Here are 9 moves to mix and match to keep your core strong and stable, your mind engaged and your back pain free.
Seated Dead Bugs
Physical therapists love this move for its gentle, core-stabilizing work. Plus, it’s easy to adjust for different fitness levels and fun to boot. To start: Sit on the ball with your feet flat on the floor. Lift one knee at a time, squeezing your abs to pull your leg up. Focus on keeping your hips—and the ball—as still as possible. Alternate legs for 30 seconds to one minute. Next, incorporate raising an alternate arm to your ear while lifting the opposite knee, and continue alternating for 30 seconds to one minute. If this is too difficult, practice keeping the ball still while raising your arms only, one at a time.
Wellness Ball Crunches
This basic move gets an upgrade when performed on the ball, because you’ll work your abs extra hard to keep the ball still. To start: Sit on the ball and walk your feet forward, rolling the ball until it rests under your back. Your shoulders and thighs should be parallel to the floor. Interlace your fingers behind your head or place them at your ears, and then squeeze your abs, lifting your shoulder blades up off the ball to perform one crunch. Slowly lower back down and repeat for 10 to 25 reps. Focus on keeping the ball still during each rep. Level up: try to touch your knees with the elbows during the crunch.
Plank con Wellness Ball
This is a fun way to get creative. If you can make it through the entire alphabet, start spelling your favorite words with the ball. To start: get into a plank position on the ball, your hands should be under your shoulders, legs extended, back straight, and your feet on top of the ball. Tighten your abs and roll the ball under your feet to spell out the alphabet. Aim to spell up to O, and as you progress, try to complete your way to Z. Bonus: Spell out your favorite words. You can even turn this into a game with family, so build longer and longer words.
Around the world
Challenge your obliques and build stability with this move that requires mental focus. To start: lie with the ball under your back and your feet hip-distance apart on the floor. Extend your arms overhead until they are aligned with your ears. Next, tighten your abs and then rotate your upper body in a circular motion. Start to the right, go up, to the left and then back. Perform 8 to 10 circles and then switch directions.
Work your skills with this fun—yet challenging—full abdominal move. To start: lie on your back with the wellness ball between your feet and arms extended overhead. Contract your abs to protect your back, and lift your feet (and the ball) toward the ceiling with straight legs. Reach toward your feet at the same time, and grab the ball when it’s up toward the ceiling. Slowly lower your arms and legs back toward the floor, using your abs to control the movement. Reach arms (and the ball) and legs back toward the ceiling and grab the ball with your feet. Lower back to the floor and repeat for 8 to 20 reps. [ you can do it also with an ordinary ball]
This move works your entire core, including your shoulders. To start: set in a push-up position and place your shins on the wellness ball. Contract your abs to keep your back flat and your body still. Next, while keeping your back flat, squeeze your abs to pull the ball toward you, allowing your knees to bend. Bring the ball all the way to your chest, pause for a second and then slowly roll the ball back using your abs to control the movement. Perform 8 to 20.
This move strengthens your back in a gentle way. To start: lie face down on top of the ball with your palms the floor, legs extended, and toes touching the ground. Squeeze your glutes and slowly lift your right leg straight up while simultaneously extending your left arm out in front. Keep your abs tight to help your body stay still. Hold for one second and then slowly lower. Switch sides and repeat for 16 to 20 alternating reps.
Time to stretch
Here's a couple of useful exercises to relax your muscles, you can do at the end of your core-workouts' routine or when needed, also at the end of a full day sit in front of your pc or TV.
Wellness Ball Hug
You can do this stretch any time of day to release your back and generally feel good. Simply drape yourself over the ball, facing the floor. Hug the ball, allowing your body to melt into it. Relax for one minute and then release.
This move can help undo your muscles (especially hunched shoulders) if you’ve been seated too long. Sit with the ball behind you and roll onto it so that it fits into the curve of your spine. Open your arms and allow them to drape toward the floor. Stay ‘open’ like this for up to one minute and then slowly release.
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