Meredith Nelson shows how to work your abs and lower back with a stability ball.
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Meredith Nelson: Welcome back to how to exercise with a Stability Ball. My name is Meredith Nelson; I am the personal trainer and the owner of Prime Time Fitness on Sullivans Island in South Carolina. In this segment, I am going to demonstrate a few abdominal exercises to help you strengthen this area. The ball is a great tool to use in your workouts, because it engages your core musculature as you balance on the ball. So, unlike being on the floor, you are actually working more than just your abdominals when you perform your crunches on the ball. Begin your crunches, seated on the ball like this. To get into the position, simply walk your feet forward and slowly, carefully lie back on to your back. Position yourself so that the small of your back is on the top of the ball. If you would like to make the exercise a little bit harder, you can roll back slightly, which allows you to fully engage the abdominals when you stretch back. To make the exercise less difficult, simply walk your feet forward and lie back, so that the small of your back, is positioned right over the top of the ball. Once, you are in position with your hands lightly behind your head, start to engage your abdominals and lift your shoulders slightly off the ball and then release. Don't forget to breath, try to exhale as you come up, deep breath in as you release. To vary the basic crunch and engage the obliques, simply add a twist as you come up, away from the ball, or you can alternate going from side to side. Or you can go repeatedly to one side, focusing on the obliques on that one side. Now to get off the ball, simply bring your arms forward, walk back with your feet and at the same time, raise your chest and shoulders away from the ball until you are in a seated position. Now I am going to show you a few ways to strengthen your back on the ball. Strengthening your back on the ball is great. Using the ball requires you to use balance and core muscles that you normally wouldn't exercise. Begin the back extension kneeling on the floor with the ball in front of you. Roll forward, until your hands can come to the ground and place your feet about shoulder width apart. You can bring your hands behind you at your thighs and perform the exercise in this position. Simply raise up away from the ball, then slowly lower back down. Here you are targeting your lower back and by squeezing your shoulder blades together at the top, you are also working your upper back. To make this exercise a little bit more challenging, you can bring your hands behind your head. Another exercise you can do for your back is called a hip extension. For this exercise simply roll forward a little more so that your weight is now in your hands. You can begin the exercise by raising one leg and then the other. Performing this movement, engages the glutes and the lower back. You can increase the intensity and the difficulty of this exercise by raising both legs together. Remember to keep the movements slow and controlled instead of fast, bouncy and with momentum. Roll back off the ball into your ending position. Now we are going to take the stability ball and add a little variation to your workout showing you how to use it to exercise your upper and lower body. We are going now to my favorite, the pushups.
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