SWISS BALL CORE STRENGTHENING EXERCISES. “Are Planks Just A Fad?” ask Bob Schrupp and Brad Heineck, the self-proclaimed “Most Famous Physical Therapists on the Internet”. They answer, “We Have a Better Option for Core Strengthening” in a YouTube video. As usual for this pair of PTs, the highlighted routine appears to be unstructured and off-the cuff. It’s the type of presentation that has been successful for Schrupp and Heineck who “ham-and egg” the videos, playing off each other’s self-effacing, mildly comical comments.
The video demonstration shows Brad performing the moves rapidly. Most experienced fitness buffs know that slow moves, rather than fast, are better for maintaining proper form and working targeted muscles, as well as preventing injury. Brad is attempting to show a number of moves in a short period of time to keep viewers’ attention. Don’t rush through the exercises like he is doing.
When watching one of their videos I must replay it several times to get the specifics, so I have provided my written descriptions (not theirs).
NOTE” Although these two physical therapists don’t seem to respect planks, they are an awesome exercise that also works the arm, chest, leg, and gluteal muscles too. If you have performed them you will know that it’s not just your core that is being tested as the position is held. I intend to continue to include planks and plank variations in my daily workouts.
Once introduced to the stability/Swiss ball, you may find you love working on one - I do. Try performing a traditional plank with forearms resting on the ball. The difficulty will be greatly increased; you’ll get twice the workout says the Men’s Health ‘Big Book of Exercises,’ according to Canadian researchers. For an even tougher exercise move the ball with your forearms from side to side, forward and backward, and in a clockwise/counter-clockwise motion while ‘planking. Oh wow!
Checkout the YouTube Video; the descriptions (below) might help you recall the exercises without watching it every time you exercise.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
Brad’s Swiss Ball Exercises to Replace the Plank
Exercise 1: Lay on back in ‘dead bug’-like position with legs up and knees bent at 90-degree angle, arms extended and resting on the floor at sides. Grip ball with bent knees, raise and lower it. Start with 10; progress to greater number as you are able.
Exercise 2: Same starting position as exercise 1 but with arms folded across chest, elbows pointing toward legs. Raise and lower ball AND raise and lower trunk (just shoulders come up off floor; don’t bend neck) in an effort to bring elbows closer to the ball.
Exercise 3: Same starting position as exercise 2 with arms folded across chest, elbows pointing toward legs. With shoulders lifted off floor, twist trunk such that one elbow is brought to the opposite knee that is gripping the ball (just shoulders come up off floor; don’t bend neck). Like a ‘bicycle’ move but with the ball between the knees.
Exercise 4: Lay prone, with abdomen resting on top of the ball, with center of body supported by the ball, legs straight back, toes touching floor. Arms can rest on the ball. Alternately lift one leg, then the other, keeping legs mostly straight.
Exercise 5: Lay prone, in a similar position as exercise 4, but with body more forward on the ball and forearms resting on the floor (as if performing a plank). Legs and feet will be off the floor straight back, with thighs partly supported by the ball. Lift both legs at the same time, as high as possible, keeping them mostly straight. Be aware that in the video Brad can lift his legs quite high because he is bracing his body while gripping the edge of the table. He admits that doing this for demonstration purposes he can lift them higher, but on the floor, not so high.
Exercise 6: Lay prone, in a similar position as exercise 4, legs straight back, toes touching floor. Arms can rest on the ball. Lift trunk and shoulders up off the ball as if trying to look at something on a nearby table top.
Variation a: Twist trunk from side to side while supporting lifted trunk on ball
Variation b: Arms crossed on chest; no support from arms holding onto ball (good for golfers)
Variation c: Hold onto a weight with crossed arms
Variation d: Superman position; lift trunk, with arms extended straight forward, next to ears, palms in
Sit on ball facing wall, knees bent; feet on floor with toes up against wall to hold position; scoot down so that back is supported by the ball. Cross arms across chest. Bring shoulders and upper back up, and then lower them, like doing a crunch but with back supported on ball.
Variation a: Twist trunk to bring left shoulder to right and back then right shoulder to left to exercise abdominal external oblique muscles.
Variation b. Hold weight against chest for either move to increase difficulty
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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