You grabbed it during a one off trip to Marshall’s. It was sitting there…shiny, pink or maybe even purple and the price was within your budget. You thought to yourself, let me be cute and get in shape with this trendy ball thing. It started out wonderfully. You used it to work out here and there, and sometimes you sat in it for good posture. You had every intention of spending more time with your stability ball but over time it grew into new age home decor that got the most attention when your nieces and nephews visited. “Where’s the handle?”, they asked. Every now and then your pet would roll around with it. Well, I’m here to tell you, don’t let that thing collect dust and pet dander in the corner of your living room any longer. It’s probably the cheapest, whole body, at home, workout system. At first glance, it looks like an elementary play thing that could never give you an effective workout. But, if you commit to using it consistently, your stability ball can help snap your whole body into beach-ready condition.
For starters, the stability ball helps to build your pillar strength. What is “pillar strength”, you’re wondering? It includes our hip flexors, our core, anterior (front), posterior (back), obliques (sides) and our shoulders. All body movement flows from this region. You can see the importance of strength training this area, right?! There are many exercises that involve this area. Especially if or when you decide to lift, you’ll need a strong pillar before you even venture to that arena. It’s my educated suggestion that you master your body weight before you add any additional weights (20+ lbs) to your workout. The stability ball is a great option for strengthening your pillar and can be combined with an array of body weight workouts to modify the exercise to your skill level. Here’s a breakdown of what I did today. Sorry, I couldn’t record the entire workout but I put them in terms that are simple to understand.
- Wall squats with the ball resting between your lower back and the wall
- Single leg wall squats with ball resting between your lower back and the wall
- Lunges with one leg suspended laterally on top of your stability ball
- Single leg lunges with rear leg suspended on top of the stability ball
- Bridges with feet on top of your stability ball
- Single leg bridges with feet on top of your stability ball
- Side planks with stability ball in between feet
- Leg raises with stability ball in between feet
- Hamstring curls with feet rested on stability ball
- Plank with feet rested on top of stability ball
- Push-up planks with feet rested on top of stability ball
- Sit-ups with stability ball
- Bridge hold with neck rested on stability ball
Oh, Hey. I’m just here tightening up my glutes, hamstrings and core with one piece of equipment!
The key with each exercise is to take your time. Form is everything. You want to make sure you’re taking time to get into the proper position. You’ll probably fall off balance a few times but it’s important not to rush through.
Remember that everyone starts somewhere!
I hope this read was helpful!
Join us for JUNKFIT’s first ever “Sweat Sesh” this Sunday, May 22nd. We’ll be pumping it up just in time for Summer ’16. Meet at the YMCA at 33rd Street Field in Baltimore, MD at 1:00 pm. Don’t forget to bring your mat, water and small weights if you have them. It’s free so tell your girls and get with us!
All fitness levels are welcomed 😉
RSVP at email@example.com.
If I had a dollar for every time someone said to me “You’re skinny. Why are you on a diet/working out?”, I’d be rich. Yeah, I’m small and appear to be healthy but the truth is that size is no indicator of health or well-being. Nor does it mean everyone under a size 6 will have a flat stomach, toned legs or high endurance. The skinny girl struggle can be just as real as any other. Take my new client, Valencia, for example. She’s always been slender but was having difficulty getting rid of that stubborn belly fat. She’d tried adjusting her diet but what was missing was a targeted assault against her stomach fat with a combination of cardio, calisthenics and high intensity interval training.
Cardio is essential to EVERY workout regimen that includes fat loss. Contrary to popular belief, there is no way to target fat loss. It accumulates all over and it burns all over. Therefore, if you want to lose belly fat, you should use cardio as your main weapon of choice. Once Valencia has begun to burn fat, we can actually see the benefits of all those crunches. Make sense?
Being that Valencia is just beginning her fitness program, we spend a lot of time correcting form. Check pics below. Which one demonstrates correct form? I’ll give you a hint. Check out the difference in her back. A simple directive to “Tuck your pelvis” corrected her elbow and shoulder alignment, her lordosis (excessive lower back curve) and it caused her to extend her heels and fluctuate her weight to the balls of her feet as opposed to her toes.
Form is is important because when you train with poor form, you train your body to do the wrong things and over time, repetitive incorrect form can cause serious injury. Sounds like a given but you’d be shocked at how many people train incorrectly.
Some of the ab and core exercises we did today were:
Hands Free Crunches
For your cardio, try keeping it fun with zumba, taebo, an outdoor run or even the treadmill. Just be sure to work up a healthy sweat before your core/ab work.
Do you know that I do what most fitness professionals would consider an intense leg workout, EVERY TIME I hit the gym? That’s about 5 times per week that I’m lunging around the world, frog leaping, leg pressing, squating, dead lifting, sprinting, jogging, stepping, pedaling, tippy-toeing and leg curling. Whew! It sounds like a lot but I’ve actually gotten accustomed to the process. I knew that legs were MY weak spot.
When I first began working out, my primary focus was my bottom half. I seemed to always gain weight in that area. To add insult to injury, it was all wiggly. Yes, I was what people call skinny-fat. I was thin however my butt and thighs and sometimes my calves were super soft and I had even been called chicken legs. I thought if I hit the gym daily, I could get my legs to look like something. I researched different exercises and tried some pretty intense routines. Day in and day out, I would BLAST my legs and while I have seen results, it isn’t nearly what I thought I could accomplish. While I still have time to progress, I’ve learned one thing about fitness. EVERYONE’S RESULTS WILL BE DIFFERENT!
