Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Toughen and Tighten Tuesday!

Top Ten {Tuesday}

Today for Top 10 Tuesday, I'm sharing my Top 10 Favorite Exercises. I am all about ab workouts, so several of these are core strength moves, but I also added in some upper and lower body exercises. Let's get started!

You will need....
 - shoes

- a stability ball

They come in all sizes. To find your perfect fit, sit on the ball with feet on the floor and knees shoulder width apart. Your hips and knees should be at a 90° angle (see picture). If you feel you had to squat too low to sit down on the ball, or your knees/thighs feel too close to your chest, try a size up.

- a sturdy wall

-an exercise mat (optional)

-a medicine ball or plate weight (optional).
  I recommend one with handles, like these.

(1) Leg Drops
Start with both legs straight up in the air. Lift shoulders. I recommend putting your hands (palms down) under your lower back or butt for support. In a controlled motion, drop legs towards ground. Stop as close to the ground as possible and lift legs back up to starting position. A variation for this exercise is to squeeze a stability ball between your ankles.

(2) Pikes on Stability Ball
Start in position A. Ball should be positioned on your shin/ankle area (NOT your knee or your toes). Hands directly beneath your shoulders. Keep hips lifted so your whole body is in a straight line. 
Move to position B. Lift hips so butt is up in the air. Hands and arms stay in the same position. Your abs and upper legs do the work. The ball should roll to the tips of your toes.

(3) Single Leg Stretch
Begin in the same position as the leg drops, with both feet straight in the air and your shoulders off the floor. Take your hands to your right knee, calf, or ankle (depending on your flexibility). Drop your left leg. Stop as close to the ground as possible and bring it back up. Switch your hands to your left leg and drop your right leg. Keep your shoulders off the floor during the entire exercise. Some instructions say to tug on the leg, some don't. I like to stretch during the exercise, so I pull my legs towards my face slightly as I go.

(4) Lying Leg Twists with Stability Ball

Start in position A: Lay flat on your back and place the stability ball between your ankles. Gently squeeze the ball to keep it in place. Move to position B by rotating your right leg and hip in front and your left leg and hip behind. The picture doesn't show this, but the ball should change positions on your leg. It starts on the sides of your calves and it moves to your left shin and right calf. In position B, your line of vision should be your right leg, then the ball, and your left leg should be hidden. Move back to starting position (A) and twist to the other side.

(5) Russian Twists
Start in a seated position with your legs bent (I like to keep my feet hip width apart).  Sitting straight up is easiest, leaning back (as the picture shows) gives you more of a challenge. If you choose to use a weight (a medicine ball or plate is best) place it on side of you. Pick up your weight or clasp your hands together on one side of your body (Position A). Twist your upper body, moving the weight or your arms/hands to the other side (Position B). Repeat. I like find a focal point on each side so I don't get dizzy! Also, I twist as far around as possible, almost looking behind me. 

(6) Wall Squats with Stability Ball
Start standing, feet hip width apart, with the ball between your back and the wall. The ball should be placed in your lower back area, as it will rise when you squat. Place hands wherever comfortable. Squat to a 90° sitting position (shown in picture). You may feel the urge to press back against the ball, and that's okay. Try to keep your weight in your heels. Stand back up to starting position. 
(7) The Difference
pictures 1&2, 3&4
This exercise combines curls and tricep presses. Start in position 1 (straighten arms for more of a challenge). Stand (with feet hip width apart) holding a plate weight or medicine ball. Move to position 2 buy bending arms towards your chest. Move to position 4 by rotating arms behind head- keep the bend in your arms. Move to position 3 by straightening your arms. Move back to position 4. Move to position 2- again, keeping the bend in your arms. Move back to starting position. 
(8) Back Extensions on Stability Ball
 Start in position A. Ball should be placed anywhere from your chest to your hips (this will depend a little on your height), but definitely above your knees. Places arms at sides or behind head (like you would for sit ups). I find it easiest to have my heels up against a wall for support. Using your back muscles, press your hips into the ball and lift to position B. Try not to arch your back; just move to where your body is in a straight line. Your chest and upper abs should come off the ball.  Move back to starting position and repeat.

(9) Stability Ball Pass


Start in position 1. Lay flat on your back, holding ball above/behind head. Move to position 2 by raising both arms (holding ball) and both legs above body. Pass the ball from your hands to your feet/ankles. Move to position 3 by lowering arms and legs (now holding ball). Try to keep your arms, legs, and the ball from resting on the floor. Move back to position 2 and pass the ball back to your arms. Return to starting position. Repeat.

(10) Hamstring Curls on Stability Ball

Start in position 1. Lay flat on your back with arms out to the side for support. Place back of ankles and calves on ball. Move to position 2 by lifting hips. Your body should be in a straight line. Move to position 3 by bending your legs and rolling the ball towards you with your feet. Your feet should shift so that your heels and then your toes are pressing down onto the ball. Go back and forth between positions 2 and 3. 

There you have it- 10 of my favorite exercises!

Happy Tuesday,

I am not a trained professional, so check with your doctor before you exercise and talk to a local personal trainer for more information on how to complete these exercises safely!
All pictures were found on Google Images by searching for the name of the exercise. Click-through links provided when available. Text and arrows added by me.


elvi said...

Ohhh looks good!!! Thanks for the ideas!

Danelle said...

I love those exercise balls!