The body ball, also known as the ab ball, enables exercise fanatics and beginners alike to improve their balance and tone their muscles. Body ball exercises help target specific areas much more easily than standard equipment or exercise routines. These exercises can include new ways to do traditional moves such as squats, crunches and push-ups, as well as body ball-specific exercises such as balancing and ab rolls.
Squats, usually performed without any equipment, become more effective when done with a body ball. This body ball exercise begins by pressing the ball between the lower spine and a wall. Hands are left either at the sides or on the hips while the feet are kept flat and hip-width apart. The participant then moves between a sitting and standing position from eight to 15 times, keeping his or her back on the ball at all times. The body ball forces the participant to keep the body in line, helping to limit injuries and unnecessary strain.
Body ball exercises can make push-ups twice as effective as the traditional method, requiring only from eight to 10 reps. The participant lies on the ball with his or her palms flat on the floor and the ball positioned somewhere between the hips and the ankles; the closer to the ankles, the more difficult the move. He or she then proceeds to lower the upper body to the floor by bending the elbows, making sure the shoulders are kept away from the ears. This move can also be performed with hands on the ball and feet on the floor, which helps to improve muscle tone and stability.
Some of the most popular body ball exercises are abdominal movements, hence the nickname ab ball. Standard crunches can be performed on the body ball by lying on the ball with the ball centered on the back. Feet are kept shoulder-width apart and flat on the ground while the hands are held behind the head. The participant then lifts his or her upper body upward, utilizing core muscles rather than the neck. This move is typically repeated from eight to 15 times.
Body ball exercises unique to the body ball include balancing exercises and ab rolls, among others. A simple balancing exercise involves the participant lying on the ball with his or her feet on the ground and switching between which arm is on the ground providing support. Ab rolls can be performed by kneeling in front of the ab ball and pushing it out as far as possible without arching the back. The elbows are then pushed into the ball and the core muscles are used to bring the ball back into the starting position.
Body ball exercises are estimated to number in the hundreds, with several videos and online tutorials focusing solely on moves done with the ab ball. This simple ball provides both beginners and more advanced exercisers with nearly everything they need to tone their bodies and improve their balance. The limitless options and the ability to target specific areas more effectively are part of why body ball exercises have become one of the most popular workouts in the world.