Shelly McDonald is the Group Fitness Director of Club Sportif MAA and is a Master Trainer for the Bender Ball.
In this video she demonstrates three great exercises using the Bender Ball that will exercise your abs, obliques, gluts, lower back, hamstrings and your inner thighs.
Bender Ball Workout is Great for Targeting Abs
One of the most popular, most effective exercises is where you sit on the ground with your feet in front of you and knees bent. You place the Bender Ball behind your back on the ground so that it doesn’t move anywhere. Keep your head in line with the shoulders so that the middle of your ears is aligned with the shoulders.
Then, you do a mild scooping of the pelvic girdle, but not too much. The key to the Bender method is you want to have a mild contraction through the pelvic floor through the middle of your abdominals. You want to keep that contraction throughout the whole exercise. The movement happens on the inhale, and it’s a little easier than the movement on the exhale. So inhale, and then exhale. Inhale and we roll back and down. You’ll notice the head goes back with you.
What happens with a lot of people when we start doing this is that the head will go forward and the shoulders start to drop. You want to keep that contraction, the mild scooping, and you want to bring your head with you. Now level when the arms stay forward, and when you want to make it a little more challenging, you bring those arms up with you.
Another great exercise with the Bender Ball is the bridge. This exercise works the low back, the gluts, the hamstrings, and we’re also going to work the inner thighs by placing the ball between the knees. Now, feet are flat and don’t forget the shoulders. Draw them down and lengthen through the crown of your neck. Your hands are either out or by your sides. You inhale and you lift the hips up and roll through the spine. Think of the vertebrae connecting with the floor one at a time.
Now, if I wanted to make it just a little bit harder I could change my arm positions and have a little less stability through the shoulders. The next level is placing the ball underneath the feet. Now don’t forget, you want to squeeze the knees together to get those inner thighs fired up. You start with a stable hand position, and then you work your way up, drawing the elbows a little closer and eventually having no arm support. A more advance exercise here is to just use one leg.
Bender Ball Helps Target Hard-to-Reach Inner Thighs
Another great exercise with the Bender Ball that works the inner thighs and the obliques is the side lying leg lift. So you place the ball between your ankles. You want your ankles, your knees, your hips, and your shoulders to line up perfectly before you start. You don’t want your knees to be bent; you want them extended fully without locking.
Then you lie down and place your head on your arm so your neck can relax. Don’t forget your abdominal bracing and place your hand on the floor to start for balance. With your shoulder down, take a deep breath in and lift and lower. You want to push a little bit with that lower leg so that you engage those inner thighs a little more.
If you wanted to take it to the next level and test your balance and stability, you want to put your hand on your waist and decrease the amount of stability you’re using while you’re doing this exercise.