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These last three exercises are designed to maintain torso and leg strength as well as increase body awareness. They will help you perform everyday activities like lifting grocery bags and small children.
Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, with toes slightly turned out. Hold the ball in both hands in front of your belly. Contract abs and point tailbone toward the floor [A]. Keeping your body weight on your heels, bend your knees and lower the ball to the ground in front of you [B]. Make sure you’re bending at your hips and knees, not from your waist. Leave the ball on the ground, and straighten your legs to standing position, tightening buttocks at the top. Repeat the squat to pick up the ball, and return to standing position, holding ball at belly height. Repeat.
6. Plié and Lift
Stand with your feet in a plié position (about two feet apart, knees bent, toes and knees turned out). Hold the ball in both hands with arms extended toward the floor [A]. Keeping your torso lifted, straighten your knees, and, at the same time, lift the ball up overhead [B]. Bend your knees, lower your arms to the starting position, and repeat.
7. Wall Squat and Back Massage
Place the ball between your lower back and the wall. Lean back against the ball, and walk your feet out so they’re in front of your belly, hip-width apart. Place your hands on your thighs [A]. Slowly bend your knees into a squat position, keeping your knees aligned with your ankles and squatting no lower than your hips [B]. Pressing gently against the ball, feel it roll up your back. Straighten knees and hips back to a standing position. Repeat.
To purchase a FlexaBall and video ($14.95 plus shipping), call Fitness Quest at (800) 348-5890 or (330) 478-0755. For a Kathy Smith Shaper Ball (shown here) and video (for nonpregnant people), send $29.95 plus $4.95 for shipping to Kathy Smith Lifestyles, P.O. Box 491433, Los Angeles, CA 90040.