Do as gymnasts do: This exercise develops flexibility, balance, and core strength. Practice this exercise with a stability ball under you until you develop enough strength and flexibility to do it unassisted.
Choose a stability ball that comes just higher than your knees. Sit on the ball and put your feet on the floor (see Photo 1).
- From the starting position, slide backward until your lower back is on the ball, making sure to keep your feet on the floor (see Photo 2).
- Reach back with your arms until your hands are on the floor with your fingertips pointing toward you and your hands a little more than shoulder-width apart (see Photo 3).
- Press upward through your center, lifting your back above the ball. Hold for 10 seconds (see Photo 4).
After you have mastered this exercise using the large stability ball, you may move on to using a smaller ball. Eventually, you can progress to doing the exercise on the floor, starting with your back on the floor, knees bent, feet flat, and hands positioned behind you with fingertips pointing toward you (see Photo 5).
About Billy Polson: Billy Polson is the founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body, which was voted the best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006. A competitive swimmer and triathlete in his own right, Polson has over 15 years of experience working as a coach and trainer, and was recently named by Men's Journal (December 2005) as one of the Top 100 Trainers in America.