If you think you can step in for a cold shower after a rigorous workout session, you have been doing it wrong. While you may have been sweating it out at the gym, sore muscles are no proof that the body is responding to the workout. What is imperative is to do your stretches. However, the good news is that an exercise ball can allay these problems. The ball game is apt for increasing one’s flexibility and balance. Every move in the exercises rejuvenates as the workout targets all areas of fitness. These workouts essentially relax tight areas like chest and hips. On the whole, the stretching workout using an exercise ball is a holistic way to relax the rigid body muscles.
1. Whole body Stretch
Stand in front of the exercise ball with legs widened. Keeping a slight bend on the knees, place your hands on the ball and lay backward stretching yourself on the ball.
2. Back Stretch
With the ball facing directly in front, stand with widened feet. Take your hand, and place it on the ball. Now rotate the ball with the sides of your palm and thumb facing the roof. Roll the ball as far as you can, to stretch your arm muscles.
3. Standing Back Stretch
Hug the ball to your chest with arms over the ball. Now bend forward while resting the ball on the thighs and let your arms hang down.
4. Lower Back Extension
Kneel behind the stability ball and roll forward so that your abdomen is resting directly on the ball. Straighten the legs and flex the feet so the toes are your main point of tension with the mat. Without shrugging the shoulders, reach your arms out in a t-position and use your core muscles to slowly lift up. As you contract the lower back, allow your arms to pulse backward slightly, engaging the muscles around the shoulder blades. Then slowly release, leaving arms in the t-formation, and return to the starting position.
5. Bouncing On the Ball
Sit tall on the ball with arms relaxed by your sides. Place feet hip-width apart, and knees aligned over the ankles.
Press your feet firmly on the ground as you lift your body slightly, then in a bouncing motion, return to the starting position. Start slowly, and increase your pace as you feel comfortable.
—The writer is the co-founder, COO and head coach of a Mumbai-based fitness centre.