Gym balls, or exercise balls as they are commonly called, have become quite popular in recent years. There are a number of great exercises you can do with one and the advantages are staggering. Gym balls provide more resistance to the target muscle groups by creating an unstable base, thereby increasing muscle recruitment and the benefits you actually receive from the exercises you perform. They also enable you to do exercises at home, yet another perk of owning your very own exercise ball.
The superman exercise performed on the ball develops the erector spinai muscles and glutes. Performing the superman exercise on a swiss ball increased the demand placed on your core muscles. By holding your arms at your side you also stretch the chest and shoulders. This allows you to develop strength-endurance in your back while stretching the upper body. Keep your feet apart for more stability and closer together for increase difficulty. You can start out with one set of ten to 20 reps and work your way up from there, increasing the number of sets and repetitions as you go.
Trunk extensions are another great exercise that can be accomplished by using a gym ball. These are great for strengthening your lower back. Lower yourself to your knees and drape the upper half of your body over the top of the gym ball. You can either place your hands behind your head or lightly hug the back of the ball with your arms. Lift your chest off the ball until your spine is either slightly extended or straight. Return to your starting position. Again, start with one set of ten to 20 reps and work your way up from there.
Dumbbell flyes are another great gym ball exercise. These work your chest, shoulders, abs and core muscles. The Exercise Ball Dumbbell Fly is a great isolation exercise for strengthening and shaping the chest muscles. And performing this exercise on the ball requires a strong core. Perform the same set and rep regimen as described above.
Another great exercise you can perform with a gym ball is elevated push-ups. These will work your Pecs, shoulders, triceps and abs. Place your knees on the ball and your hands flat on the floor. Your front will be facing down and your body will be parallel to the floor. Looking down at the floor, lower your face until it is a few inches away from it, then push up to the starting position once again. The same applies as discussed above in terms of sets and reps.
Gym balls are relatively inexpensive and easy to maintain. Some are even equipped with their own pumps so you can refill them with air as needed.