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Fitness Tools That Work

Jackie Wright / The Fitness Trail

There are hundreds of fitness tools that we in the fitness industry utilize with clients to add intensity and variety to the exercise programs we create, and of course, to provide results. Two of my favorite fitness tools are Gliding Discs and the Pilates Mini Ball.

The Gliding Discs and Pilates Mini Ball (different models for carpet or hard surfaces) are inexpensive and can be purchased through companies such as Perform Better and Power Systems via the Internet. You may also find these tools at area sporting goods stores.

Gliding Disc Side Lunge/Back Squat (Works the entire lower body and the core)

– Standing, place one disc underneath the ball of the right foot. The legs should be more than shoulder width apart with the shoulders rotated back/down, the rib cage lifted and the navel pulled toward the spine.

– Slide the right foot to the side (laterally) with the leg straight and the knee soft, as you hinge from both hips, placing the body weight into the left heel while performing a side lunge with the right leg and a back squat with the left leg.

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– Due to the right leg extension, your range of motion will be limited on the left leg squat. Therefore, you will only squat downward until the left knee is over the shoe laces, but no lower. Avoid letting the left knee shoot over the toes.

– Then, engaging adductors muscles (i.e. inner thighs), and driving your body weight into the left heel, slide the right leg back to the beginning position and repeat.

– The key is to create a smooth side lunge and consistent rhythm to the movement.

– You can use your arms in opposition to the legs to create rhythm and fluidity. As the right leg slides to the side, the right arm swings forward and the left arm backward.

Think of a speed skater.

– Perform two to three sets of 8-12 repetitions, slow one count out and in, two to three times per week. This exercise is a great way to prepare for all sports, particularly skiing, skating and tennis.

Pilates Mini Ball Reverse Curls (Works the entire inner/outer core units)

– Lying supine on the floor, cross the ankles and form a 90 degree angle at the knee joint with the knees directly over the hips, and the shins parallel to the floor.

– Place the Pilates Mini Ball between your knees and compress the ball.

– Place fingertips loosely by the ears resting the head into the fingertips, the shoulders lifted off of the floor, the navel pulled toward the spine and the eyes looking approximately where the ceiling meets the wall.

– Engage the inner/outer core unit by compressing the navel toward the spine as you lift the hips off of the floor, an inch or two, avoiding any momentum use.

– As you lift the hips, the torso lifts simultaneously.

– Then return to the beginning position without releasing the contraction.

– Exhale as you lift and inhale as you return continually compressing the ball throughout.

– Perform two to three sets of 8-12 repetitions, two slow counts up and down, four to six times per week.

Next week, more effective fitness tools to add to your tool chest.

“You can reach Jackie Wright at her e-mail address: gllacs@comcast.net


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