Are you on the ball? Some stability ball exercises to try

 Are you on the ball? Some stability ball exercises to try

Do you own a stability ball? Or do you use one regularly as part of your workout? If you answered no, then you're definitely in the minority. Those big bouncy stability balls are a staple of fitness these days -- in gyms, homes and even some offices. They're the focal point of many workouts and fitness classes, and if you've ever used one, you know why -- even doing a simple crunch seems to reveal muscles in your abs that you never knew you had the next day.

I've been working out with a stability ball at the gym for a number of year now. I pretty much stick to working my abs when I'm using the ball, but there are other body parts to can work out with the help of your ball. And if gyms aren't your thing, get one for your home. They're relatively inexpensive and though they take up a bit of room when inflated, they have many uses -- try yours out as a chair.

Are you on the ball? Some stability ball exercises to try

Here are some great ways to put the stability ball to work for you:

1. Of course, for newbies to the ball, there's the traditional crunch. Doing a crunch on the ball can not only help you work more muscles that you would on the floor, but it also supports your lower back, which is very important when you're doing any sort of ab work. eDiet's trainer has put together this video on the crunch, showing the proper form.

2. If you have a set of light weights handy, check out the Reverse Dumbbell Fly on the ball. You'll work your back and your balance while doing the fly face-down on the stability ball. For pictures, check out this link.

3. Want a tight bum? Work your glutes by doing the Butt Lift on the ball, courtesy of Here's how you do it -- start like this and finish off like this and hold until your glutes have been burning for a while. Make sure your pressing your weight through your heels, not you toes. Yogis will recognize this as a form of the Bridge post, but with your shoulders elevated.

4. Tired of the same old push-up? Use the stability ball! You have two choices: Either place your feet on the ball or your hands. Either way, you'll work your arms, your core and your balance all at once!

5. One of the most popular exercises on the ball is the Back Extension. To do it, lie face-down on the ball and lift your torso up until your whole body is in alignment -- and make sure you don't go any further than that or you can injure your back.

6. And if you're working your lower body, how about a squat -- against the wall with the stability ball behind your back? Called the seated wall roll!

Even if you're not working out, you can still use the stability ball. Why not get one for your desk? You can work your core and balance, all by getting a day's work done. Plus, it's really good for your posture. Even if you can't handle sitting on the ball all day, doing it for an hour or two can make a big difference.

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