Strength: Modified Push-Up
Improves Upper-Body Strength Without Strain
1. Press your belly into the top of the ball. Extend your arms down to the floor. Position yourself on the ball so all of your torso and hips are in front of the ball and your shoulders are directly aligned above your wrists. Keep fingers pointing forward.
2. As you inhale, bend your elbows and lower your upper body toward the floor, keeping abdominals strong.
3. On an exhale, straighten your elbows.
4. Repeat eight to 10 times.
The farther the ball is from your center, the more weight you are pressing with your upper body. Try positioning your body so that only the tops of your feet or your toes are on the ball.
Flexibility: Chest Stretch
Releases Back Muscles and Stretches Chest Muscles After a Modified Push-Up
1. Place palms on the ball and take a few steps backward. When you've reached the point of full extension of your spine, exhale and, keeping your hands in place, gently press upper body toward floor.
2. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
Balance: Modified Tree Pose
Improves Balance While Stretching the Inner Thigh and Opening the Hip
1. Stand to the left of the ball and lift your right leg, resting your calf on the ball. Point your toes and fully extend your right leg.
2. Inhale and bring your hands together. Exhale.
3. Keep your gaze steady. Visualize your spine growing longer. Take three to five deep breaths. Repeat on the other side.
For an extra challenge, add ballet arms with a side stretch: As you inhale, bring both arms up overhead. Exhale as you reach up and over to the right as you maintain your balance. Repeat on the other side.