPEG (517 KB)

  • Swiss ball leg lifts - leg lifts from floor holding ball between ankles.


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Swiss Ball Leg Lifts.

Swiss Ball Leg Lifts Video
Windows Media (156 KB)
MPEG (326 KB)

  • Swiss ball rotation


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Swiss Ball Rotation.

Swiss Ball Rotation Video
Windows Media (94 KB)
MPEG (575 KB)

  • Swiss ball flexions


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Swiss Ball Flexions.

Swiss Ball Flexions Video
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MPEG (360 KB)

    * Hold ball overhead while lunging, do not try to lunge with rear foot on top of ball, I think that is just weird.
    ** You have to put feet on ground while lifting torso and put hands down while lifting legs and hips.

    Worry about good form first, try to increase reps every few days if form is good.

    Now take a break and watch some television, using your Swiss ball for a chair. Or go troll the teen area in the Bodybuilding.com forums and take a mental beatdown while building your stabilizer muscles sitting on the ball.

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    Do this routine every day at least once. More is better as long as you keep the reps in a range that make you feel stronger at the end of the workout than before you began. If you are going to take a day off, you can push a little harder the day before. If you are taking two or more days off, go for it on the last workout before your break.

    You have many ways to increase resistance. Longer reps, more reps, using one arm instead of two, going 1-legged on hamstring curls, going lower on lunges, use your imagination, work safe. As always consult with your physician before embarking on any exercise program.


Results

Question:
What kind of results can you expect?

If you are a beginner, you may see some size increase from a regimen like this. Most likely you will experience enhanced ability to contract your muscles and be able to lift more.

With routines of this type, assuming a good diet, it is not uncommon to see bodyweight correction. That is, folks with too much weight lose some and those with not enough gain. Your rep range will increase. Your stabilizer muscles will gain like mad.

Overall, you will grow muscles you didn't even know you had. This is what I am after. This routine and some kettlebell exercises will be my routine for November, along with some megadosing of flavones. I will let you know how it goes.

Thank you for reading, and if you don't have one yet, get your Swiss ball here. Train well, live large.

Postscript:

    I am posting this while seated on my SPRI Swiss ball that I got from the Bodybuilding.com store. If you have to sit in front of the computer, sit on a ball and give your core stabilizers some work.

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2nd Place - mivi320
What Is A Good Workout With An Exercise Ball?

The exercise ball is one of the most effective tools for developing core strength and increasing stability. Exercise balls, also known as "Swiss balls," are versatile!

Training with the exercise ball truly challenges your body in ways not possible with traditional gym equipment. Working out with the exercise ball is a revolutionary way to improve your fitness and health!

Exercise balls are widely used by fitness fanatics and professional athletes, and now you too can improve your strength, coordination and core strength with this effective exercise ball workout using only an exercise ball!


The Exercises


Back Extensions

    Lying facedown with the exercise ball under your hips while keeping your hands behind your head, slowly roll down the ball, while keeping your toes planted on the floor. Slowly raise your chest off of the ball, keeping your shoulders head, neck and back in alignment.


    Click Image To Enlarge.
    Back Extensions.

    Back Extension Video
    Windows Media (180 KB)
    MPEG (387 KB)

    Muscles Worked:

    • Lower Back
    • Hamstrings
    • Abdomen
    • Obliques


Supine Oblique Crunch

    Maintaining a crunch position with your arms crossed over your chest, begin to crunch. Proceed to rotate the right side of your upper body toward the left knee. Slowly return to your starting position, and continue to repeat this exercise alternating sides.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Supine Oblique Crunch.

Supine Oblique Crunch Video
Windows Media (245 KB)
MPEG (558 KB)

    Muscles Worked:

    • Abdomen
    • Obliques


Hip Extension

    Lying supine with your legs elevated, and hands planted firmly on the floor next to your sides, slowly extend the hips. Be sure to extend the hips fully, hold the position at the top of the movement for 1-2 seconds then simply return to the starting position.


    Click Image To Enlarge.
    Hip Extension.

    Hip Extension Video
    Windows Media (237 KB)
    MPEG (525 KB)

    Muscles Worked:

    • Glutes
    • Hamstrings
    • Hips


Push-up

    Begin by lying with your chest on the exercise ball. From that point, place your hands at the sides of your chest. Plant your toes on the floor, keeping your legs completely straight.

