In the October 2013 issue, we showed you some abdominal exercises that you can do with the exercise ball. Today, we’ll work the legs. To start, sets of 10 reps are advised for these exercises.
Sit on the edge of a chair or bench, place the ball between your knees and squeeze the ball with your knees. Relax and repeat. For more of a challenge, sit on the ball with your knees on either side of the ball, and use your toes for balance. Squeeze the ball between your thighs and relax.
Hold the ball between the wall and the outside of your right thigh, knee bent. Squeeze the ball by pressing your leg against it, then release. After one set with the right thigh, change side and repeat with the left thigh.
Combination Bridge and Ischiotibials Exercise
Lying on the floor, ankles on the ball, knees bent, lift your pelvis to form a straight line with your body (bridge). Pull the ball toward you with your feet, knees bent, until the soles of your feet are flat on the ball. Slowly push the ball back to the bridge position and then slowly lower your buttocks to the floor.
Place the ball against the wall at approximately lower back height. Press your back against the ball, with your feet shoulder width apart and slightly in front of you, about 10 inches (25 cm) out from your standing position. Bend your knees at a 90° angle, letting the ball roll up your back. If necessary, reposition your feet so that your knees do not go past your ankles. Raise yourself back up to the starting position and repeat. When you feel comfortable, you can also do this exercise holding hand weights.
Instead of the standard lunge, where you take a step forward to lower yourself to the floor, position the ball behind you and place the front of your right ankle on the ball. As you bend your left knee to approximately a 90° angle, allow the ball to roll along your right tibia (shinbone) keeping your upper body erect as much as possible, and return to your starting position. Repeat with the left ankle on the ball. For safety, do this exercise next to a wall so that you can use it for support if necessary.