Exercises to Strengthen the Back Muscles
This back exercise using an exercise ball is designed to strengthen the muscles that support the spine from the lower back to the upper back, front and back. The specific muscles that this exercise targets include the abs, chest, and back muscles.
These core strength exercises with a ball can be very difficult to perform and should be learned with the help of a trained physical therapist, chiropractor, certified athletic trainer, exercise physiologist, physiotherapist, or other type of spine specialist or exercise instructor. They are not recommended for people with certain spinal conditions. Always consult a doctor before trying this or any other exercise.
Build Core Body Strength with an Exercise Ball
* Front walkout - Place the ball over your chest and move it forward with your hands as far as it will go, roll the exercise ball from your chest towards your feet, keeping your abs tight to keep your lower back flat. Begin by driving an exercise ball against your thighs; to increase the difficulty of moving the exercise ball to the knees and then the feet. Run hands back to starting position. Repeat 3 to 5 times.
* Back walk-out - Sit on an exercise ball with your arms out to your sides; walk your feet forward as far as you can, roll an exercise ball from your buttocks toward your neck, keeping your abs tight to keep your lower back flat and not lifting your head. Begin by moving an exercise ball into your upper back; to increase the difficulty of moving the exercise ball to the neck. Walk back and return to a sitting position. Repeat 3 to 5 times. For more difficulty, finish the exercise with your arms straight overhead; With an exercise ball at your neck, lift and straighten one leg at a time, 5 times each leg.
* Reverse crunch - Place your chest on the exercise ball and walk forward on your hands until the ball is at your kneecaps, keeping your abs tight to keep your lower back flat. Pull the ball up toward your arms by bending your hips and knees, then straighten and push the ball back. Repeat 5 times. Run hands back to starting position.
* Reverse extension - Place your chest over the exercise ball and walk forward on your hands until the exercise ball is at the kneecaps, keeping your abs tight to keep your lower back flat. Roll the ball onto your thighs keeping your hands in place, moving your arms into an overhead position, bringing your head and chest down near the floor; return arms to perpendicular to body with exercise ball behind knees. Repeat 5 times. Run hands back to starting position.
* Combination - Complete the reverse crunch and reverse extension in one continuous, controlled motion, pulling the exercise ball up to your chest and extending it backwards 5 times.
Abdominal Workout with an Exercise Ball
* Half crunch - Sit on an exercise ball with your hands raised to your chest or on your hips; leaning back halfway, stretching the hips without moving the feet, but lifting the toes; use your abs to sit up straight without moving your feet, but rocking back with your heels. Swing the ball back and forth smoothly 5 times. Increase difficulty with arms straight overhead.
* Obliques - Sit on an exercise ball with your arms extended straight over your head; leaning back halfway, stretching the hips without moving the feet, but lifting the toes; slowly lower one arm toward the opposite knee. Alternate arms 10 times each side.
* Full crunch - Sit on an exercise ball with your hands by your sides and feet flat on the floor and in front, sitting slightly forward on the ball; leaning back fully, rolling the ball to the lower back then the middle back; keeping your feet flat on the floor, use your abdominal muscles to sit up. Repeat 5 times.