A Few New Stability Ball Exercises

Do you ever get bored with certain fitness equipment or tools? I usually do when I’m feeling in a rut and sick of my “usual” exercises with them. Lately I’ve felt that way about the stability ball, but at Mania I learned a few new moves that have inspired me to start using my stability ball once again. None of these exercises are anything super crazy different, but just involve a new way to switch things up from your everyday traditional moves.

I thought you guys might want some inspiration too!

Elbow Plank Knee Drives

  • Roll into an elbow plank on the stability ball (traditional move).
  • Alternate tapping each knee into the ball (makes it a little harder).
  • Here’s the part I love –> Instead of just gently tapping your knees into the ball, drive your knees in to hit the ball hard. The force from your legs causes the ball to roll around a bit, which causes YOU to use more core to stabilize yourself in the plank. LOVE.
  • Variations – Do this on the same leg, alternating legs, cross knees, etc.

Elbow Plank Knee Drive

Slowed down stability ball curl ups

  • Walk yourself into the position for a stability ball crunch (traditional move).
  • Keep your lower back on the ball, and work SLOWLY (that’s the difference) to curl up and back down. Make sure to never lower past a point where you can’t see your knees. That one instruction makes a huge difference in how much you feel your core working.

Stability Ball Curl Ups

  • Next variation: Roll down each shoulder-blade, and then back up through the center. Example: Roll down your right shoulder-blade to target your obliques before curling up in the center. You could stick to each side or alternate sides.
  • Final variation: Roll to each direction before curling back up. Example – Left, right, center. Then right, left, center, and so on.

Stability Ball Curl Ups with Rotation

Stability ball side planks

  • This exercise takes your standard side planks (traditional move) and adds a stability ball, but by your feet.
  • Version 1: Assume your side plank position with your top leg on the ball and your bottom knee down on the ground in front of the ball.
  • Version 2: Top leg on the ball, bottom leg out straight with your foot behind the ball.
  • Version 3: Top leg on the ball, bottom leg out straight under the ball.
  • Variations –> Elbow, straight arm, hip dips, just hold, etc. Part I LOVE in any of the positions —> Using your top foot, roll the stability forward and back. Killer!

Side Planks

Stability Ball Hover to Elbow Plank

  • Place your forearms on the stability ball as if you were going to assume an elbow plank position.
  • Lift your knees so they are hovering over the ground, making sure they are underneath your navel.
  • Hold there, then roll out to elbow plank (traditional move), then roll back in, and repeat.
  • Variations – single leg, add the drive ins once out in elbow plank, etc.

Hover to PlankHope you like these!

What’s a piece of fitness equipment that you’ve felt in a rut with before?

Weekend Recap and Weekly Workouts

Morning! This weekend consisted of a bit of everything. After a long work day on Friday, Tim and I decided to grab a quick bite to eat (along with a much-needed glass of wine!) at Wicked in Legacy Place before seeing the Hunger Games. I haven’t been to the movies in months, but it was a much-needed distraction for the night.

On Saturday I woke up early to clean the apartment, go through the bajillion emails I had neglected all week, and go to kickboxing. The rest of Saturday was spent getting ready for my friend Cate’s bachelorette party that night. We got a hotel room at the Renaissance Waterfront, did dinner in the North End, saw an Improv Asylum show, and finished out the night with dancing and lots of drinks. I had a lot of fun! Jill took most of the photos for the night, but here are a couple from my phone:

Cate's Bachelorette

Cate's Bachelorette

Explanation of the second one – we played a game in the hotel before going out where every girl brought a pair of underwear for Cate and she had to guess who brought each pair. This “wanna fork” pair was from me! If you are ever looking for a fun bachelorette game, this is a pretty easy one and the options can range from granny panties to crotchless. It gets pretty funny.

Finally, Sunday was spent doing my normal “getting ready for the week” activities and going out for my mom’s birthday. Happy birthday, mom!

mom bday

And now we’re into another week. At least it’s a short one with the holiday? Here’s last week’s workout recap and plan for this week.

Last Week’s Workouts

Sunday
I took my last three classes at Boston Mania to wrap up my weekend there.

Monday
I took a complete rest day, which was much deserved after my fitness filled weekend.

