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Balls to the Wall Workout

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In 1990, almost 60 percent of U.S. adults reported little or no leisure-time physical activity. The statistics haven't improved much by 2005, which is mind-boggling considering all the health club and trainer opportunities available. Perhaps a simple at-home program idea involving the family or a friend can be one solution? Because there is so much that one can do with body weight and the availability and fun that a standard basketball and stability ball offers, the program Balls to the Wall was born. This fun program is easy to implement, requires minimal equipment, is time saving, and allows you to bond with someone special whether it's your friend, child or spouse. This program was executed at Southbay BMW during its corporate wellness program. The adults loved it because they claimed that not only was it a great workout, but they got to be kids again. The program takes less than 45 minutes to execute. It's time to play again:

Warm-Up

Perform each dynamic stretch for approximately one minute each.

Down dog to plank: Starting in down dog with your hands shoulder distance apart and your feet hip distance apart, push your hips up to the sky as you release all the weight back into your heels. Straighten out your arms and feel the stretch in your hamstrings, calves and back muscles. Breathe. Once you establish down dog, then inhale the breath and float your weight forward to a high plank with your chest in alignment with the hands. Exhale the breath as you return to downward facing dog. Repeat.

Walking lunges: Just like you do a static lunge, alternate between sides, lunging forward with neutral spine and proper knee alignment and perform a set that brings you across a room's length.

Heel walks: Walk back across the room but on your heels with your toes up towards the sky.

Walking lunges with a twist: Walk back across the room but this time have your arms in front of you like a detective holding a gun (hands clasped together). If you step forward with your left leg, then your arms rotate to the left over that forward leg. Put an emphasis on pulling your hips under you so that you feel a good stretch in that right hip. Be sure to keep the left knee facing forward since the tendency is to drop the knee to the side, throwing it off track. Take your gaze through the twist. Switch sides and work on stabilizing before mobilizing.

Lateral walking lunges: Stepping out to the side across the room starting with your right side. Sit the hips back into the right heel, while straightening out the left leg. Be sure to track the right knee over the ankle. Use the strength of the right leg to propel you back up to standing position and repeat on the same side for five repetitions at a time. Then switch to stretch the other leg.

The Ball Workout

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Basketball (one minute each exercise)

-- Dribble the ball.
-- Dribble the ball on one foot.
-- Switch feet.
-- Dribble ball passing from hand to hand (do a slight lunge from side to side and find a rhythm).
-- Dribble on one foot (working on balance).
-- Switch feet.
-- Dribble the ball alternating hands doing a closed-leg squat.
-- Dribble the ball around your body.
-- Dribble the ball in Warrior III (one leg grounded while other leg extends back, keep your core tight).
-- Switch feet.
-- Run laps dribbling ball.
-- Run laps sideways dribbling ball.

Partner time (two minutes each)

Go to the wall. The first partner will throw the basketball into the wall and whenever you do not have the ball in your hands, do the following exercise, alternating between each other for exercise execution. Keep it moving and as soon as your partner catches the ball, you do the exercise and get up to receive the ball so that your partner can do the exercise.

Exercise 1: Push-ups
Exercise 2: Star jumps

Exercise 3: Squats
Exercise 4: Alternating lunges

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Stability ball (one minute each)
Everyone gets his or her own ball

Push-ups on the ball (hands on the ball shoulder distance apart)
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Push-ups off the ball (hands on the floor shoulder distance apart)
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Cobras on the ball feet against the wall: Belly on the ball, you will draw your arms back to be like a "V," squeezing your shoulder blades together as if to squeeze a pencil between them. Hold for a count and then return your arms back to starting position. Repeat.

Squat to overhead ball press: Standing with your feet a bit wider than shoulder distance apart with the stability ball in your hand and arms tight to your body, squat down and align your knees to track over the ankles. As you come to stand, exhale the breath and push the ball overhead to straight arms. Repeat.

Reverse crunches on the ball: Go into a plank position on the ball where your hands are on the floor and your shins are on the ball. On the exhale, take your knees into your chest while keeping your shoulders down and away from your ears. You are essentially pulling the ball into your chest and then straighten your legs out on the inhale back to starting plank position. Repeat.

Supine crunches: On the ball, with your lower back supported by the ball, bring your hands behind your neck and cradle the neck for support, elbows out wide to the side. Exhale as you crunch up toward the sky and hold the squeeze at the top before returning back to starting position. Repeat.

Stretch on the stability ball

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Chest stretch: On your hands and knees (knees supported by a mat or a pad), balance on one hand while the other arm goes at a ninety degree angle onto the ball. The ball is next to you and once your arm is propped up, fall into the stretch and feel the stretch in the pecs on that one side. Switch sides after 30 seconds.

Lay on the ball and fall back stretching out the entire front side: This stretches out the entire body and simply feels good.

Afterwards, cool down with additional stretches that best fit your body and work on calming your breath.

*Clothing for the ball photos is VIMMIA.
*Photography provided by Xochitl Rodrigue.

For more by Jenn Zerling, click here.

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