In the first part of this series we presented 6 exercises for the abs. But using the Swiss ball you can actually work the whole body, whether at home or at your gym. So now it’s time to tone the thighs and glutes. Check out the 5 exercises below, grab a fitness ball and try them yourself.
1. HAMSTRING CURL
A simple but very effective, if properly done, exercise for the hamstrings – so the back side of your thighs. Lie down on the floor – you could use a mat under your upper back. Put the ball in front of your feet. Put your heels on the ball, the knees straight, the feet flex.
Raise your hips by squeezing the glutes – make your there’s a straight line between your chest and thighs. The hips should be neither too low nor too high.
Bend the knees and let the feet roll over the ball. Straight the legs back to the starting position. Keep going for 30 seconds, rest and repeat.
2. WALL-BALL SQUATS
This one is great for the quads, hamstrings and glutes and at the same time it takes off some pressure from the knees – a great alternative for the classic squats. Stand by the wall, but the ball behind your back so that it’s blocked between your back and the wall. The feet should stand slightly forward.
Bend the knees to a squat like position, so that the ball rolls over the wall. Note that the knees are right above the ankles here and your back is nice and straight. You won’t be folding forward like in the classic squats, as you lean against the ball. Keep going for 30 seconds, rest and repeat.
3. SIDE LYING LEG LIFTS
That’s a fantastic exercise to trim the outer and inner thighs. Lie with your left side on the ball, keep the left hand on the floor for safety. Keep the knees straight. feet on the ground. Raise the right leg 45 degrees, hold for a second and go back down. Keep going for 30 seconds.
Next, bend the right leg and put the right foot on the floor in front of the left knee. Raise the left leg a little, hold for a second and go back down. Keep going for 30 seconds. Then change sides and repeat the whole series.
4. BOOTY TO FLOOR
Another great exercise to tone the glutes and thighs. Lay your upper back on the ball, and keep the feet on the ground. Raise your hips up. Band the knees to let the glutes go down so that they almost touch the floor. Raise the hips back up. Your back should be rolling over the ball in this one.
If you want to make it harder bend one leg and keep the knee high as your hips are up. When the hips go down, straighten the knee slowly dropping the leg towards the floor. This way the leg on the floor has to work harder. Continue for 30 seconds with both legs on the ground, and then do 30 seconds for each leg.
5. THREAD THE NEEDLE
A brilliant series of movements based on the elevated plank. Great not only for the thighs but also for the abs and obliques. Get into the starting push-up position but put your feet on the ball.
Pull your right knee towards your chest, straighten the right leg by kicking to the left. Twist the waist as you’re kicking. Go back and repeat with the same leg. Go for 4 rounds of 30 seconds, 2 rounds with each leg.
Remember to brace your core in all the exercises. This way you’ll be able to keep your balance and the workout will be safer. Try out the exercises and share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below. Stay tuned for another part of the Swiss ball series!