I’ve started with the exercise ball. Gosh, parts are challenging! Also, I see how doing an exercise incorrectly can result in injury. (One person on a forum suggested that chiropractors saw a lot of people who messed up their backs by doing ball exercises wrong/when they weren’t ready for it).
This is an ongoing list of exercise ball resources I’ve found.
- 10 Best Exercises for Exercise Ball
- Amazon list of best exercise ball workout videos (the consensus seems to be that this video by Lisbeth George is the best and is not really for beginners despite the title).
- Collage Video has short excerpts from fitness videos, plus reader comments which are very helpful! Also links to magazine reviews of vids.
- Poundaway Store on Ebay that seems to sell a lot of Gunnar Peterson vids for cheap
- an Ergonomics expert discounts the idea that using exercise ball as office chairs is good for you.
- Youtube videos by fitness trainer Adam Davila who emphasizes dumbells + ball. Starbodies intro to doing bodycrunches on the ball.
- One of the best fitness trainers is Denise Austin. I’m using Sculpt your Body with Balls and Bands. It explains things very well, though the book has some padding (success stories, etc). She includes lots of exercises, and frankly there’s a learning curve involved. How do you process all these exercises into a coherent workout plan? Her video Ultimate Fat Burner is reputed to be the best workout video out there for cardio. (I just checked it out of the library).
- Two other books I use: Simply Ball with Pilates Principles by Jennifer Pohlman and Rodney Searle. Even includes a 36 minute workout DVD. Great introduction, and I bought it for $2.50 locally. Also Exercise Ball by Sara Rose. Doesn’t contain as much information, but it has great instructional pictures. That’s really important.
I’ve been learning a lot and learning how much I don’t know–and need to. Here are some principles I’m gathering:
First, workout videos can be great for modeling the form of the exercise and for pacing your rhythm. They can also be exhausting! I’ve been careful not to exert myself too much until I know what I’m doing. Interestingly, many people recommend switching exercises on a regular basis so you don’t get used to any one video. Many people buy videos to do the actual training program, but I’m not sure I agree. I get the videos mainly to learn how to do the exercises themselves, not to use it to follow along. Once I learn the technique, you can be sure I’ll be watching Drew Carey Show or Sex in the City show on my TV.
Second, planning a routine is extremely time-consuming. Which exercises to pick? How do you rotate them? Which ones are safe for you? How do you be sure the way you do the exercise is the right way to do it? I understand the appeal of relying on exercise videos to plan your routine, but of course, that means spending a lot of money on videos. I’ve bought 2 videos, and am thinking of buying Gunnar Peterson’s 4 DVD series (for $40). If I had more experience, perhaps I wouldn’t need these videos. But starting out, I would regard it as a worthwhile investment.
Third, one reason I’m investing time and money in this is to be able to do more workouts at home and away. But the exercise ball doesn’t provide much in the way of cardio fitness (although theoretically it is possible; anything is possible!).