Abdominal Pre/Post Exercise Stretch Using An Exercise Ball
Submitted by: Dr. Alan Weidner
Strong abdominal muscles play a vital role in the core stability of the human body. Most folks have weak abdominals, accompanied by weak gluteals, and hypertonic (tight) hamstrings and hip flexors. Exercise balls are a great way to strengthen many of these muscles. However, prior to any core ball workout, it is in your best interest to warm up the tissues that you are about to strengthen to avoid muscle strain. The objective of the abdominal pre/post exercise stretch is to warm up the abdominal muscles before actually strengthening them. By the way, a therapist (chiropractor, physical therapist, trainer) should be able to help you determine is you are weak or tight in any of the above-mentioned areas.
Description: This exercise is done while lying on your back over the ball. You need to either have someone help you at first or become familiar with the ball before you try this exercise alone. You must be able to keep your balance on the ball and relax at the same time. A ball that allows you to sit at the same height as a normal chair is ideal. A slightly under inflated ball is also easier to handle at first.
Step One: Sit on an ab exercise ball (you’ve probably seen these large, colored, air-filled rubber balls everywhere!).
Step Two: Slowly walk forward with your feet, away from your exercise ball, until you are laying on your back on the ball. Keep your feet flat on the floor. It is important to keep your feet at least as wide as your shoulders to help you balance yourself.
Step Three: Let your head lay back and slowly raise your arms above your head.
Step Four: Take several deep breaths with slow exhalation and let the abdominals stretch.
(For images of this exercise being done, please go to http://www.home-rehab-supply.com and visit the "Exercise Tips" section.)
Since this exercise assumes some balance and coordination on your part, the first time you do this exercise you might go over the ball and land on your head or side. It wouldn’t hurt to have a spotter to help you the first time around. This is good advice for any new exercise you might try on the exercise balls.
Warning: Therapeutic exercises should not significantly increase pain during the exercise. Increased pain or symptoms could be a sign of a more serious condition and you should consult your health care professional for guidance.
About the Author: Dr. Alan Weidner graduated summa cum laude from Southern California University of Health Sciences. His website, www.home-rehab-supply.com , offers home exercise help, including exercise balls and rolls.
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