Stability Ball Push-ups
Here's a tough variation on the classic push-up that will increase the amount of weight you can lift in your traditional chest exercises. By using the stability ball, you use micro-changes in balance to strengthen your stabilizer muscles in your shoulders and consequently push your chest muscles further.
Chest, Triceps, Shoulders (deltoids)
Place both hands on a stability ball and position the rest of your body like a plank. Your abdominals should be held in so that your stomach does not dip, and your back should be flat so that your buttocks do not come up. Keep your feet hip-width apart for stability, and, if needed, put the ball against a wall for support (see Photo 1).
- Perform a push-up, lowering your chest until it almost touches the ball. Your elbows should come out to the side as you drop down, and your shoulder blades should come together (see Photos 2 and 3).
- From the bottom of the push-up, reverse direction and press yourself back up to the starting position (see Photos 4 and 5).
For a more difficult version of this exercise, perform the push-ups with your feet together on the floor instead of hip-width apart.
For a more advanced variation of this exercise, place your hands on the ball and your feet shoulder-width apart on top of a flat bench. This will crank up the intensity of the 'hands-on' pushup 10 fold.
For an even more advanced version of this push-up, place your feet on a stability ball as well and perform the push-ups.
About Mike Clausen: Clausen is the founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body training gym, voted best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006. He has been actively involved in sports and weightlifting since high school, and continues to use that knowledge when training his clients. Clausen is both A.C.E. and N.A.S.M. certified and has been training clients professionally for six years. He enjoys making his clients stronger, both physically and mentally, giving them the tools to create an efficient body and to do things they thought were not possible.