Using a stability ball every day can offer great postural and stabilizing benefits. It's also brilliant if you have back problems, or if you are pregnant.
If you have one gathering dust at home why not dig it out and try the following exercises in front of the TV every night:
1. Sit and bounce.
First, get in a good position on the ball. Sit about 1/3 from the front of the ball, with your feet in front of your knees. If your ball isn’t quite the right size adjust yourself forwards or back on the ball, making sure your knees are slightly lower or in line with your hips. Place your feet hips width apart. Squeeze your core muscles and bounce away gently for as long as you like.
2. Balance challenge.
This is good fun- try to lift one foot off the floor without losing your balance! Then squeeze your core and use your breath to help you stabilize. If it’s too much just lift your heel off and keep your toes on the ground. Switch sides to see which one is stronger!
3. Back stretch.
Carefully walk your feet forwards until your back, neck and shoulders rest on the ball. Reach your arms towards to floor over your head. Bend your knees gently to roll around. This should feel good- if it doesn’t stop right away.
If you try this at home please let me know how you like it in the comments!
I just bought myself a new foam roller last week as I had to leave my old one behind in the UK. It’s so exciting to get back on it! I just wanted to share some of my favourite tips for doing supine work (lying on your back, as above) on a foam roller. You can do loads of exercises in this position- curling, lifting one leg at a time, lifting your arms off the floor while one leg is in the air, the sky is the limit! But before you jump in there check out these tips first:
1. Alignment, alignment, alignment!
Before attempting to do any supine stability work on the roller check to make sure you are properly aligned. This can be hard without a teacher but the roller actually makes it a lot easier- if you feel really off balance you are probably misaligned. Check your feet are lined up against the end of your mat, and shift around until your spine is completely straight on the roller.
Visualize your core muscles squeezing you down onto the roller. This includes the front and sides of your torso. Make sure you keep shoulders and neck relaxed, don’t tense everything when you squeeze, just your core muscles.
When moving your legs, make sure you stay long and lengthened. It’s tempting to try to curl into your centre when doing crazy unstable things, but practice holding your body long and confidently. You will actually have more success with stabilizing if the muscles can contract properly out there!
Have you used a foam roller for stability work? Let me know what you like about it!
Diane Archer, Pilates Instructor from the UK now living back in Canada. Blog of tips, thoughts, home challenges.