Monday, April 20, 2009

Exercise of the Week: Stability Ball Push-Up

If you want to move beyond the basic push-up for upper body strength, try stability push ups. This variation of the push up increases the difficulty (as well as the effectiveness of the standard push up).

Personally, I prefer my client to perform functional exercises rather than just push weights around. Functional exercise is generally an exercise that requires you to use your body as resistance rather than free weights or machines. These exercises require more muscles to be activated (stabilizers and core muscles) during the movement. This push up works more muscles than a bench press.

When you add the requirement of balance, you also increase muscle fiber activation. During functional exercises, a machine doesn't control the movement patterns so your muscles must control it. If you're working harder, you burn more calories and you gain more strength.

Keep in mind that you should progress from the basic push up to the stability push up in order to perform it safely. Do not attempt stability push ups until you can do 20 basic push-ups. Instructions:

1. Lay with your chest on the stability ball Place your hands at the sides of your chest. Place your toes on the floor, legs straight.

2. Push your body up until your arms are almost straight, but do not lock your elbows. Hold here for two seconds.

3. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat to fatigue.

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