I'd like to build a daily or bi-daily strength and flexibility workout around a new exercise ball I have. What are some good exercises to start with?
AskMen.com has a nice beginners' exercise ball routine including:
- Trunk Extensions for your lower back.
- Core Crunchers for your abs and core.
- Basic Crunches for your abs.
- Elevated Pushups for your pecs, shoulders, triceps, and abs.
- Bent Knee Bridges for your gluts and hamstrings.
- Abdominal Rolls for your abs.
- Opposite Limb Extension for your lower back, gluts, and hamstrings.
- Balanced Pushups for your pecs, shoulders, triceps, and abs.
- Supermans for your entire back and gluts.
- Seated Wall Roll for your quads, hamstrings, and gluts.
The only thing that this workout seems to be missing is a biceps and calves. Your calves can be worked out by sitting on the ball with your feet flat on the ground, knees bent ad at a 90 degree angle, and then rocking up on your toes. This will roll the ball forward, add weight and instability to your calves, requiring you to balance. For biceps, you're going to really need to get a set of dumbbells or do some non-exercise ball related exercise.
Here's another link with some exercise ball workout videos.
I think exercise/swiss balls are a great addition to any program, but don't get into the 'new toy' syndrome and focus on just using that, you'll become bored, your body will get used to the routine(s) and the rest of your body will be neglected. Determine what your goal is and use whatever tools make the most sense.
Besides the answers above, I can also recommend balance exercises where your feet leaves the ground. For example:
- Sitting and getting the feet of the grund
- Standing on your hands & knees on the ball -> Only knees
- Standing on the ball
Be careful and do the exercises gradually and with care, it is really easy to lose your balance.