According to the manufacturer, this ball puts you in the perfect position to for a core workout that is up to 408% more effective than traditional crunches. The exercises demonstrated on the DVDs are designed to sculpt beautiful abs fast, targeting the upper core, side obliques, and lower abs and also strengthening the back.
Bender ball (which measures 6-9 inches in diameter); The Bender Method of Core Training DVD; The Bender Method for a Strong Healthy Back DVD; The Bender Method of Selective Core Training.
The Bender Ball has become an increasingly popular As Seen on TV feature as individuals seek new and effective ways to strengthen and tone their midsections. With the promise of sculpting beautiful abs fast many consumers wonder if this small ball can really provide the big results they desire.
To evaluate the effectiveness of this portable, easy to use piece of equipment we reviewed three of the Bender Ball DVDs. The first DVD, The Bender Method of Core Training, provides a great introduction to using the Bender Ball, including instructions on how to properly inflate the ball, the importance of breathing throughout the exercises and also provides options on how to increase intensity, which essentially involves lowering back further on to the ball during each exercise. This video goes on to then provide three workouts, as well as demonstrations within each level of how to modify as needed. The Level 1 workout was relatively basic, but serves a great introduction to core training for those who are newer to exercise. Level 2 goes on to incorporate more Pilates type exercises, which provides a refreshing new spin on core training for those who are looking to change up their routine. Finally, Level 3 bumps up the intensity of each exercise resulting in an overall challenging and effective workout which is great for those who are looking to take their core training to the next level.
The second DVD, The Bender Method of Selective Core Training, did provide some variations as to how to modify the exercises as well as how to make them more challenging, but overall the exercises provided in this DVD were relatively basic in nature, some of which would be just as effective with or without the use of the ball.
The third DVD, The Bender Method for a Strong Healthy Back, begins with an introduction on the importance of training the back, which is a key component to ensuring a well-rounded core training program. The workout itself goes on to provide a variety of strengthening and stretching exercises for the back and touches on the importance of alignment, however overall the video left a little something more to be desired.
In all three videos, Leslee does a nice job showcasing the versatility of the Bender Ball and providing a variety of options and continued motivation to ensure the effectiveness of each exercise for varied participant ability levels. She infuses a bit of humor with quality instructions, making the workouts fun and easy to follow.
Overall, using the Bender Ball did provide a new challenge to some traditional abdominal exercises (you’ll feel it the next day); however, the product itself is nothing entirely new. Many other fitness equipment manufacturers sell the same product, known more commonly as a sponge ball. What does make the Bender Ball and sponge balls alike more effective than just simply using another prop, such as a towel or a pillow, is that the ball provides an unstable training surface, requiring increased activation of the muscles of the core. In addition, the material that the ball is made out of enables it to stay properly in place throughout the duration of the exercise.
Bottom line - The Bender Ball serves as another piece in your fitness toolbox that can add variety and challenge to core training.
What we liked:
- Small and portable
- Options given to vary intensity level and make exercises more challenging
- The use of the ball makes certain traditional abdominal exercises more comfortable
What we didn't like:
- Limited amount of exercises provided in some of the DVDs
- A number of the exercises shown were very basic and did not really require the use of the ball
- The product concept is not unique - other companies sell sponge balls which can be used in the same exact fashion as the Bender Ball
March 31, 2010