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Now that you've passed the stage of being a brand new beginner with your workout program, it's time to start thinking about the little things that you can do to push the envelope a bit further and get more from each workout you perform.
Far too many people get caught up doing the same workout over and over again, but by taking the time to switch things up a bit you will not only become more interested in your program, but you'll also find that you progress at a much faster pace. The body responds best to change so you've got to keep varying the specifics of your program if you hope to move forwards.
One simple way to add difficultly to your workout without overdoing it and going above what you can a handle is by shifting some of your exercises over to an exercise ball.
Here's what you need to know in order to do this effectively.
The first thing you need to be looking after is your safety on the ball. When you immediately shift over and begin performing movements on an exercise ball, you're going to find yourself really struggling to maintain balance.
As you go about the movement pattern your core is really going to be hit hard as the muscles are recruited to try and keep the body in position. This is what makes these exercises such a great ab workout at the same time, so if this is what you feel, you know you're on track.
When doing exercises on the ball, it's very important that you always find your balance first while getting into the starting position. If you attempt to proceed to begin the movement without finding this balance point first, you're going to have difficulty. Take a few moments to get yourself in alignment and then when you're ready perform the exercise.
Be prepared to go about it slightly slower than you normally would at first as the body gets used to this new force acting upon it.
Apart from the traditional crunch which most people have already tried on the ball at some point in time, some of the other good exercises to perform on the ball regularly include shoulder press, chest press, chest fly, bicep curl, overhead extension, as well as lateral raises.
For all of these exercises you will still perform the movement the same as normal, the only difference is now you would be sitting on the exercise ball. Because that ball isn't very stable, the core will be recruited to maintain your position and you'll find that the target muscles of the exercise are also worked slightly harder.
As you go about doing your exercises on the ball, there are a few important tips to keep in mind. First, always start off with a slightly lighter weight than you usually would. This helps to make sure you maintain proper form and continue to see the best results possible from the movement.
Second, also make sure that you're using a ball that is fully inflated. Balls that have too much 'give' in them will not be as effective to use and will make it that much harder to stay balanced.
Finally, be sure you don't overly tense up the shoulders. One major problem many people have when transitioning to performing exercises on the ball is that they really tense their shoulders, which over time can not only lead to back pain but can also cause muscle imbalances or weaknesses. Thinking of breathing properly while you execute the movements can help relax the body so always keep that in mind.
So next workout, move one or two of the exercises you typically do to an exercise ball. By adding a few new ones each week you will reap a number of benefits and cut back on the amount of core work you have to as well.