A Shiny Red Ball for Bouncing! (oh, and I guess abs and core too!)

So first off, thanks to those of you who entertained me with reading my little ongoing fairy tale…clearly I have nothing better to do with my time than blog troll and dream up a fantasy world revolving around running and frozen yogurt. I will post up the rest of it soon, actually I’ve gotten it all written out I just need to get my slacker butt in gear and do more illustrations, those take longer!

Okay, but in other news, if you remember my little ab routine I do, I like to do my crunches on the ball instead of doing them on the floor. Not that I have anything against laying prone on a gross gym floor (just kidding, that’s what mats and showers are for!) but on a ball you can get just a little more uumph from your crunches and work them a bit deeper.

At my new place I’ve been without a ball so it was one of the first orders of business to correct this situation. Now, cheapo me could have just gone to a Sports Authority or something but some of the prices these places have are redic…forget that noise. I just needed a ball, not any other of the related gear they try to slap into a variety pack and I don’t need a DVD or book…just give me the dang ball!

Because I have a couple gift cards to Borders AND I even had a coupon I high-tailed it over there and went to their health and fitness section. Success. I got the cheapest, most pared down box that had me my ball. Yes, it did come with a wonky DVD and book but with the total cost under $16 with my coupon, and being that I paid with a gift card I can sort of tell myself that in effect it was free. Shall we take a look-see into what this nice little book suggests I try? (PS-I feel kinda bad because a nice random lady who saw me scoop up the last ball box said to me, “Oh, I’ve got that book and DVD and love it! What are you going to do with your ball?” I had to restrain myself from saying, “Ummm…well, I don’t plan on cracking open the book and I’m gonna do my own thang with this ball!” Though I guess I lied because I did skim the book but only for kicks and giggles.)

Well, here we have the strenuous ball sit, sitting erect on the ball will work on posture and core muscles…ya, so would actual core work. The book also suggests the gentle spinal twist with you laying on the floor, knees on the ball, and then in a relaxing rocking move roll your legs from side to side…rock-a-bye-baby…and I wanted a ball to get off of the floor. Just kidding, wow, am I in a snarky mood today??! :)

Now outside of just your standard crunch on a ball here are some things that I actually DO like to do on a ball, so let’s ditch the book and do our own thang:

*Ball Roll-In: For this one you’ll actually get in a push-up position with your feet back on the ball and your arms straight, supporting you. Roll the ball in towards you, think about dragging the ball forward until your thighs/knees are under your hips and roll out.

*Supermans: Position yourself so you’re laying facing the ball with it tucked back under your pelvis, extend your legs back behind you for support. You want your shoulders over the top of the ball, hands behind your head. Start by laying on the ball and then lift up, getting your chest off the top of the ball, then lower back down. You want to feel this in your back.

*Ball Push-ups: We all know the drill here, but with a ball you can make push-ups a little tougher depending on how far back you place the ball. Ball under your knees and doing a push-up is kinda like the ‘girlie’ version, putting the ball around shin-level is getting tougher, and with the ball under your feet you can then do a decline push-up which is tougher than doing regular push-ups on the floor.

*Pelvic raise on ball: This one is part of the ab/core routine I already wrote up so go ahead and take a gander there. But it will work your bum and back.

*Reverse crunch: Lie on your back, bend at the waist, and put your lower legs up on the ball. Squeeze the ball between your hamstrings and calfs and then lift the ball up and off the ground until your lower back is also off the ground. Lower back down and repeat. You want to feel this in your lower abs.

*Side Crunches: Lest we forget this one, crunches on a ball, but instead of going just up and down crunch to the left, down, crunch to the right…yes it’s rocket science. :P

(Insert random toon I drew here. Hey, who doesn’t love some Mac ‘n Cheese loving?!)

Well, I didn’t find any of those in the book but you’re more than welcome to just sit on the ball instead…actually, bouncing up and down is REALLY fun!! In other news, I had a nice run today, I just did 9.7 on the tready but I’d call the middle 6 at a moderate type effort run…not fast enough to be deemed a tempo but it wasn’t quite an easy run either. I didn’t really aim to make it a hard workout per se but it was nice to just get the bum moving a little faster than usual.

Hope you all are having a great day!

1) Do you sometimes laugh at workout type books, DVD’s, programs, and plans if they are sort of what I’d call ‘fluffy’? Am I mean for asking this and outing myself as I guess what could be called a fitness snob? PS-by no means am I implying there aren’t hard core programs out there, but let’s face it there is a lot of this fluff stuff too!

2) Do you have some favorite ball moves? I mean I AM rocking a new $16 shiny red ball. (PS-brownie points to anyone who just had a mental picture of Peter Griffin right there.)

