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Advanced Exercises (Group VIII)

Tips on resistance training:

  • Remember to breathe!
  • Perform all movements slowly with controlled motion.
  • Stay within ranges of motion that are comfortable for your joints. If a certain movement causes discomfort, shorten the range of motion.
  • Choose a weight that feels comfortable for you, especially in the beginning. You want to be able to complete your set, while keeping proper form, with a small amount of muscle burn and fatigue. Don’t overdo it. As you progress in your exercise regimen and get stronger, you will be able to work harder and handle more weight.
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Back

Laying face down on a Swiss ball, with legs extended, and feet about shoulder-width apart, grab your dumbbells in both hands. From this start position, lift your arms up toward your sides, bending at the elbow. Keep your back and neck in a neutral position, squeezing the shoulder blades together at the top of the movement. Hold this position for 2 seconds. Repeat this 12-15 times. To work different areas of the back, you can place your arms in different positions (i.e., straight at a 90 degree angle). Start with a light weight, only increasing resistance if you can continue to keep perfect form.

Chest

Position yourself in a plank position with your feet on the floor and your hands on a Swiss ball. Straighten your arms at the elbow to attain your start position. From there, perform a push up on the Swiss ball. Repeat 12-15 times. During the entire course of the exercise, make sure that your back stays straight and that your neck stays in a neutral position. If you get tired in the middle of your set, you may want to drop to the floor to finish the set, or maintain the start position (isometric contraction) for a few seconds. To make the exercise more difficult, make sure your chest touches the ball at the bottom of the movement. You can also hold your position at the bottom of the movement for extra difficulty.

Triceps

Laying face-up on a Swiss ball, grab your dumbbells and lift your arms directly over your head, elbows straight and palms facing inward. For your start position, keep your upper arms stabilized above your head, bent 90 degrees at the elbows. Straighten your arms, feeling the squeeze in your triceps. Make sure to keep your back neutral and your shoulder blades together. Also, be sure to keep your upper arms from moving, and keep your weights shoulder-width apart. Return to the starting position. Repeat this 12-15 times. For added resistance, increase the weight of your dumbbells.

Biceps

Standing tall, hold your weights in your hands with palms facing inward. Keeping your back straight and shoulder blades together, curl the weight up, bending at the elbow, feeling the squeeze at the top. Instead of curling the weights directly up, curl them up and across your body. Hold the position for two seconds, and then slowly release. Repeat 12-15 times. For added resistance, increase the weight of your dumbbells.

Shoulders

Sitting on a Swiss ball, grab your dumbbells with both hands, and hold them close to your chest with your elbows bent and palms facing backward. Raise your arms straight up, simultaneously moving your palms inward and then forward, almost completely straightening your elbows. Hold the position for 5 seconds. Return to the start position, rotating your palms inward and then backward. Make sure your back stays straight, and your shoulder blades together during the entire movement. Repeat 12-15 times.

Core Strength

Abdominal:  Laying face-up on a Swiss ball with feet on the floor wider than shoulder-width apart, hold a dumbbell or a medicine ball above your head, with straight arms. Pretending like your belly button is touching your spine, move your upper body toward the ceiling, as one unit, as far as you can. Focus on feeling the squeeze in your abdominal muscles. Hold at the top for two seconds, and then slowly release. Repeat 12-15 times. For added resistance, move the Swiss ball closer to your hips, so that your upper body has less support from the ball. You can also increase the weight that you are lifting.Rotational:  Lay on your side on a Swiss ball with your feet straddled on the floor, with left leg forward and right leg behind, wider than shoulder-width apart. Gently hold the back of your head with both hands, bending at the elbow. Lift your upper body as one unit toward the ceiling, making sure to keep your spine in a neutral position. Hold at the top for two seconds. Repeat 12-15 times, and then switch sides. For added resistance, move the ball closer to your hips, so that your upper body has less support from the ball, or hold a dumbbell close to your neck with one hand. If you find that you are sliding off of the ball, brace your feet against the bottom of a wall.Lower Back:  Positioning yourself face down on a Swiss ball with feet on the floor about shoulder-width apart. Lift your arms out in front of you, , lift your left leg out behind you and your right arm straight in front of you. From this position, raise your leg and arm simultaneously, holding the position at the top of the movement for 5 seconds. You can add light weight for extra resistance by using an ankle weight or a small hand weight. Make sure to keep your neck and back in a neutral position. Lower and repeat 10 times, then switch sides and repeat.

Quads

Lean against a wall, placing a Swiss ball for support at your mid back. Keeping your back straight and one foot on the ground, bend at your hip and knee to perform a one-legged squat, using the ball as support for your back. Your hips and knees should be at no more than a 90 degree angle. Hold the position for at least five seconds, and return to the start position. Repeat 12-15 times. To add resistance, hold dumbbells while performing the movement. You can also hold the position for 30-60 seconds for a more difficult exercise.

Hamstrings

Lying face up on the floor, with your lower legs rested on a Swiss ball, straighten your legs and position your arms out to your side. Lift your hips off of the floor to form a plank- this will be your start position. Curl your feet in, bending at the legs, so that the ball moves closer to your upper body. Return to start position. Repeat 12-15 times. To add resistance, perform the same movement with one leg, keeping the opposite leg from touching the ball. Then switch legs and repeat.
 
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