Video Fitness

FitBall Lower Body Challenge

I'm not sure if this video has been previewed before so I'll give my first impressions of it. Please keep in mind I only did it once. I also did not take notes so I probably missed some exercises.

This video is a good substitution for Firm Floor work ( if someone is following the Firm rotation). It's advanced but not in the sense where you will do heavy squats and lunges. It's because you have to have a very strong core. Also Trish Muse's ball workout does not hurt my neck so I don't know if this workout will hurt necks either.

There's a lot of variety in this video. Some of the exercises are really tough and you need good balance. However, Cheryl always shows the easier variation first so that you don't have to do the harder exercise. An example of a progression is the first exercise is called calf bridges. You lie on your back on the floor. You place your calves over the ball. Then you lift your butt up (squeeze butt) and down. In the first variation, your arms are on the floor to help you balance. On the next variation, you lift your arms over your head and bring them down while doing the bridges. So you will need to be able to balance yourself since your arms are off the floor now. The third variation has you bring your arms up and then bring them down and pulse three times. Finally, you bring your arms up and bring them down and pulse really fast. In the last variation, it's like you are doing the Pilates hundreds while you are simultaneously doing bridges at the same time.

Here's the other exercises that I remember:

1) ankle bridges (harder than calf bridges because it's your ankles on the ball instead of calves)

2) ankle bridges but moving the ball out and then back in with arms moving up and down,

3) outer thigh work. You lie on your side and place ball over leg and lift leg up and down. You also will rotate your knee/hips out while the ball is on your leg.

4) Inner thigh and side abs - Lie sideways on the ball. Lift bent inner thigh towards outer thigh. In this move, the inner thigh's foot is staying close to the outer thigh and you are rotating your inner thigh's knee toward the outer thigh. Crunch sideways towards outer thigh to work on your obliques.

5) Lots of stability work for abs. You lie on back and lift bent knees up and down while stabilizing. v 6) Do the plank work that is in the Living Arts balance ball for abs tape. You place shins on the ball while your hands are on the floor. Tuck abs in and roll the ball towards you so that your butt goes up. You have to have the LA tape to probably know what I'm talking about. You first do this with both legs on the ball just like the LA tape. Then you will do this exercise one leg at a time. This is so hard and you need a really strong abs and balance. You then place both legs back on the ball and roll again but this time you go from one side to another. This is also tough but not as hard as the one legged stuff.

7) The ball is under your thighs and your hands are on the floor. You lift one leg up and to the side then lower that leg. Switch legs. You also will lift both legs up and to the side then lower legs. Another one is where your legs are bent, knees out, toes touching, and you lift legs up and down.

8) You do regular crunches on the ball (back is on the ball). You also go side to side. You do side crunches too.

9) Lunges using the ball to help you balance. Then you balance on one leg and lift the other up and down. You do lunges again but this time lift the ball up and down while lunging.

10) Leg Tablework - Place a dumbbell behind your knee. Place ball under tummy so that you are in a table position (all fours). Lift weighted leg up and down.

11) Lie with back on the ball. Do butt crunches. That means that your butt will go up and down. Then do the same move but with one leg going up and down.

There's so many other exercises and usually there just variations of above. The tape is 43 minutes long and ends with a really nice stretch.

Cheryl is an excellent instructor and gives a lot of form pointers. There is very little Swiss ball workouts so I'm glad that there are a couple of Fitball workouts to choose from.

Helen Stephens 1/9/01

I am an int/adv exerciser. I donít do videos with heavy weights, I prefer doing strength work with my own body weight.

This dvd starts right in with the workout (no warm-up). I actually liked this, but Iím not sure why this one didnít have a warm-up when the Upper Body one did. Anyway, here is a list of the chapters on this dvd (which lasts under 45 minutes).

Calf Bridges and Classic Abs
Hips and Thighs
Foot Bridges and Lower Abs
Prone Pikes and Hips
Inner Thighs and Buttocks
Abdominal Challenge
Lunges and Leg Lifts
Lower Body Challenge
Cool-down and Stretch

This video is tough, but itís paced very well. I am never frantically trying to get in position, but I also donít find myself waiting around. The video is excellent for functional fitness, stability, and overall strength. You will use the ball to be able to do increase the range of your movements. I liked this idea, because it increases the work down in the body to stabilize those larger movements. The is a strong emphasis on doing the exercises with correct form Ė and so there are a ton of form pointers throughout the video. Also, she will often point out exactly where the ďmatchĒ is, or the other muscle that is activated to effect proper stability on the ball. This part was nice because I could tell whether I was using the correct form or not. You will spend about as much time on the ball as on the ground using the ball. At first I didnít like this, but itís such a great dvd, and the workout is so efficient and challenging, that now I really like this dvd. The ab work is somewhat more mixed in with the dvd Ė thereís more ab work than just whatís in the chapters titled to include abs.

I found that this dvd to challenges my balance/stability a little more than the Upper Body Challenge. The style of this video is very no-nonsense. You are getting trainer points by a physical therapist, and it shows. She emphasizes strength and stability and not how your body will look.

Instructor comments: She is nice and no-nonsense. I like her style a lot because she makes the workout seem like serious PT training and not just another fitness video.

Alison ~alikruegs


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