Stability Ball Exercises for a Strong, Toned Back

The stability ball, also called an exercise ball, is a superb way to improve your strength, flexibility and muscle tone. You can focus on your whole body or work specific muscle groups. Warm spring days are just around the corner and so are backless, short-sleeve and sleeveless fashions. You will want your shoulders, upper back and arms to be toned and firm for spring and summer fashions and trips to the beach. Try these three upper body strengthening and toning stability ball exercises to get you in shape fast.
Performing push-ups using a stability ball adds an extra dimension of strengthening and toning to the regular push-up.  Begin with the stability ball underneath your body with your hands and feet on the floor. Keep your palms flat on the floor directly under your shoulders. Breathe in and squeeze your abdominal muscles. Walk your body backward until the stability ball is under your stomach and extend your legs out, but keep your toes on the floor. Place your palms on the stability ball underneath your shoulders. Squeeze the ball with your hands and press upward with your arms to lift your body off the ball. Hold the position for a few seconds and then lower your body back toward the ball. Exhale when pushing upward and inhale when lowering your body back down. Keep your spine in a straight line from the top of your head to your heels. 
Photo Credit:  LocalFitness.com.au
Leg extensions strengthen your chest, arms and upper back. Start by draping your body over a stability ball placed under your stomach. Place your hands palms down on the floor under your shoulders. Breathe out and tighten your abdominal muscles. Lift your feet off the floor and try to keep your legs together. Make a straight line with your body from your head to  your heels. Point your toes for maximum extension. Hold this position for a few seconds. The longer you can  hold the position, the better. Exhale, relax and then repeat the extension. 

Concentrate on your back and shoulders with a shoulder extension workout. Position yourself on the stability ball with it in the middle of your body and your hands and feet on the floor. Stretch out your legs, but keep your toes on the floor. Walk backward until the ball is directly underneath your stomach and both legs are stretched out straight with your toes on the floor. Stretch your arms straight out in front of your body. Try to keep your body straight and avoid arching your back. Slowly bring your arms back until you form a Y shape. Continue bringing  your arms back until they are straight out from the shoulder and form a T shape. Hold this position for a few seconds and then bring your arms back to the start position. Breathe out and repeat the exercise. 

Fun Exercise Ball Workout

Photo Credit: LocalFitness.com.au
An exercise ball, also called a balance ball, is a great piece of equipment to develop balance and muscle strength. The exercise ball comes in a variety of sizes so that almost everyone can find a size that fits their body type and the intensity of their workout. The balance ball works large and small muscle groups as well as stimulating proprioceptors for a total body workout. Proprioceptors are sensors in the body that tell us where our body is in space and in relation to other objects. Proprioceptors let us know where a part of our body is in relation to the rest of our body. We can tell without looking if our knees are bent or if our hand is raised. Working out on an exercise ball can help sharpen proprioceptors for improved balance. 
Squats on an exercise ball help develop your core muscles, including your abdominal muscles and glutes. Stand up straight with an exercise ball between your lower back and a wall. Lean against the ball and hold your hands at your sides with your hands on your hips. Point your toes forward and slide your feet about hip-width apart. Try to keep your feet flat on the floor, squeeze your abdominal muscles and slowly lower your body toward the floor as if you are going to sit down on a chair. Stop when the top of your thighs are parallel to the floor and your knees are bent at a 90 degree angle. If you can’t go all the way to a “sitting” position, go as low as you can without pain and hold the position for 10 to 15 seconds. Exhale and push your body back to standing position. Repeat this exercise for 5 to 10 repetitions.
Stretches and bridges are good way to strengthen your abdomen, back, neck, arms and leg muscles. Get on the floor on your hands and knees and place the exercise ball under your belly. Lift and extend your right arm and your left leg. Stretch your arm and leg away from the center of your body out to to the sides. Hold the position for 10 to 15 seconds and return to the start position. Repeat this exercises with your left arm and your right leg. Breathe in and tighten your abs when stretching and then exhale when returning to the start position.  

Place the exercise ball on the floor and position it underneath your belly. Place your palms flat on the floor about shoulder-width apart with your fingers pointed forward. Keep your head, neck and spine in a straight line. Extend your legs in a straight line with your spine and slowly walk your body forward on  your hands. Keep your belly balanced on the ball and allow the ball to roll beneath your body. Go as far forward as you can. Beginners may want to stop when the ball is underneath their thighs. As you get stronger and your balance improves, walk forward until the ball is underneath your ankles. Walk back until the ball is back underneath your belly.