In Exercise

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.

  1. Roll out so knees are right over heels
  2. Make sure your head is resting on the ball and neck is relaxed
  3. Keep your hips elevated in “table top” position with knees, hips, and shoulders in alignment
  4. As you get lift weights to the ceiling, straighten but don’t lock the elbows
  5. Bring you elbows down to your torso but don’t allow the elbows to drop below you body
  6. When you’re ready to sit up, bring the weights into your chest and roll up engaging your core.
  7. 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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