Last month I did a post on fit ball exercises and how you can use them as a weapon in your arsenal of awesome. It hopefully debunked the myths surrounding this unique piece of equipment by presenting a basic routine and rundown all supplied by Janelle Waters (Holistic Lifestyle Coach & Personal Trainer) over at NESH.
This week, I’ve asked Janelle for more information on how to use the fitball for more advanced training techniques including how to ignite new muscle growth, gain strength and burn fat. You know, for those of us that are usually too awesome to do anything less than one-armed pushups and 300lb tricep kick-backs
Clint: Janelle, the last time we spoke you ran me through a program for using the fit ball as an effective tool in general terms. What If this time, I want to use one to not only build my core, but for serious strength gains?
Janelle: The fit ball can be used by beginners through to eilte athletes, and you can do any exercise on a ball that you would do on a bench, therefore, it can be used for serious strength gains.
The variable with strength training is not the equipment used but the number of sets (3-5) and repetitions (4-8) with more rest.
Clint: What about igniting new muscle growth and adding bad-ass muscle size?
Janelle: As above, it’s not the equipment used but the sets (10-12) and reps (8-12) with less rest.
Clint: How would I alter this approach for fat loss and to burn fat?
Janelle: For fat loss, a circuit-style program is the most effective with 12-15 reps, 3-4 sets and 30 seconds rest between circuits. Again, you can work any muscle group utilising the ball, whether you are sitting on it, lying prone or supine, kneeling and yes even standing!
Due to the unstable base, you may not be able to lift as heavy as you would otherwise, but this by no means limits you to reaching even heavier weights.
Clint: How would you recommend I add this fit ball exercise program into my current routine?
Every now and then? Once a month? Can you explain how it’s most effectively put to use?
Janelle: I always like to program at least 1 or 2 exericses with the fitball to work the core muscles if nothing else. I find the fitball surpasses any other training tool or exercise when activating the core muscles. Otherwise, instead of using a bench to do reverse flyes, why not try using a fitball? Due to the unstable base, you may not be able to lift as heavy as you would otherwise, but this by no means limits you to reaching even heavier weights. Keep in mind that most functional movements e.g squat, lunge, pulls, and all sports require a strong core, so I believe incorporating a fitball into your workout is a must.
Clint: Would it be better to just add a fit ball exercise into my existing routine as an addition or as a replacement for a current exercise.
Say instead of Shoulder press i could do it on a fit ball?
Janelle: Both! Add a prone hold to your workout, or if you are already doing the plank, then replace the shoulder press machine with seated on fit ball dumb bell shoulder press.
What do you think about people attempting to do squats standing on TOP of fit balls?
Janelle: This is an advanced exercise, and requires a lot of core strength, so it isn’t for everyone. It’s an exercise you would need to build up to in terms of both core strength and squat technique.
Sample fitball exercises
Below are some sample exercises that you can use to replace existing non fitball related ones already in your arsenal. Try to use at least one of them as a substitute in your next gym session to REALLY help ignite some new muscle development.
Lying on a fitball so that your head, shoulders and upper back are supported by the ball.
With the hips up, holding two dumbbells press the dumbbells to arms length above you.
Lying face up on a fitball holding one dumbbell above your chest.
Raise the dumbbell in an arc over and behind your head.
Pull the dumbbell over your head to return to the start position and repeat.
|Dumbbell static lunge rear foot on swiss ball|
Standing holding dumbbells by your sides in a lunge with your rear foot resting on a fitball.
Drawing your belly button inwards, bend your front knee to lower into a lunge maintaining your balance on the ball.
Push with your front leg to rise out of the lunge and repeat.
|Seated fitball dumbbell shoulder press|
Seated on a fitball holding dumbbells at shoulder height.
Drawing your belly button inward, straighten your elbows to push the dumbells overhead.
Lower the dumbells under control and repeat.
|Fitball weighted crunch|
Lying over a fitball with your tailbone and head touching, holding a dumbbell in front of your chest.
Drawing your belly button inwards, crunch up.
Reverse the movement unwinding from the low back to your head and repeat.
Note: For a comprehensive program including unique training videos, don’t hesitate to contact Janelle. She’d love to help you out.
Janelle Waters has been in the health and fitness industry since 1995 and has worked as a Personal Trainer, Nutritionist, Boxing/Fitball Instructor, and as a Corporate Health Club Manager.
Not surprisingly, she holds a long list of qualifications. Read more about Janelle here
Editor’s Note: Do you incorporate advanced fit ball techniques into your training to ignite new muscle mass? Comment below.