Office chair, a toy or a birthing ball.
The gym-born stability ball has found many uses besides exercise.
You've guessed it, I have two more exercises that can be done on the stability ball. So, throw off the pile of clothes that's accumulated on it and top off the air, because you'll want to try these!
Keep your stability ball somewhere where it will remind you to be active. I like to put my stability ball in the living room, next to my foam roller, as a reminder that I could be doing something productive while I watch the boob tube.
If anything, my wife gets a laugh when I fall off while trying some new or self-made exercise.
You can purchase stability balls almost anywhere. Most retailers and sporting goods stores carry them in a variety of sizes.
My rule is to find one about knee- high. Try out different sizes at the gym before buying one. That way you know you have the right size.
Stability balls are great for the core. They make it stronger by putting your body in an unstable yet controlled environment. This strengthens any weak core.
True to its name, the stability ball will force your body to stabilize. Your body loves to stabilize. The ball is a way of pushing you to your limits.
Many basic gym exercises can be progressed and/or regressed with the use of the stability ball. For example, the squat can be made easier by using the stability ball. (See my first stability ball column at www.lvrj.com/trainer). Movements such as pushups can be made both easier and harder.
If mastering the pushup is difficult, you may want to try them on the stability ball. Progressions and regressions are as simple as where you place the ball.
For the easiest pushup progression, start with the ball on the floor.
Have a workout buddy holding it stable as you do the pushups described in today's column. Then have your buddy back off when you have the hang of it.
After that, doing pushups from the floor is the next hurdle. See my Feb. 13 column on pushups for specific form. When those get easy, put the ball under your feet while your hands are on the floor.
The second exercise described is the leg extension. No balancing required here, but you will need your core. Leg extensions with the stability ball can be an effective exercise for toning and strengthening the quadriceps.
People with weak knees find this exercise simple to perform. There is no weight and you can easily control the range of motion. This exercise also works the inner thigh and core.
Chris Huth is a Las Vegas trainer. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Before beginning any exercise program, consult your physician.