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Get on the Ball!

You only need one piece of equipment to work out in the comfort of your home. A balance ball is a great and inexpensive way to strengthen your core muscles as well as improve your balance and coordination. Get rolling with these exercises.

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Balance Ball Push-Ups

Your chest is composed of fan-shaped muscles that span from shoulders to sternum and help you to push shopping carts and hug loved ones. Your triceps are also “pushing” muscles, located on the backs of your upper arms-notoriously weak and saggy spots.

Place the balance ball against a wall, then kneel in front of it so it’s between you and the wall.

Place your hands on the ball so they’re directly below your shoulders. Walk back on your knees until your body forms a straight line from your head to your knees. You should be leaning forward into the ball.

Keeping your torso straight and your abdominal muscles contracted (concentrate on pulling your belly button to your spine), bend your elbows and lower your chest toward the ball.

Stop when your elbows are in line with your shoulders. Pause, then return to the starting position.

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Back Fly

Your back is made up of multiple layers of muscles that help you to lift, pull and hold your body upright. Your biceps are the muscles in the front of your upper arms that you use to pick up bags and small children. These exercises target those two muscle groups.

 

Sit on the edge of the balance
ball or a chair with your feet together and flat on the floor.

Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Keeping your back flat, bend forward at the waist and lower your chest to about 7-10 cm above your knees, letting your arms hang down on either side of your legs with your hands by your feet.

Squeeze your shoulder blades and raise the weights out to the sides until your arms are outstretched parallel with the floor. Pause, then slowly return to the starting position.

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Squats

The muscles in your thighs, calves and buttocks account for about half your muscle mass. Core (abdominal, lower back and hip) strength is vital to good health. Researchers who followed a group of adults for 13 years found that those who could perform the most sit-ups were significantly less likely to die prematurely than those who could perform the least.

 

Stand with the balance ball between your back and the wall so the ball supports you from your hips to your shoulders. Move your feet forward so they’re slightly in front of your body.

Looking straight ahead and keeping your torso erect, bend your knees and squat down, rolling along the ball until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Hold for 2 seconds, then return to the starting position. You can make the move more challenging by holding dumbbells at your sides.

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Chest Fly

Working the same fanned muscles in your chest as balance ball push-ups, chest flies allow for a more rigorous workout due to the weight of the dumbbells.

Lie back on the balance ball so it supports your torso from the base of your head to your midback, with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Hold the dumbbells over your chest with your arms extended and your palms facing each other. Keep your elbows slightly bent.

Slowly open your arms to the sides, lowering the weights until your upper arms are parallel with the floor. Pause, then slowly return to the starting position. Keep your shoulders down and back throughout the move.

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Leg Curls

Leg curls on an exervise ball provide a great workout for your legs and core muscles. In fact, the balls are notorious for providing an excellent ab workout that beats doing plain old sit-ups.

 

Lie on your back on the floor, extend your legs, and place your heels on top of the balance ball. Rest your arms on the floor by your sides, palms down.

Press your heels into the ball and lift your buttocks up a little from the floor.

Bend your knees, using your heels to pull the ball toward your buttocks so your feet end up flat on the ball. Pause, then return to the starting position.