Tips for Using a Yoga Ball

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You can add many different types of props to your workouts. However, many do not help, and the cost of these items can add up after a while. When you come down to it, you need just one prop, and you can use it for various exercises. That prop is a yoga ball.

A yoga ball can intensify your workouts, but you must use it properly. We advise that you get a personal trainer or a trainer at your local gym to show you how to exercise with a yoga ball. If you are not doing the exercises correctly, you could be risking an injury that will prevent you from being able to work out.

Today we will give you some great tips for using a yoga ball and some advice on a few of the simpler core exercises. Let’s get started.

Using a Yoga Ball Correctly

There is much more involved in using a yoga ball than one might think. For instance, did you know that they come in various sizes and that you should choose a yoga ball that is right for your own height?

To select a ball for your height, you should sit on the ball with both feet flat on the floor. Your knees should be bent at a 90-degree angle. If you can’t put your feet on the floor or have your knees bent at this angle, the ball is the wrong size.

If you are shopping online, obviously, you won’t be able to try out a yoga ball to ensure it is the right size. If this is the case, use the following guide to help you choose the right ball.

  • Shorter than 5’1” (155 cm) – Select a 45 cm yoga ball
  • Between 5’1” and 5’7” (155 to 170 cm) – Select a 55 cm yoga ball
  • Between 5’8” and 6’1” (173 to 185 cm) – Select a 65 cm yoga ball
  • Taller than 6’2” (188 cm) – Select a 75 cm yoga ball

Here are some more tips to help you get used to using a yoga ball and to get the most out of it.

Slightly Deflate the Yoga Ball

The firmer the yoga ball, the more difficult the exercises will be. If you are new to yoga balls, starting with a ball with lower air pressure is advisable. Instead of pumping it up all the way, make sure it can hold your weight but still has a bit of give when it is pushed on.

As you become stronger and more adept at using a yoga ball, you can increase the air pressure, so it is firmer.

Make Sure You Have Lots of Room

Using a yoga ball in a large room or an open area is best as it gives you space to move around. You can be indoors or outside, as long as you have space to move. Make sure there are no heavy or sharp objects in your way, so there is less potential for accidents and injuries.

Sit Properly on the Ball

When sitting on a yoga ball, your feet should be flat on the floor, with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Your ankles should be lined up with your knees, and your back should be as straight as possible. Your feet should be hip-width apart, but if you need more stability, you can place them farther apart in the beginning.

Be Sure to Breathe

Some people tend to hold their breath while exercising, especially when learning new exercises. Don’t fall into this trap! While doing yoga ball exercises, breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. It helps to count while breathing to ensure it is slow and even.

Tips for Using a Yoga Ball

Now for Some Beginner Core and Leg Exercises

Once you are used to sitting and balancing the yoga ball, you can start beginner core and leg exercises. First, try bouncing a bit while you are sitting. This isn’t as easy as it looks, and staying balanced will engage the core muscles. However, be sure to not bounce too much. You shouldn’t lift your body more than an inch from the ball.

Now, try the following exercises.

Sit-Ups

Now you are ready to try some sit-ups.

  1. Sit on the ball and place your feet flat on the floor at hip width.
  2. Engage your core. Lean back with your arms crossed over your chest.
  3. Walk your feet forward so your lower back rests on the yoga ball.
  4. Now, your body should be straight from the top of your head to your knees.
  5. Tuck in your chin and raise your head and shoulders, so you can see your knees, making sure to not sit up completely.
  6. Then, return to the starting position and repeat the movement 10 times.

Ball Lift

  1. Lie on your back and place the yoga ball between your feet.
  2. Lace your fingers behind your head.
  3. Squeeze the ball between your feet to engage your abdominal muscles.
  4. Keeping your legs straight, lift the ball upwards.
  5. When your legs are perpendicular to the floor, stop and slowly lower the ball, so it is an inch or so above the floor.
  6. Repeat this movement 10 times without letting the ball touch the floor.

Ball Plank

  1. Get into the plank position with your feet on the exercise ball. This is a bit tricky, and it will take a bit of work to get your balance.
  2. Maintaining that balance will really work the core muscles and abs.
  3. Hold the pose for a few seconds and relax.
  4. Do 10 repetitions.

Bird Dog

  1. Get on the floor on your hands and knees, so you are over the exercise ball. The ball should be secure beneath your abdominal muscles.
  2. Lift one arm, and at the same time, lift the opposite leg. Your arm and leg should be straight as you extend them from your body.
  3. Take advantage of the ball and use it to help stay balanced as you hold this position for a few seconds.
  4. Next, lower your arm and leg, and repeat with the opposite arm and leg.
  5. Do this exercise 10 times on each side.

Back Extension

  1. Face the floor and roll your tummy onto the top portion of the yoga ball.
  2. As you do this, put your feet behind you, against a wall.
  3. Then, slowly bend your body over the top of the yoga ball.

This will give you an excellent back extension, and the stretch will feel amazing.

Ab Balances

  1. Get on your hands and knees, so you are over the yoga ball.
  2. The ball should be pressing against your hips.
  3. Next, lift your knees off the floor, balancing on the balls of your feet or your toes.
  4. Once you are in position and balanced, move your arms to form a “Y” shape.
  5. Hold this position for a few seconds, then straighten your arms, so your body is straight.
  6. Repeat this exercise four times.

Leg Extensions

  1. Sit on the ball, ensuring your feet are flat on the floor and at hip distance. The core should be engaged.
  2. Raise one foot while straightening the leg. At this point, your calf should be parallel with the floor. Hold this position for a few seconds while using your other leg and abdominal muscles to remain stable on the ball.
  3. Return to the starting position and do the same thing on the other side.
  4. Do 10 repetitions on each side.

Ball Half-Squat

  1. Place the yoga ball against a wall to ensure it won’t move.
  2. Sit on the ball, so your feet are flat on the floor, with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle.
  3. Push onto your heels, lifting yourself up off the yoga ball. Stop when you are about halfway up, ensuring your knees are bent, and your thighs are engaged.
  4. Slowly return to the starting position.
  5. Do 10 repetitions of this exercise.

Conclusion

These exercises are a great way to get accustomed to using a yoga ball. However, before starting any new workout routine, check with your physician, especially if you have existing health conditions.

Working out with a yoga ball is a great way to get into shape and improve your balance and posture, but you must ensure you do the exercises correctly and safely. It is also advisable to work out with a friend for added safety. It also makes working out more fun when you have someone to work with.

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