June 27, 2013
Everybody wants to rock shorts, summer dresses, and sleeveless shirts. Summertime is often when many of feel inspired to sculpt and tone the body, the warm season bringing with it a new motivation to move and have fun in the sun and feel confident in our own skin.
To get in shape from head-to-toe, combine strength training and cardio for a full-body workout. Too often we only perform exercises for our “trouble spots” in hopes that we will tone up and reduce body fat, but this is a myth. A full-body workout, targeting all muscle groups, and from various angles, helps to develop an all-around sculpted, sexy body.
Have you heard the saying “Strong is the new sexy”? Well, it’s time to get strong with the help of the stability ball. A primary benefit of exercising with the stability ball as opposed to exercising on a hard, flat surface is that the body responds to the instability of the ball to remain balanced. This instability created by the ball requires the body to engage more muscles, particularly those of the core—the abdominals and the low back. This piece of equipment offers new ways to gain strength, enhance balance, improve flexibility and improve posture, which are all essential to bringing “sexy back.”
Bring it on! Tank top-ready arms and lean legs are just around the corner. Perform these exercises in a circuit-style format, performing 15 reps of each exercise and repeating for three rounds all the way through.
Chest Press with Hip Lifts (targets chest, arms, glutes)
- Grab a pair of hand weights and lie on the stability ball, positioning the ball so your head and shoulders are resting on the top of the ball.
- Keep the feet flat, toes pointed forward, knees bent at 90 degrees and hips lifted toward the ceiling.
- Reach the arms toward the ceiling, palms facing out and hand weights directly over the chest.
- At the same time, lower the hips and weights down, and then press the hips and weights back up toward the ceiling.
- Focus on contracting glutes to press the hips to the ceiling, engage the abdominal muscles to find stability and contract the chest muscles at the top of the press.
Standing Ball Squeeze with Biceps Curl: (targets biceps, inner thighs)
- Grab a pair of hand weights and place the stability ball in between the legs. Your knees should be to the outside and toward the back of the ball.
- Roll to the top of the ball in a kneeling position and keep toes anchored to the floor.
- Keeping constant pressure, squeeze the ball between the legs while performing the biceps curl.
- Focus on squeezing the ball and keeping the body upright. During the biceps curl, keep the arms close to the body.
Wall Lunge (targets legs)
- Grab a pair of hand weights and place the stability ball against a wall and gently lean against it. Position the top of the ball into the small of your back, but make contact with your tailbone, low and mid-back. Your right foot should be positioned 6 to 12 inches in front of your body, with your left foot behind you, anchored to the wall.
- Lower down into a lunge position, bringing the front thigh parallel the floor, then press back up to standing. The work should be in the front leg.
- Repeat and lunge on the left side.
- Focus on pressing through the glute on the front leg. Squeeze the glute on the back leg to increase flexibility in the hip flexor.
Prone Back Extension with “Y” Raises (targets upper back, shoulders, glutes)
- Grab a pair of hand weights, anchor your feet to the wall, and place the stability ball underneath the hips and abdomen. Knees and hand weights should be on the floor in quadruped position.
- At the same time, push off the ball to lengthen the legs and lift the upper body up while raising the arms into the letter “Y.”
- Release, bringing the body back to quadruped position.
- Focus on engaging the glutes when pushing off the wall. Keep the abdominals lifted and engaged instead of giving into the roundness of the ball. Retract and depress the shoulder girdle while lifting the arms.
Squat to Ball Overhead (targets chest, arms, shoulders, legs)
- Begin by holding onto a stability ball at chest level. Position the legs slightly wider than the hips, turning the toes outward.
- Lower down into a wide squat position and touch the ball to the ground
- Stand up and raise the stability ball overhead.
- While the ball is overhead, add a jump to increase the load of the legs and to add an element of cardio.
- Focus on pressing the hands into the ball to activate the upper body. Shift the hips back to sit on the glutes, and retract and depress the shoulder girdle while the ball moves overhead.
Stephanie Thielen, BS, has a fitness career that spans over 24 years with experience in group fitness training and management in the community, corporate and collegiate setting. As an ACE Group Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer, two-time IDEA Presenter, NETA trainer, AEA Trainer, and BOSU National Master Trainer, Stephanie provides land and aquatic workshops that teach logical methods for class construction, providing the “tools of the trade” to assist fitness professionals develop their teaching skills. Find Stephanie on Facebook at Stephanie Thielen Fitness, LLC.