It’s OK to admit it. You’re afraid of the stability ball. More so of falling off the ball. I’ve seen it before. It is a real concern for new gymgoers.
I won’t lie, once in a while it does get away from you. You’ll set it on a spot and turn around to grab some weights and poof, it has rolled away all on its own. With luck, you realize the stability ball has vanished before you try to sit on it.
Regular workout equipment has a stable place to sit and some kind of apparatus to push against or pull on. Stability balls don’t fit into the traditional mold. You become the stable part. Your stability ball starts by forcing your core to engage. That’s all the abdominal muscles, low-back muscles and even some of the hip muscles. From there your body can stabilize everything else.
If you’re used to the easy chair, then the stability ball will definitely be a wake-up call. Sitting on them means you start working right away. The core instinctively activates to maintain balance. So take it slow in the beginning. Learn what it feels like to have your core stabilize you. Then try some simple exercises such as a crunch or a shoulder press. After a while you can progress those exercises into the ones featured today.
Choosing a stability ball can be the first tricky part. Bigger is not always better. My guideline is to find one about knee-high. That size works for most exercises you will try. Find the size you need at your gym and then you will know what kind to get for home use. Your gym may even sell them. They can also be found at most retailers in Las Vegas.
The single-leg dumbbell shoulder press is a progressed form of a seated press. When you can stabilize yourself enough to perform a seated shoulder press on the stability ball, you can try this single-leg variation.
Balancing yourself with one leg, opposed to two, will force your core to work overtime to keep you upright. Have a spotter there for your first try. I would recommend trying this exercise without any weight in your hands to allow yourself to get the hang of it. Core exercises can be learned fairly quickly. Before long, you will be asking for heavier weights.
Don’t be surprised if balancing on one leg is easier than the other. Most people have a “good side.” The trick is to make both sides equally strong. Feel what the good side does to balance and try to make the bad side mimic it.
The stability ball dumbbell row has a built-in core activation check. If your core is not tight then your stomach will be squished. Your breaths will be shorter and you may even start to taste your last meal a bit. So keep your core tight to avoid discomfort.
Stability ball exercises are for new and experienced gymgoers alike. Progressing basic exercises into advanced ones takes some time and a good deal of learned stability. I’m not saying you should try to jump rope while standing on a stability ball like the guys in the Internet videos. But, exercises like the ones today are well within reach.
Chris Huth is a Las Vegas trainer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Consult your physician before beginning any exercise program.