Get On The Ball

Stability balls for fitness aren't just for kids.


You’re a busy police officer with what seems to be commitments almost 24/7; sometimes there aren’t enough hours in the day to get in your car and head to the gym. You worked overtime; today is traffic court; you have an appointment with the DA to go over your testimony for an upcoming trial. Your intentions are good—you want to stay in shape for the sake of your job and your health. Time, however, is the enemy. There never seems to be enough of it. The answer: a thirty minute core workout at home, two or three times per week, using a Stability Ball, also known as a Swiss Ball or Exercise Ball.

CLICK HERE to watch the video accompanying this article.

If you are not using one of these unique pieces of equipment you’re missing the boat. All gyms have them available for their patrons, and personal trainers recognize their importance in training  clients for core strength and balance. You can pick one up for under $20.00 at any sporting goods or department store. However, make sure you buy the right one. The balls are sold according to your height. Check to see that your hips are level, or just slightly higher than your knees when sitting on one. Also, as a beginner, under inflating the ball is advisable as it will be easier to work on. Once you become more adept at this form of exercise you may fully inflate the ball to give your core an even better workout.

In addition to the photos in this article, a video is also provided which will give you a clear illustration about how to perform each exercise. My good friend, Starr Archulet, who is an American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Certified Personal Trainer, demonstrates the movements in her fitness studio.

Here are five exercises that will strengthen your core (abs and back) and ensure your ability to perform your job safely and effectively. Remember to tighten your abs during each exercise.

THE PLANK

  • Lie on your stomach on the ball with your feet touching the floor. Reach forward, placing your hands flat on the floor.
  • Using your hands, walk forward so that your thighs are resting atop the ball, and your shoulders are directly in line with your hands.
  • Hold this position for a ten count. Walk your hands back to your starting position, then repeat. Do three to five sets.


REVERSE CRUNCH or JACKNIFE

  • Lie on your stomach on the ball with your feet touching the floor. Reach forward, placing your hands flat on the floor, keeping them in line with your shoulders and walk forward with them until your upper thighs are resting atop the ball.
  • Bring your knees forward toward your chest so that you are kneeling on the ball, hold for a deep breath. Return to the start position and repeat.
  • Do three to five sets of five to ten repetitions.


REGULAR CRUNCH

  • With your feet flat on the floor, shoulder width apart, sit with your back straight.
  • Cross your arms and lean back until you fell your abs tighten. Hold for a three count.
  • Return to the upright position. Do five sets of five to ten repetitions.


BACK EXTENSION

  • With your feet on the floor, shoulder width apart, lie on the ball with your hips resting on it and your back straight.
  • Place your hands behind your head and slowly roll down the ball until your waist line is resting atop the ball and your body is positioned in a straight line. Do not hyperextend your back. Hold for a three count and relax. Do five sets of ten repetitions


HIP EXTENSION

  • Lie on the floor with your feet atop the ball. With your heels planted firmly, slowly lift your hips from the floor until your body forms a straight line. Tightly squeeze your glutes. Hold for a three count and lower.
  • Do five sets of ten repetitions.

 

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