Do you know I visited body building websites and saw what they call an ‘intense’ leg workout and I’m like ‘hmmm’ sounds like my regular routine. I bust my ass in the gym EVERY SINGLE TIME and my legs are still small and could use some more definition. But that doesn’t mean I’m not giving it all I’ve got and I am still encouraged to keep at it and do my very best. I say all this to say, you are you, by the grace of God. That means your body, your mind, your experiences and all of that! Don’t stumble and trip on a comparison because there’s only one you. Be the best YOU. Some people will lose fat faster than you. Others will build muscle quicker. You might not be able to lift as much as the next person but don’t let that hinder you from trying! You won’t be the fastest, you won’t be the strongest, hell, you won’t be the smartest or prettiest but you’ll be YOUR fastest, strongest, smartest and prettiest. Put YOUR best foot forward. There’s so much POWER in claiming what is YOURS!
When you begin to compare your results, one of two things can happen. You can either get super discouraged and quit OR you can allow others’ successes to encourage you.
The choice is yours.
I made a random trip home this weekend for some personal reflection and to support my sister during a rough patch. Whenever I’m home, I always head to RIT’s Gordon Field House. Its fully equipped with an Olympic sized pool, a whirlpool/mini water park, tennis courts, basketball courts, indoor and outdoor tracks, dance studios and of course a fitness facility. It’s my dad’s alma mater so he’s there all the time and I’ve grown quite accustomed to the luxuries (I call them luxuries) available at this place. So much so that even when the field house isn’t open, I still go to the outdoor track there as opposed to the one around the corner from my house.
This time I dragged my sister with me. First of all we spent an hour getting her a nice little workout fit from the mall which I didn’t complain about because I know it helps to have on a nice fit especially if your just beginning to workout. That confidence booster can make a big difference. Anyway, I’ve been desperately trying to convince my sister, Sasha to get in better shape. It’s great that I’m in shape and plan to live a long, healthy life, but I often worry about those I love and their health. I figured if I can at least get Sasha to the track, I will have won a small battle and checked off step one in getting her to an active lifestyle.
We started with a lap around the track with lateral arm raises. Our second lap consisted of frog leaps, lunges and lateral run intervals. I then took to the bleachers and did three rounds with some dips and inclined push-ups. This was a very light workout for me but I am very proud of my sister for trying her hand at this whole fitness thing.
I am the youngest of five. With that being said, I’m normally the one who’s being reckless, aloof and sometimes just plain wrapped up in myself. It felt great to be there for my eldest sister in her time of need and to motivate my other sister in becoming healthier. They actually helped me forget about my little troubles and focus on things more important.
Throwback: My niece Paris’ first birthday.
Dips and guns!
Scissor lunges (that’s what I call ’em)
So, let me begin by telling you guys about my affirmation of the week! I was on the leg press getting my bikini thighs when these two women came up to me asking what my gym routine was. It was adorable because they were dressed in really cute gym attire so I could tell they were invested ( yes, that’s part of how I assess gym readiness). Lol, so anyway they said they liked my body and had watched me do my leg routine (posted below). Then they asked what they should do as beginners. So you know I went into a two minute core testimony about how they have to start with the basics. I got so hyped to be talking to them and helping them that I totally forgot to tell them about JUNKFIT and the challenge. Tsss.
My workout today was a bit much. I did the challenge and added:
inclined push-ups 3×20
back extensions 3×20
27.5 lbs seated row 3×10
45 lbs squats 3×10
45 lbs dead lifts 3×10
30 lateral jumps 3×10
walking lunges 3×12
pulsing jump squats 3×20
70 lbs leg curls 3×10
70 lbs leg extensions 3×10
bicep curls 3×10
arm circles 3×100
bench dips 3×10
I hope you guys are enjoying the challenge. I’d like to know what other interactive things you’d like to see on JUNKFIT. I’ll be posting a poll over the weekend to get your input.
For tomorrow’s workout:
walk outs 3×12
leg raises 3×12
mountain climbers 3x:40
side plank 3x:40/side
Day three is here already and we’re continuing our steady progress. Days one and two I can admit were a little struggle for me because it’s been so long since I did burpees consistently. I HATE burpees because..like, who made them up? Who thought to themselves, lets do a big leap in the air, jump into a frog pose and then do a push-up? They are however, getting easier to do. I like to think I already have a strong core and everything I’m doing with you guys will help reinforce my stability. Here’s your day 3:
1. First things first, your core includes far more than just your abs. By definition your core is a complex series of muscles including everything besides your arms and legs. This includes your hips, upper glutes and your anterior, posterior and lateral regions (front, back and side). Don’t you just love when you learn a new fitness term?!
2. Secondly, it is incorporated in almost EVERY movement of the human body. It acts as a stabilizer in pretty much every exercise. You can test this theory for yourself. Try to see if you can do any exercise with a relaxed core OR feel your core during exercises and you’ll see that it’s always at work.
3. Third, you can mindfully engage your core without even working out! Sit up straight at work, squeeze your butt cheeks while walking, pull in your pelvis (aka stop sticking your booty out, lol). Keep a small pillow behind your back while at your desk to stop you from slouching. All these small adjustments will help you strengthen your core!
Now can you see why building a stronger core should be at the base of your exercise journey? This challenge might seem hard for some of you but TRUST me when I say, you are on the right path. Once you’ve strengthened your core, you’ll notice your workouts getting easier and you’ll start to have more fun with it!
Questions? I’m here to help. Drop em below!