Q: What do you think of the increasing number of people that are doing their pressing exercises on those multi-colored stability balls?
A: Stability balls are rapidly becoming essential pieces of equipment around gyms and more and more serious bodybuilders are starting to realize their potential. The biggest challenge to hardcore trainers, of course, is the realization that they will have to reduce their weights, especially when they first begin to train with a stability ball. The thing that has to be remembered, though, is that the weight is merely a tool and what really matters is how intensely the muscles are actually being worked. With a stability ball the work-out is more intense. That’s because in addition to acting as action stabilizers, your muscles must provide balance stabilization. This recruits the lower back, abs and thighs into your upper body pressing movements. As well as strengthening these core muscles, exercising on a stability ball will improve your overall balance and stability as well as improving nervous system activation. For those of you who are still skeptical as to whether these over sized beach balls are for real bodybuilders, here’s a couple of stability ball arm exercises that that may just make you a believer. Try them out and gauge the results for yourself:
Lean Away Stability Ball Curls
Sit with your back and triceps leaning against the side of a Stability Ball that is propped up to the wall, a pair of dumbbells at your feet. Grab the dumbbells and curl them up as you would in a conventional incline dumbbell curl. In the top position, however, raise your hips so that your thighs are parallel to the floor. Now lower the dumbbells down and away from you, lowering the hips as the weights return to the start position.
Sit with your back against a stability ball that is propped up against a wall, and a loaded E-Z curl bar in your hands. Raise the bar until it is just above your head. Now do a set of overhead triceps extensions, making sure to keep your elbows in and pointed toward the ceiling. Then immediately raise your hips so that you’re in a prone position and start pumping out lying triceps extensions. Go to positive failure, then bring your hands in to the first angled curves of the E-Z curl bar and rep out to failure on close grip presses.
Rather than just grabbing a ball and jumping into your work-out, it’s important to learn how to use this tool properly. Ask a certified trainer at your gym to help you familiarize you with the rules of proper stability ball use. It will take a bit of adjustment but the benefits of incorporating stability ball training into your routines are very real. Rather than totally switching over, however, try performing every third training session on the ball.