Using an exercise ball to help work out your core muscles is one of the most efficient and fun exercises. Due to the roundness of the ball, the environment you will be working out on is unstable. Every move that you make will force your core stabilizers to work. This means that you will get a better workout for your core muscles in the same amount of time compared to sit-ups.
One great exercise for the exercise ball is the back extension. This exercise strengthens the muscles that support the back, spine and buttocks. Strengthening these muscles can help prevent lower back pain and injuries. Please follow the steps below to help guide you through the back extension exercise.
Step 1:Roll onto the Ball
To begin, kneel behind the exercise ball and slowly lay your stomach on top of the ball. You will slowly roll your body onto the ball as you walk your feet back. Once your legs are straight, the ball should be supporting your lower torso. Your head should be hanging over the front of the exercise ball.
Step 2: Move Your Arms
For your arms, choose which placement is most comfortable for you. You can place your arms along the sides of your body, behind your head or extended them out in front of you, forming the letter Y. These options offer different levels of difficulty and are based on your core strength and your shoulder strength. Select a placement that does not allow for your shoulders to hunch. You want your shoulders to be pulled down and back.
Step 3: Engage Your Abs
Tighten your abdominal muscles by pulling them inward toward your bellybutton. Tighten your glutes and slowly lift up your chest. Raise it a few inches until you feel your lower back muscles engaging. You want to avoid hyper extending your back. Hold for one second. Make sure that you are keeping your shoulders pulled down and back (you do not want them hunching up towards your ears) and keep your neck and back straight.
Step 4: Return to the Beginning
Slowly lower your upper body back to your starting position. Repeat 12 to 15 times. Remember to inhale as you lift and exhale as you lower.
The main muscle of the core that this exercise works is the erector spinae, or the muscle group that runs along the length of the spine.
Utilizing an exercise ball has numerous benefits for your body. It will strengthen your core in addition to providing you with functional training. The ball forces you to work on your balance and coordination. By strengthening your abdominal, core and back, you will become a stronger individual who should experience fewer sports related injuries. Aim to complete a 10 to 15 minute core workout up to three times a week to maximize your benefits.