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The chances are, you're going to have one of these balls knocking around somewhere, either as an exercise ball or maybe you used one when you were pregnant. They're a really good tool for exercising on. They're also really good for teaching us good seated posture. So I'm going to show you what I mean by turning sideways.
When we sit down, we tend to slump, and this is not very good for our back or for our core muscles. So what the ball helps us to do, is by just – if you go into a slumped position, and then you move the ball back, you can bring yourself into a nice, tall seated position. Your tailbone is slightly out, but you're not going too far. And you think of lifting up through your center, and to do that you can use your core muscles.
So if I come back to the front, think of that lovely tall spinal position. So move your ball into the right position, where you feel nicely centered, tailbone slightly out. Then connect to your core muscles. These are your pelvic floor and deep abdominal muscles.
So you're going to "stop the wind, stop the water," pull up through your center, and lift into your tummy. That's going to help you stabilize on the ball. That's going to lead us into our first exercise, which is going to really help pull your tummy muscles in.
What you're going to do is pull up through your center, pull up through the pelvic floor, pull your tummy in. Then just take your heel off the floor, and then try to take your whole foot off the floor. This is quite tricky to do, and when you first do it you may find that you wobble all over the place. That's fine, just put your foot back down again, hold it for as long as you can, then try the other leg.
It really works the tummy muscles, so you should be able to feel that. Stay focused on your pelvic floor, lift up through your center to hold yourself upright.
Now we'll do it again. So again, lifting up nice and tall. You should really feel this right in here. So stay focused on that part of your body, lift up tall. Keep your chin in as well, so your spine is nicely aligned.
Now we're going to do it one more time. You may find that you can hold it longer than what I'm doing at the moment. The more you practice it, the better you'll get. And then release. So that's a really good way to work the tummy.
The next exercise is going to focus on the pelvic floor and your upper body. This is really going to work into the back muscles and into the rear of the shoulder.
So I want you to hold your hands into this position here. If you've got any handheld weights, then you could use them throughout this exercise. You don't have to, but if you've got them then it's going to make the exercise a little bit harder.
So elbows tucked into your side, and then you're going to part the hands and squeeze into your shoulder blades as you turn the hands around, keeping those elbows nicely tucked in. Now we're going to lift the elbows up away from the sides of the body, whilst pulling up through the pelvic floor. But we're going to do it in degrees.
So what I want you to think of is the pelvic floor as a lift that goes up through five floors. So visualize your pelvic floor – it runs from your pubic bone to your tailbone like a hammock underneath you. You're going to lift up, first floor, and as you lift up through the pelvic floor your elbows are going to come up. That's 20 percent of your effort, just up to first floor.
Then up to 40 percent, which is the second floor. So keep lifting up through your pelvic floor, so up to third floor – that's 60 percent of your effort. Then up to fourth floor, 80 percent. Then fifth floor is 100 percent, lifting up. And your elbows are going to come up just below shoulder height. Hold it there, and then you're going to allow your pelvic floor to come down as you squeeze into your back muscles and draw back down.
Now I'm just going to show you that from the side, so you can see my back and my shoulders. Again, we're going to lift up to first floor. Then up to second floor, and I'm really squeezing into my back as I do this. Then up to third floor, and then up to fourth. Fifth is as high as you can go, lifting through your center your tummy will come in as well. Then squeeze into your back and lower down, as you let your pelvic floor go as well.
Now you can repeat this and do this anytime, anywhere. And it's a really good exercise to do to get that feeling of your pelvic floor lifting.
For our final exercise, we're going to really focus on the backside muscles. So I'm going to lie down on my back. Now, if you've not used a ball in this position before, it takes some getting used to. So you might want to do this alongside your sofa, so you can put your hand on the sofa to guide you on the way down.
You're going to roll down and lie down on the ball. To do that, you've got to tuck your pelvis underneath you and really suck your tummy in. So you're going to roll down until your head is comfortably on the ball. That needs to be a position where your chin is in. If your head's gone back into this position, then you want to bring your chin back in and make sure that the back of the neck is nice and long.
Then you're going to take your hands out to the side, and get a lovely stretch into your chest. It's really important to focus on your bottom, because that's what we want to work. So you're going to tuck your tail, squeeze into your buttocks. As you do that, it's really important that you don't feel any stress here in your lower back.
So you're going to squeeze into one buttock and then squeeze into the other a little bit more. Keep repeating that through, squeeze into your bottom. You're sucking your tummy in all the while you're doing this. I'm going to do it one more time each way, and then you're there.
Coming back up is quite difficult. So again, carefully, roll back up – use your sofa if you need to – and come back into a seated position.
This is an exercise for your bottom and for your core muscles. It shouldn't be working into your back. So if you feel it going into the back, the chances are, you've just done a little bit too much, and you need to rest.