3) Watcha up to today? What was/is/will be your workout?

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Abs in Full Sluggy Glory

So I’ve become a slug. Not because I’m lazy (but, not gonna lie I’m guilty of not going to get my mail sometimes because I’m too lazy to walk down the two flights of stairs and down the hallway to get it) but because I’m leaving a nasty sweat trail behind me. Sorry, yes I’m gross too.

Finished my easy run of a bit over 8.5 miles and there was no drippier slug to be found. As I was doing my Pedestal core routine I was dripping my trail of sweat until it became a nice little slippery pool. I was even having trouble getting enough traction between my forearm and the ground to stay steady…I was a mess. Thankfully no one else was around to witness me in fully sluggy glory and I swear I mopped up after myself.

Standing in front of the fan for a few minutes did a nice job of airing me out before I moved to the bench to do my ab routine. I used to be really anal about doing abs every single day, mostly out of habit and my stomach area is my ‘thing.’ That thing you always compare to other peoples’. Anyways, I did them every day even though I KNEW you shouldn’t train the same muscle group day in and day out. They never get a chance to fully recover and then never build up as strong as they can be. In fact I knew I’d get better results AND they’d look better if I did them every other day, but still I did them my way. Well, I always know my way is the best way after all. ;)

Finally I got to the point in recognizing I’m a dork and so I do them every other day. I mean you don’t go to the weight room and train the same muscle groups (ie: shoulders, quads, etc) every day so why is it that abs are the exception to the rule? I know I’m not the only one guilty of this one, lots of people overdo the ab thing and I think that’s for the very same reason I did/do it, (I admit that on the days that I don’t do my full ab routine I still do a quick round of crunches on the stability ball…I’m only human after all) everyone wants a kick@$$ stomach.

The other big mistake people do with abs is that they assume working on ab specific exercises WILL get them the six pack. Well the bummer is that the ab muscles won’t even be seen if there is a that nice layer of adipose tissue covering them. Read: fat layer. So if you’ve got poundage to drop hit up the cardio baby and then worry about all them crunches. hehe.

Off of my tangent there and sorry if you don’t want a rambling on all things abs. But, so after blowing myself to a quasi-slug stain state I did my ab routine:

* 15 Butt Bridges: Lie on back, place feet about a foot and a half in front of your bum with your knees bent. Raise your bum up until your quads and torso are in a line and then lower back down. Repeat.

* 20 Leg Lifts: Lie on back, legs straight in front of you. Keeping your legs straight, raise them up into the air until they are perpendicular to the floor and then lower back down. Repeat. (this works on the lower abs; I’ve got some variations on this one I’ll share later)

* 30 Crunches

* 15 Butt Bridges

* 20 Leg Lifts

* 40 Bicycle Crunches: Alternate bringing your left elbow to your right knee and then your right elbow to your left knee as you crunch.

* 15 Butt Bridges

* 20 Leg Lifts

* 30 Crunches

* 30 Crunches on stability ball
(I move my slug train to the stability ball for these, you can get a little more out of your crunches on the ball but if you don’t have one ’tis okay)

* 30 Side Crunches on stability ball: Just crunch but alternate going to the left and right side as you go up.

* 30 Crunches on stability ball

* 15 Hamstring Ball Rolls:
Lie with your back flat on the ground and place your feet/ankles on top of the ball. Raise up like you were doing a butt bridge so that your legs are straight, your lower back is off the ground and balance on your shoulder blades. With your ankles resting on the ball, roll the ball in by pulling your feet towards you until the ball is by your bum and then roll it back out.

*10 Ball Bridges: Just like the butt bridge but this time your feet are on the ball, lift up until your legs are in alignment with your torso, you will go until your lower back is off the ground and only your shoulder blades are still flat on the floor. Lower back down and repeat. (you can modify this one to be a little easier by resting your knees on the ball and raising up)

* 15 Hamstring Ball Rolls

* 10 Ball Bridges

* 15 Hamstring Ball Rolls

Then the slug train wiped off the rest of the equipment. The last bit I do because of my darn adductor and so the hamstring rolls are supposed to help me with that problem. It’s not necessarily ab work but I do it because I’m there and the ball is ready, willing, and able.

That said, nothing much else to share for today. I hope you’re all doing just dandy on yet another hump day!

1) Have to pick: would you rather be a slug or a snail?

Snail. They have those cool houses. I guess slugs are really just hobo snails.

2) Favorite ab exercises?

I also really like pilates.

3) What do you do that you know is ‘wrong’ but you do it anyways? Or I guess you know that doing it a different way would get you better results but you do it your way just because?

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