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A half balance ball is a versatile fitness device that can be a great addition to any home gym.
With a flat platform on one side and a rubber dome on the other (resembling half an exercise ball), it can help you improve your balance and flexibility, sharpen your reflexes, and reshape your body.
Virtually any workout can be enhanced by incorporating the use of a half balance ball. Because it requires you to use more muscles to stabilize your body, it means your workout will be more intense, making you burn more calories, too.
A half balance ball can also be helpful for rehabilitating from injuries and improving back pain.
The half balance ball Offers Increased Versatility
To use the half balance ball for balance training, place the domed side facing down. Standing on the flat platform will require you to engage your stabilizing muscles. In the beginning, simply maintaining your balance while standing still may be all you can manage.
If need be, use a wall or the back of a chair to prevent you from toppling over. As your balance improves, you can start out doing some of the basic exercises.
The real-life benefits of balance training using an unstable surface like the half balance ball have been scientifically proven. In one study,a 12-week proprioception training program for older adults that included work on the half balance ball was found to help improve postural stability, and static and dynamic balance, thereby reducing the risk of falling.
With the domed side facing up, you can use it much like a regular exercise ball, helping you stretch, lying either face up or face down. It's also great for doing crunches.
To stretch out your calves, place the domed side down and step on the rim of the platform. A number of cardio and strebgth training exercises can also be done incorporating the half balance ball for added intensity. Examples include:Sample half balance ball Workout
Do 10-15 reps for each exercise:
For a more advanced version, place your right hand out to the side and straighten your right leg, and raise your left arm out beside your head. Then reach up, touching your toes to your hand, keeping both arm and leg straight. Repeat on the other side to complete one rep.
- Squat: For a beginner's half balance ball squat, perform a basic squat standing on the domed side. For intermediate level, add a small hop as you raise yourself out of the squat. For a more advanced squat, flip the half balance ball and perform the squat balancing on the flat platform.
- Burpee: To perform a basic burpee, drop into squat position with your hands on the domed side of the half balance ball ball. Step back one leg at a time, and then step back in one leg at a time; finish by standing up and raising your arms. You can increase the pace as you go. The intermediate burpee involves a hop. Place your hands on the half balance ball and jump both feet straight back. Jump both feet back in, then jump up, raising your arms. For the advanced version, flip the half balance ball over so the flat side is facing up. Place your hands on the flat side, drop your chest to the ball, jump both feet back and return, then stand up and lift the half balance ball above your head.
- Plank knee tuck: Beginners, start in regular pushup position with hands on the domed side. Bring your right knee forward toward your right elbow. Then switch legs, brining your left knee toward your left elbow. That's one rep. The intermediate is the same exercise but with a cross-over, so your right knee goes toward your left elbow and your left knee toward your right elbow. For the advanced version, add a small hop when you switch feet.
- Oblique crunch: Lie back across the domed side of the half balance ball. With your hands behind your head, lift up and bring your right elbow toward your left, reaching across your body. Lower yourself down and repeat on the other side. The intermediate version involves lifting the opposite knee as you come up and reach across to the side, touching your right elbow to your left knee, and vice versa.