The exercise ball is known by many names, the body ball, fitness ball, yoga ball, gymnastic ball and so much more. No matter what you call it the exercise ball has proven numerous times that it is effective. This has been used in physical therapy, exercise and athletic training.

The exercise ball started out as a treatment program for newborns and a few years later evolved to be used as a physical therapy exercise ball for Neuro-developmental treatment. Fitness instructors saw the positive effects of the exercise ball had on the physical attributes of the body and started to incorporate the exercise ball in athletic training and exercise.

There are multiple exercise regimens that incorporate the use of the exercise ball. It can help tone and strengthen any muscle in the body. The exercise ball can also be used for cardio exercises. You can work on your whole body using an exercise ball alone. Here are the best exercises you can do to tone the whole body.

Triceps Dip

Place your exercise ball in front of you and sturdy chair or furniture behind you. Place your hands on the edge of the chair and slowly lift your leg and place it on top of the exercise ball. When both legs are firmly on the ball slowly edge away from the chair to perform the triceps dip. Lower your hips to the ground, before you reach the floor lift yourself up again. This will bring you to the starting position. Repeat these steps 15 times.

This exercise will tone your arm, core and back muscles.

Hug A Ball

Sit on the floor or on the yoga mat. Place your exercise ball between your legs, just so that the legs are wide apart. Keep your feet firmly on the floor and make sure your knees and ankle are aligned. Hug the exercise ball firmly, slowly lifting your buttocks. Stay in this position for a few seconds and slowly release the ball and go back to starting position. Repeat this for 15 to 20 reps.

This exercise will tone the lower back area.

Chest Stretch

Place your exercise ball on your side and get on your hands and knees. The exercise ball should be positioned right beside your left arm. Place your left elbow on top of the ball like you would on a flat surface. Keep your other arm straight. This will be your starting position, lower your chest area and feel the stretch. Stop lowering your chest if you’re experiencing pain, keep that position for a few seconds and go back to starting position. Repeat this 10 to 15 reps for each arm.

This exercise will help tone the muscles in the chest and shoulder area.

Shoulder Curl and Press

Stand straight feet apart and hold the exercise ball in front of you. Keep your arm in a 90 degree position and slowly lower it to your thigh. Bend your arm and until the ball is eye level. Slowly lift your arms above your head and lower it down to eye level again. Bring the ball back down to your thighs, that is one rep. Repeat this for about 15 to 20 times. If you want to intensify this workout, instead of bringing the hand down after extending it above the head, slowly lower the ball near the back of your head. Lift the ball back to a straight angle and back to your thighs.

This exercise will tone the upper and lower arm muscles.

Squats

Prop yourself near a wall and place an exercise ball between your lower back and the wall. Press firmly on the ball to prevent it from slipping. Stand firmly with your legs apart and slowly perform a squat. Let the ball roll on your back, but make sure it keeps in contact with it. Slowly raise yourself from the squat position, returning the ball to the lower back area and repeat this for 10 to 15 reps. If you find this workout too easy, you can add in dumbbells for weights or you can extend your arms forward each rep.

This exercise will tone the thighs and buttocks.

Crunches

Perform a simple crunch on top of an exercise ball by sitting on it and slowly stepping a few inches forward. When your lower back is near the middle of the ball stop and lean back. Keep your feet wide apart and firmly on the ground. Perform a regular crunch for 20 to 30 reps.

This exercise will tone the core area, especially the abdominal muscles.

The benefit of using the exercise ball instead of working on the floor is balance. Due to the shape and instability the body’s muscles will engage to remain stable, thus using more muscles than when you are on a flat surface. Using the exercise ball over time will help tone and strengthen the core, the lower body and back muscles.

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