One of the most versatile pieces of equipment that you can find at a gym or even in your own home is an exercise ball. The most basic exercises that can be performed on an exercise ball are body weight movements – they are movements done where your body weight provides the resistance. In this article we are going to be looking at one of the staples of any basic exercise routine – push-ups.
There are a huge number of variations of push-ups that can be performed without an exercise ball and most of them can be modified to work with one. The benefit of using an exercise ball while doing standard push-ups is that it elevates your legs placing more emphasis on the upper chest and deltoids (shoulders) as well as utilising your core muscles to stabilise yourself as you balance.
To perform the standard push-up on an exercise ball you need to lean over the ball so your hands touch the ground on the other side of the ball to your feet and your stomach rests on the ball. From this position you will start to shift your weight forward and walk your hands out in front of you. As you do this your body should be moving outward until eventually the top of your feet are resting on the ball.Your hands should be pointing forward and roughly around about shoulder width apart.
Now that you are in position there are a few important things to remember;
– Always keep your core muscles tight
– Keep your back and legs in line
– Look down at the ground
The above tips are to help prevent injury occurring to your back and neck. Once you are in the correct position start to lower your chest toward the ground in a slow and controlled manner just before you touch the ground stop and hold the position for a split second before pushing up to your original position. This push can be more explosive than the descent but it still needs to be controlled.
Withe one repition completed you repeat this process until you have done a set of ten to fifteen push-ups, take a short rest (roughly 1 minute) and then repeat again. Three to four total sets is more than enough to adequately work the muscle especially if you have never done push-ups before.
There are numerous alternatives as you start to get stronger that put emphasis on different parts of the chest, shoulders and arms. However these shoudl not be attempted until you can consistently complete three to four sets of standard push-ups with good form.