It may be surprising to learn that if you spoke to your personal trainer in London, about the primary issues his clients raise with him – you’d find that back problems are some of the most common. Whether it’s getting rid of the love-handle fat that seems to cling to areas around the back, or ensuring that you can continue with your weight loss programs while overcoming back pain and spinal strain, an exercise ball may be the answer.
The chances are that on searches for how to reduce belly fat, you’ve seen how crunches using a balance ball help to tone the abs. However, what you may not know is that balance ball exercises can also rehabilitate and prevent injuries, while relieving issues of chronic pain. Because exercise balls force your body to make use of different muscles in different ways, you can correct muscle imbalances, while sticking to your 12 week athletic training programs, and maximizing weight loss.
Below are some of the best exercises that you can do with an exercise ball that focus entirely on the muscles of your back, the spine, and posture.
1. Back Extensions
One of the most common exercise ball movements out there, back extensions help to target your key muscles by improving posture and strengthening muscles at the same time. To do one, get your exercise ball and lay on your belly, establishing stability by placing your toes on the floor and spreading your legs to either side of the ball. With your hands in fists, bring your arms in front of your ball, and point your thumbs to the sides. Inhale slowly, and as you exhale, raise your upper torso as much as possible, bringing your chest off the ball, and lifting your arms wide, then carefully lower your torso back into the starting position.
An ideal addition to any weight loss program if you’re aim is to reduce belly fat, planks involve placing your forearms on a soft mat, while your feet are on the exercise ball. Make sure that you are in as straight of a planking position as possible (don’t let your abdomen sag), and hold the position for a period of at least thirty seconds, while breathing deeply.
3. Superman Ball Lifts
If you’ve searched “how to reduce belly fat” before, then you may also be interested in a tried and tested way to burn the fat on your back too. This exercise will get all the muscles of your back and torso working overtime. Start by lying on your belly with your exercise ball between your feet, and extend your arms in front of you. As you inhale, squeeze your legs around the ball and lift your arms, knees, and chest away from the floor. Hold the position for a count of ten seconds, then release your body slowly back to the floor.
4. Upper-Back Lifts
By targeting key muscles in your upper back, this move will help to improve your posture and strengthen your back at the same time. Beginning with your belly on the ball, plant your toes on the floor and bend your elbows so that you can touch your fingertips against the back of your head. As you exhale, raise the upper portion of your torso as high as possible, so that your chest is completely detached from the ball, and inhale as you slowly lower your torso back to the starting position.
5. Ball Bridge
Another one to add to most weight loss programs is the ball bridge. Crouch down on your feet, with your shoulder blades pressed against the exercise ball behind you, and your arms across your chest. With your feet stationary, extend your back until it’s totally parallel to the floor, and lower it back following a short pause. Make sure that you exhale as you extend, and inhale as you return to the starting position.
6. Opposite Limb Extensions
Exercise ball workouts are great for your back, but they can also involve your core, too. The best way to lose weight is often with a workout that involves a wide range of different exercises, activating as many muscle groups as possible. Lay with your belly on your ball, and place your feet around a hip-distance apart. Simultaneously, begin by lifting your left arm and your right leg straight out, holding for a few seconds before releasing them to the ground. Next, lift your right arm and your left leg, and do the same. Try to keep the ball as steady as possible
7. Spine Rotation
Ideal for improving motion, sit on the exercise ball and raise your arms out in front of you. Without twisting your spine, move both of your arms across your body to the right, then to the left. Introduce some head movement by turning your head to the opposite direction of your arms, and increase the difficulty by spreading your feet slightly.
Image Source: Flickr
Marc Dressen, MSc
Personal Trainer in London
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