TO THE BALL, WE GO!
I am an aspiring minimalist, and this manifests in my workouts for sure. We really can achieve a healthy, balanced, good looking body with very little equipment. Just good old gravity, honest endurance and a little concentration goes a long way. Sure, I believe in the superb benefits of weight bearing and resistance equipment. However, a fun, rewarding skill can be to try to involve as much of the body as possible in a few moves without them. Also, an essential long term goal should always be to achieve as much balance within muscle groups as possible.
This hamstring routine “wakes up” atrophic (sleepy) muscles, and forces them to help out the superstar (hypertrophic) muscles that always try to take the stage! Balancing on a stability ball, helps us involve the abdominals, “keep the spine on your mind”, respect symmetry in our shoulders and hips, and relax the neck. All in a humble hamstring workout. So for these reasons, I think a stability ball is an essential piece of equipment. Here’s how to use it for healthy hamstrings. To the ball, we go!
THIS CHALLENGES GLUTES, HAMSTRING, AND CALVES.
WORK YOUR WAY UP TO THESE REPS
BALANCE ON THE BALL: THIS IS ONLY A TEST
- Bridge on the ball. Visualize your spine from the neck to tailbone
- Focus on holding the lumbar in the same spot in space by engaging the abs, tell yourself “keep it there, keep it there” while you…
- Lift one forearm at a time, then whole arm, René’s Tip: Spread all the “skin” you can picture around your shoulder blades into the mat. These thoughts should bring you to balancing well on your shoulders.
- HOLD FOR TEN DEEP BREATHS. Bring arms back down.
ONE LEG BALANCE AND LEG STRETCH: THE WORK BEGINS
- Extend leg, turn foot out and HOLD POSE FOR 10 BREATHS
- Maintaining hip and shoulder symmetry, draw leg up and down without resting, pull to ceiling, pull to wall
- Engage abs as a “shock absorber” for the move
- 2 COUNTS OF 8 EACH LEG
HAMSTRING CURLS: BIG CHALLENGE
- Draw heels to glutes until feet flat on ball
- Try to keep your tailbone in one spot in space (hips up, neck and shoulders relaxed)
- GOAL: 8 COUNTS OF 8
ADVANCED HAMSTRING CURLS: BIGGER CHALLENGE
- Curl in one leg at a time
- Use abs to keep your hips up in one spot
- 2 COUNTS OF 8 EACH LEG (it’s killer)
Stretch hamstrings for at least 30 seconds to finish.
For most people, this routine feels really unfamiliar to your body and may give a Charlie horse feeling in the beginning. Listen to your body. You will master this in time. Be patient, balance in the body takes time. Keeping in mind Pilates principles such as neck and shoulder placement and spinal awareness has a huge payoff. This will help you harnesss unwanted stress and attain important core strength. Challenge your skills in your workouts, and practice these principles in everyday life for a healthy, happy body.