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Get in Shape on the Ball: Athletic Ball Exercises

Bicep curls on the ball add new elements to the process of strengthening muscles. Bicep curls on the ball add new elements to the process of strengthening muscles.


The concept of ball exercises was imported to America from Europe by Joanne Posner-Mayer in the late ’80s for the rehab of patients with locomotor system injuries. Since then, exercise balls have quickly made their way into commercial gyms and have established themselves as mainstays in the fitness industry, and for good reason. The athletic ball is a wonderful fitness tool for conditioning.

Among macho weight lifters, the exercise ball tends to carry a sissy stigma, but the truth is that it is a superior device for creating well-rounded muscle tone and improving tendon and ligament health, as well as providing benefits to the joints. The reason for these advantages is that conventional weight training entails mostly stationary movements that do not activate stabilizing muscles, whereas the athletic ball moves around as we try to execute a movement, causing us to ac-tivate all these other parts of the body.

Because of its rounded shape, the ball also provides an opportunity for great stretching that allows your body to mold to it, which is always beneficial when doing resistance training. Stretching promotes fuller heads and bellies to the muscle groups, contributing to greater aesthetic appeal.

In this article we are going to explore and demonstrate some exercises with the athletic ball, otherwise know as the stabil-ity ball or exercise ball. In the ongoing series we will explore a complete array of movements.


This one is great for the abs. Position the ball at a distance from a lower cable on a cable machine that has the rope handle at-tached so that you must extend out to grab the rope. Firmly plant the legs at shoulder width or better. Pull your torso up into the upright position like you are doing a sit-up. The stretching on the abs is far superior to sit-ups on a bench, and a good stretch is critical to any well-executed exercise movement.


Position the ball between the cables the way you would a flat bench if you were going to do a cable fly. Then it is just on a matter of grabbing the cables and executing the flying movement. Be careful with the weights you use because the stretch is greatly in-creased and the pecs are more vulnerable to tearing. Start light and work your way to your maximum. Take advantage of the range of motion you are gaining on the ball and stretch all the way down.


Pick an appropriate dumbbell to get eight to 10 repetitions. Use the biggest ball available so you can get the greatest stretch without the weights making contact with the floor. Get on your knees over the ball. Lean over the ball with you armpit in the curvature. Stretch all the way down, completely stretching the bicep. Lift the bicep and completely contract the muscle at the top. Do a controlled descent and repeat eight to 10 times before switching to the other arm.

Add the fitness ball to your routine and you will be sure to add dimension to your musculature and strengthen all your stabilizing muscles, connective tissue and ligaments. Get on the ball to improve your athletic performance!

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If you want to look like this guy, his advice on fitness ball exercises is bound to help.
Last modified on Friday, 26 July 2013 12:19

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