Video Fitness

Balance Ball: Lower Body

Suzanne Deason

This is part of the Living Arts Balance Ball series of videos. The production quality is excellent. The setting is in the woods overlooking a stream. The music is quiet piano/instrumental, which is very relaxing. I'd call the intensity level low intermediate to intermediate. If you're looking for a heavy toning or muscle-building workout, skip this one. If you like Pilates-inspired lower body work and want to try a ball workout, you probably will like this one. This is not a traditional lower body workout with lunges/squats, etc. Actually, it's all floorwork and it doesn't use weights. I'd call it a core strength video that emphasizes the lower body. For me, it's a good supplement to heavier weight training.

This video, as with the other Living Arts ball tapes, starts out with a 5-minute warm-up/instructional section. It pretty much consists of pelvic tilts on the ball, and rolling over the ball on your abdomen. There are a couple of back stretches over the ball as well. This section is just about identical to the warm-ups on the two other videos in this series.

The main workout is about 25 minutes long. Suzanne's Pilates experience is unmistakable here. Some of the exercises in this section are lying sideways over the ball and doing leg sweeps front to back, lying on your abdomen over the ball stabilized by your arms and scissoring your legs up and down (similar to swimming), and a bridge pose with your feet up on the ball. You'll also use your ball for resistance as you squeeze it between your knees for inner thigh work. This was probably my favorite part of the tape because I could make it as difficult as I wanted to here. The real challenge with this workout is keeping the ball stable as you do the exercise. It will really work your core muscles.

I like this tape, but like a lot of the core strength and Pilates-style videos I find it not too challenging for the lower body (I'm used to doing Firm and Cathe for strength). It's my least favorite of the Balance Ball tapes, but since I love the other two this may not be a completely fair assessment. I will keep it, though, because I am aware of the importance of incorporating different types of training into a fitness program. It's certainly an enjoyable, relaxing tape to do. Like other Pilates tapes, its purpose is to promote long, lean, flexible muscles. And Suzanne incorporates lots of stretching into this video, so it serves its purpose.

Instructor comments: Every time Suzanne Deason comes out with a new video, I like her better and better. She is a certified Yoga and Pilates teacher, and it shows in the Balance Ball workouts. Her voice is relaxing, her cuing is precise, and her form is excellent. I'd love to see her do a Balance Ball video dedicated entirely to stretching.

Kristin Aziz

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