Beauty & Health, From the Trainer

Keeping It Cool with the FitBall Plank

By Ryan Unverzagt

Welcome back all you faithful readers! I hope you enjoyed the Weight Plate Lunge from last month and are managing well in the heat. This month’s exercise is the FitBall Plank. This is an isometric exercise (no sweating with this one) in which the objective is to hold your muscle contractions to prevent movement. Typically when you think of exercising, you think of moving. However, you might be surprised how difficult this is with minimal movement. The FitBall Plank is a challenging exercise for not only your core, but also the triceps, shoulders, hips, and quadriceps.

Here is the setup: Lie face down on top of a FitBall with your forearms underneath your chest. (see photo). Place the feet about hip-width apart. Slowly push yourself up off the ball until your elbows are beneath your shoulders. The hips should also rise even with the rest of the body. Hold this “plank” position for at least 20 seconds to start, then progress to longer holds. Remember to breathe normal and do not hold your breath.

You can crank up the intensity by adding small (2-3 inches) forward/backward or side-to-side forearm movements. You can also try “drawing” shapes such as circles, squares, triangles, or even spell the alphabet. Another way to change difficulty level is to adjust your foot width. A wider base will provide more stability and narrow placement (feet together) will be less stable.

Because the FitBall is such a versatile piece of equipment, I will be sharing more of these exercises in future articles. I urge you incorporate more FitBall training into your workouts.

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