Exercise balls are convenient and economical tools to use either at the gym or at home. There are dozens of exercises you can do with a ball. To substitute a ball for a bench you want to first be safe. All the little details matter!
Make sure you’re confident doing any exercise on a stable surface first before adding a ball to the mix. You may also want to reduce the weight you’re able to do while you adapt to the new and unstable environment of a round base. If, for instance you’re able to lift 20 pound dumbbells on a bench, you may want to use 15 or less while you adapt to the ball.
To use a ball to do a chest press, choose a ball that allows your hips to be slightly higher than your knees when you’re in a seated position. Then follow the tips below.
- Roll out so knees are right over heels
- Make sure your head is resting on the ball and neck is relaxed
- Keep your hips elevated in “table top” position with knees, hips, and shoulders in alignment
- As you get lift weights to the ceiling, straighten but don’t lock the elbows
- Bring you elbows down to your torso but don’t allow the elbows to drop below you body
- When you’re ready to sit up, bring the weights into your chest and roll up engaging your core.
- It helps to have a mat on the floor (instead of carpeting or a slippery wooden floor).
While the ball does allow you to engage more muscles and use your core it may not allow you to use as heavy a weight as a stable surface. Know your objective before choosing your exercise and props. If your goal is weight loss or bone density, save the ball to challenge your balance during core exercises.
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