Coming in different colours, made from soft vinyl, toning balls can be used instead of handheld dumbbells to add more resistance to any exercise, thereby helping to improve balance, coordination and flexibility.
These balls weigh from 1.1 to 5.5 pounds (.5 to 2.5 kilograms) and can be used to work the muscles of the arms and shoulders, and also to improve upper-torso strength and flexibility.
Simple Exercises with Toning Balls
Exercise your shoulders and arms by holding a 1- to 2-lb. (.5- to 1-kg) ball in each hand with your arms at your sides. Stand with your knees relaxed. Lift both arms above your head. Pause, lower and repeat 12 to 15 times. Do two sets of this exercise.
When doing any variation of curl-ups or crunches for your abdominal muscles, try increasing the challenge by holding a light pair of toning balls in your hands at the sides of your head.
Toning Ball Push-Ups:
Grab one 4- to 8-pound toning ball and try this modified pushup. For propped pushups use a toning ball, come down onto your hands and knees. Place your hands on the ball and press upward, extending your legs back. Coming onto your toes, making sure your torso and legs are in alignment. Now tighten your core and inhale, bending your elbows as you sink your chest toward the floor. Push up as you exhale. Repeat the pushup for a total of eight repetitions.
To do a walking lunge with a twist, begin in a standing position. With your feet hip-width apart, tighten your stomach. Hold the toning ball with both hands, aligning it with your belly button. Step off with your right foot entering into a lunge. Once you’re in the full lunge, twist your upper body to the left. Twist back to center, then stand. Immediately bring the opposite leg forward repeating the movement, except rotating in the opposite direction. Do this move for 10 repetitions.
Seated Trunk Rotation:
Seated trunk rotations are an ideal beginner exercise that works yours sides and middle for an hourglass look. Begin by sitting on the floor and stretching your legs out in front of you. Next, bend your knees slightly and straighten your spine. Bring the ball to your chest, holding it tightly with both hands. Begin slowly rotating from left to right, stopping briefly in the middle as you switch sides. Remember to inhale and exhale throughout the exercise. Do 10 repetitions on each side.
Standing Wood Chops:
The wood chop targets your middle while your middle is in motion, making this move a serious functional fitness maneuver. Start with the feet a little wider than hip distance apart, keeping the knees slightly bent, and bring the medicine ball to your left shoulder.
On an exhale, pull abs to spine, and “chop” the ball down diagonally across your body toward your right knee. Imagine you’re chopping some wood at this angle and the ball is your axe — the move is a bit percussive. Focus on the rotation initiating in your torso. Control the ball back up to the starting position. This completes one rep. Remember you are moving with force but control. Don’t give in to the momentum of swinging the ball around. Do three sets of 15 reps on each side.
Standing Hay Bailer’s:
Standing with legs about hip-width apart, step one foot forward flat on the ground and the other leg back behind the body on the ball of the foot. Hold the medicine ball in both hands near the hip of the leg that is behind. Twist through the chest and shoulders to bring the ball across the body and over the opposite shoulder, keeping both arms straight for the whole movement. When finished with one side, switch to the other side.
Not only are the ball more comfy to hold, but you’ll be impressed with the results of your toning ball workout.