I like to combine different exercises for my clients so that they can maximize their efforts during each training session. Plyoball, or medicine ball, training has been a nice change for them and it allows them to “shake up” their usual weight training routine. This nice change of pace can help to invigorate their workouts so they can stay focused and excited to keep going!
You can use the tools discussed in this article for individual exercises but if you combine different exercises into an overall routine, you will be able to use more overall muscle groups along with important stabilizer muscles and be able to challenge them in a way which will help you burn more fat and calories during your workout!
The additional benefit to this type of training is the fact that you will be forced to actually think during your training routine. You must concentrate on multiple movements and patterns so this type of workout program will stimulate the brain as well as the body. The feedback I most commonly receive is “I can really feel this exercise”. I can teach my clients the names of the specific exercises, the exact muscles being trained and how to properly execute them. However, with some individuals, this type of training sticks but with others it simply doesn’t. The “no pain, no gain” mentality is still very present no matter how hard we try to diminish that myth.
A good exercise to start with when using the plyoball is to perform the squat and shoulder press combination movement. To start, choose a plyoball that is comfortable yet has a challenging weight to it while holding it securely with both hands. Slowly squat down to the bottom position while holding the ball at about chest level and then explode up while extending your legs and simultaneously press the ball over your head like you’re doing an overhead shoulder press. Immediately return to your squat position and repeat the movement. You will be amazed at the intensity of this movement and your increased breathing pattern by just doing 1 set of 12-15 repetitions. This is a very effective whole body exercise!
The next exercise will be walking lunges with a twist which is performed by turning in the direction of the lead leg while keeping the knees in a bent position which will work both your core muscles and your legs. Your postural muscles are triggered while you work on keeping your shoulders back, your chest out and your head neutral.
If you really want to kick it up and get super intense, try performing burpees while holding the plyoball. This combines both the squat and shoulder press movements with a pushup like movement performed while your hands remain on the ball which incorporates upper body balance and strength. The muscles of the core are triggered during each phase of this incredible exercise. The burpee is a true whole body exercise that is excellent for both fat burning and cardiovascular conditioning.
Upward or downward chop exercises use a squat type movement along with a shoulder press but these movements utilize different angles while performing them. Your hips will work harder with this exercise as will your lats (back muscles) and calves since you can raise up onto your toes at the top of the movement while working on your balance. You must use your large back muscles to execute the chopping motions and that’s why this exercise is great for building muscle and increasing strength in the upper body.
Another great combination I really like to use for the core is the pullover crunch exercise. You will position your body on an exercise ball and perform a crunch while holding the plyoball at your chest and then toss the ball in the air when you reach the top of the crunch and finally catch it. While holding the ball overhead, you will return back down to the starting position and allow the ball to go back behind your head like a pullover movement. Make sure to use a very light plyoball when you first begin this exercise to ensure you have the movement down correctly.
Advanced gym-goers can implement a chin-up or pull-up combination with a leg curl movement. This is a very difficult exercise to execute! You have to hold the ball between your ankles, perform a complete pull-up or chin-up and then at the top position, you will hold the ball and curl your legs all the way up. This one is going to burn big time!
If you continue to train with weighted balls (plyoballs and medicine balls) on a regular basis you will most likely come up with some new and interesting combinations and fun movements using different exercises. This is a great way to keep things fresh and use a little creativity to spice up your workouts!