    Push your body up until your arms are almost straight. Do not lock your elbows. Hold and balance for a count of 2-3 seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat.

    Muscles Worked:

    • Chest
    • Shoulders
    • Triceps
    • Core


Incline Push-up

    Begin by placing your hands on the exercise ball, keeping the abdominals tight and your back completely straight. Simply bend at the elbows and lower yourself a few inches from the exercise ball. Press up, keeping the abdominals tight and back straight and repeat.


    Click Image To Enlarge.
    Incline Push-up.

    Incline Push-up Video
    Windows Media (134 KB)
    MPEG (277 KB)

    Muscles Worked:

    • Chest
    • Shoulders
    • Triceps
    • Core


Prone Opposite Arm/Leg Raise

    Begin by lying in a prone position on the exercise ball, keeping your right foot extended behind you. Have your right foot firmly planted on the floor. Have your left arm elevated out in front of your body, while keeping your right hand planted firmly on the floor.

    It is vital to keep your torso rounded over the ball for balance and support. Proceed to elevate the left arm and right leg slowly simultaneously, emphasizing a complete range of motion. Hold each contraction for a total of 1-2 seconds, and then slowly return to the starting position. Continue to repeat this exercise by alternating sides.


    Click Image To Enlarge.
    Prone Opposite Arm/Leg Raise.

    Prone Opposite Arm/Leg Raise Video
    Windows Media (223 KB)
    MPEG (6569 KB)

    Muscles Worked:

    • Shoulders
    • Glutes
    • Hamstrings
    • Spinal Extensors


Squats

    Begin by placing the exercise ball between a wall and your upper back. Proceed by placing your feet shoulder width apart and far enough forward to perform a squat keeping your thighs parallel to the floor. Remember to push up through the heels, not your toes!


    Click Image To Enlarge.
    Squats.

    Squat Video
    Windows Media (152 KB)
    MPEG (647 KB)

    Muscles Worked:

    • Quads
    • Glutes
    • Hamstrings
    • Calves
    • Core


Lunges

    Begin by keeping an upright position, and placing one foot on the exercise ball. Simply bend the other knee and continue to lower your body until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Push-up (through the heels) and return to the starting position, and repeat the movement with the other leg.


    Click Image To Enlarge.
    Lunges.

    Lunges Video
    Windows Media (192 KB)
    MPEG (464 KB)

    Muscles Worked:

    • Quads
    • Glutes
    • Hamstrings
    • Calves
    • Core


The Routine

Question:
What is a good routine to follow using only an exercise ball?

Most of you reading this are thinking; can I even have a good workout using only the exercise ball? Yes, you can! The following routine is one I use from time to time, and let me tell you, I'm absolutely drenched in sweat after completing this workout!

The routine is one which emphasizes on circuit training. Circuit training is a method in which you progress from one particular exercise to the next with little to no rest in between sets. Rest periods will be kept to 20 seconds in between sets with this program.

The Circuit Is As Follows:

  • Exercise Ball Push-up [ View Above ]
  • Incline Push-up [ View Above ]
  • Prone Opposite Arm/Leg Raise [ View Above ]
  • Squats [ View Above ]
  • Lunges [ View Above ]
  • Supine Oblique crunch [ View Above ]
  • Hip Extension [ View Above ]
  • Back Extension [ View Above ]

    Click Here For A Printable Log Of mivi320's Exercise Ball Routine.

    The rep range for each exercise is to be kept within the 8-15 rep range. Each exercise is to be performed once with 20 seconds in between sets. So basically you are to perform the first exercise, rest 20 seconds, then proceed to the next. This will greatly improve your conditioning, increase aerobic and anaerobic capacity, elevate metabolism, increase strength levels and improve your core and stabilizing muscles!

    Resistance can easily be added to this program by either increasing the number of reps each workout or the number of times you run through the circuit.


Results

Question:
What kind of results can you expect?

I started seeing results with this program just after two weeks of using it. I had developed new muscles I never thought I had. My core and stabilizing muscles greatly improved as well, which conclusively helped me bring up my core lifts such as the barbell squat, deadlift, and bench press!

With this program, my conditioning and flexibility also increased considerably. You too, can expect amazing results using this program! With time you will experience better muscle contractions, conditioning, improved core stability and changes in body composition!

Good luck with all of your fitness goals!
Mike