Another winner from the Balance Ball series! I didn't expect to like
an upper body workout that doesn't use weights, but I was very
pleasantly surprised. This is challenging if you make it that way! This
video, like all of the Living Arts videos, is beautifully filmed. The
setting for all of the Balance Ball videos is on a wooden platform/path,
in the woods overlooking a stream. The music is soft piano and
instrumental, and you can hear water sounds in the background. It's very
relaxing. As the workout is demonstrated by Suzanne, I'd call the
intensity level intermediate. But as with all workouts that use the
ball, you can increase or decrease the difficulty level based on how
close or how far from your center you place the ball.
All of the Balance Ball videos have the same 5-minute warm
up/instructional section to start. I often skip it, since it's basically
just doing pelvic tilts on the ball and rolling over the ball on your
stomach a few times. I sometimes do a few rolls over the ball while I'm
fast-forwarding to the body of the workout.
The main workout is about 25 minutes long. As you would expect from a
yoga/Pilates instructor, this video doesn't use weights. Actually, this
isn't a traditional upper body video at all. It's actually a core
strength video with an emphasis on the upper body muscles of the upper
abdomen, chest, shoulders and triceps. Some of the exercises are really
challenging, because you are using all of your core muscles to stabilize
the ball. Try doing decline pushups off the ball with it under your
calves and call it easy! And doing triceps dips with your legs up on the
ball is deceptively hard. There's some range-of-motion work for the
shoulders as well. Suzanne makes up for the lack of back exercises on
the ab tape with this video. You'll work the lower back by stabilizing
your torso (or hips) over the ball and extending. You may recognize the
upper back/rear delt exercises as similar to what Trish Muse does in Ab
Attack (you lie face down and lift your arms out to the side like
airplane wings), except it's even more effective with the ball since you
can get a better range of motion. There's a short set of crunches on the
ball for the upper abs, and you'll use your abs for all of the other
exercises as well. You'll also use the ball for resistance by lying down
with your knees bent and squeezing the ball between your arms with your
elbows at 90 degree angles (works the shoulders, chest and triceps).
I actually think that this is my favorite of this series of Ball
tapes. A winner!
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.
I am new (3 months) to the indoor fitness regime - all the mountain lion sightings in town and around the mountain that I used to hike on finally scared me into staying inside.
My previous attempts at indoor exercise had always failed (exercise bike and stairclimber), because I would get bored out of my gourd, and way overheated in the house.
I saw a big ball at the store, and it looked like so much fun, and it's proven to be fabulous! I never get bored trying to do push ups and keep from getting knocked off the ball. I also bring the ball to work to sit on for short periods of time--it develops a stronger back.
Anyway, this video is inspirational. I never really gave my upper back much thought, but in only 2 weeks it's already stronger. I love using my newly discovered abdominal muscles (I also bought a Pilates machine)to try and stay stabilized. I've always hated weights, another reason I like the video. I find my arms and shoulders trembling--who needs weights?
My only complaint is that the slow pacing, new ageness, babbling brook aura is cheesy. Maybe I just don't develope enough stress at work to appreciate these attempts at serenity.
She is attractive, natural, and soothing; not overly sweet or perky, and best of all, she isn't wearing tight pink clothing!