Tuesday
I stuck to my Two A Day Tuesday routine and took Liz’s Kickboxing class before teaching my Interval class. I used the same format I used in my Thursday class last week where each round consisted of five pairs of exercises. Each pair had a strength move (10 reps) and a cardio blast (20 seconds of either 180 degree jump squats or high knees) and was done for four rounds. I finished class with some stand alone lower body and ab work, including some new exercises I learned at Mania.

Wednesday
I was feeling pretty sore still from the weekend/Tuesday’s workout, so I opted for 45 minutes of steady state cardio on the elliptical. It was exactly what I needed.

Ellipticals

Thursday
I taught my class in the morning and incorporated new bench work that I learned at Mania. For a format, I did an upper body strength superset (three rounds of each move) followed by 3-2-1 lower body/cardio blast that used the bench. For the 3-2-1 part, three minutes was of a less intense move, two minutes was a harder version of the move, and the last minute was the highest intensity version.

Friday
Rest day

Saturday
I took Monique‘s Kickboxing class which left me a sweaty mess and my glutes and hams sore all weekend.

This Week’s Workouts

  • Sunday: Rest
  • Monday: Not sure yet! I’m in the mood to play it by ear. Suggestions?
  • Tuesday: Kickboxing + teaching my class
  • Wednesday: Cardio and core work
  • Thursday: Having a secret Thanksgiving sweat sesh with my gym friends before heading to my family’s for the day. I guess it’s not so secret any more?
  • Friday: I have a feeling I am going to want lots of cardio!
  • Saturday: It depends on what I do Friday night and how early I’m able to get up. Ideally, I want to get back to Monique’s Kickboxing class. If not, I’ll do something else before my ten-year high school reunion that night. I also could run in the alumni cross-country meet if I want… hmm…

How was your weekend? What’s a fun game you’ve played at a bachelorette or bachelor party? Any workouts you’d like to share to start the week off on the right foot?

Enjoy the day!

F&F Friday Favorites {The 5 Version}

TGIF! Am I right or am I right?

Here are my faves from the week. Enjoy!

Friday Favorites

5 Fitness Favorites

Boston Mania - MMA

  • Do you have any strength imbalances? Ever wondered how to strengthen that weaker side? Nia Shanks explains it all.
  • If you are looking for new workout music, Recycle Studio just posted another REPLAY of the week. Check out these jams.
  • Back to basics —> Here are three basic exercises you may be doing incorrectly.
  • Yes to everything in this post about missed fitness opportunities, including not thinking about them as mistakes/failure. Just ways to improve, people!
  • I will be trying this workout that Monique posted this week in her Wednesday Workout series. I think Jen tried it this week too, judging by Wednesday night Instagram activity.

5 Food Favorites

Quinoa

  • Sweet potato and pomegranate salad. Sounds like me, huh?
  • Anne wrote a whole post about quinoa, with fun facts and recipes. For you readers who are thinking, quin-whaaa, definitely read this one! I made the cranberry and pecan version for lunch this week (pictured above).
  • Three different ways to make baked brie bites. This has holiday appetizer written all over it.
  • Cranberry sauce. Not from a jar.
  • 33 vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes that taste like real food, along with 44 vegan ones as well. I love that Greatist added “…and not tofurkey” to this post title.

5 Blogging Favorites

blog

5 Healthy Living Favorites

Core Strength - Side Plank

  • Interesting? Harsh? What do you think?
  • Here are 5 quick and easy ways to have a healthy Thanksgiving, courtesy of Around the Plate.
  • Attention worry warts! Ten ways to worry less.
  • The secret to productivity. Need!
  • This one really resonated with me. Let’s stop being sorry for the times life gets too busy to blog. Let’s stop being sorry for the times you just have to say no and take a break. And how awesome to compare LIFE to interval training in a workout. Thank you, Tina!

What have you guys been reading this week? Share in the comments!

I also want to start sharing the things you guys send me throughout the week. I used to do this when I was posting Friday Favorites more often, so let’s make it happen again. I love seeing the things you’re reading, making, eating, doing for workouts, etc. Send them along to me via email or social media, and I’ll try my best to include/share in these posts.

Happy weekend!