Meet the gym ball that will give you a cardio-strength, power-packed workout.
You’ve probably noticed them at the gym and just figured they were medicine balls. But discover the toning tricks that only the slam ball can do and you’ll be hooked on this cardio-strength miracle worker. Unlike other exercise balls, slam balls are made for both weightlifting and throwing – and are built to take a beating with a little bounce rather than a thud.
That rebound helps give your reps a faster rhythm and fiercer fat burn. Slamming is simple: Pick up the ball, raise it overhead and throw it back to the floor with as much force as you can muster, explains trainer Curtis Williams, a former US National Football League player and Under Armour performance trainer who uses slam balls with many of his clients.
Each throw is a full-body strength-and-cardio workout, Curtis says. “Because you have to go from crouching low to holding the ball high, and because you have to generate so much power to throw it from overhead back to the ground, you engage every muscle and spike your heart rate.” But there’s way more you can do with this ball than just slams.
“It’s so versatile,” Curtis says. “You can twist, jump, throw and move naturally as well as in any direction with it as you target multiple muscles and improve your balance and coordination.” Every move you do fires up your abs, targeting them either directly, as with weighted sit-ups, or indirectly, to help stabilise you through dynamic exercises.
See and sculpt for yourself with Curtis’ slam-ball routine here. You should aim to work as quickly and powerfully as possible through the six-move circuit. It’s tough, but the order ensures that certain muscles recover while others are being worked so that you can go harder and faster on the next set. Plus, you choose your weight and control the intensity of your pace and throws, so any level of exerciser can do it. Game on!
Hard (RPE:* Shoot for eight or nine out of 10.)
A slam ball – most gyms have them. If you’re not sure of the difference between this and a medicine ball, ask a trainer so that you’re using the right one. Curtis recommends a 3kg to 4kg ball for newbies and 4.5kg to 5.5kg ball for intermediate exercisers. If you’re advanced, go for a heftier 7kg to 9kg. Want your own? Get one for $35 and upwards from www.movementfirst.com.sg.
HOW IT WORKS
Complete the sixmove circuit three or four times, depending on how much time and energy you have for a sweaty workout that will torch more than 250 calories. Beginners, start slow, use a lighter ball and focus on form. As you become more experienced, increase the weight and push yourself to complete the circuit a full four times through. Aim to do this routine three times a week on alternate days.
254** *Rate of perceived exertion; see www.shape.com.sg/rpe for details **Calorie burn is based on a 63.5kg woman.
Jog in place, do jumping jacks, and then do squats for a total of two to three minutes.
THE MOVES PLYO PRESS
Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding ball at chest level with elbows bent. Jump as high as you can and land softly in squat (hip crease below parallel, knees pushing outwards, weight on heels). Hold squat as you press ball forward and then pull it back in. Jump, land in squat and repeat chest press. Continue squat-jumping? and pressing ball for 30 to 45 seconds.
Start on floor in plank with right hand on ball and left hand on floor. Pull right knee between elbows, then return to start. Switch sides; repeat. Then do push-up, bending elbows until chest grazes floor. That’s one rep. Do five to eight reps. Switch sides; repeat.
Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding ball at chest level with elbows bent by sides. Rise onto balls of feet as you bring ball behind head (elbows remain bent in front of you), then forcefully slam ball to floor in front of feet as hard as you can. Immediately jump as high as you can, tucking knees towards chest. Land softly, pick up ball and repeat as quickly as you can for 30 seconds.
Lie face up on floor with legs extended, holding ball on chest with elbows bent to start. Sit up, pulling knees towards chest and throwing ball straight up. Without moving, catch ball, then slowly (for a count of three) return to start position. That’s one rep. Do 15 reps.
Stand on right leg, lift left leg behind you, rotate torso right and hold ball outside right hip with both hands. Hop left, landing on left leg, rotating torso left, and reaching slam ball up and over to outside of left hip while kicking right leg behind you. Without moving upper body, jump as high as you can and land softly on left leg. Switch sides; repeat. Continue alternating sides for 30 to 45 seconds.
Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding ball at chest level with elbows bent. Stand on tiptoes as you raise ball overhead. Rotate torso right, then squat as you forcefully slam ball to floor outside of right ankle (release ball at knee height). Stay in squat and pick up ball. Immediately stand, then switch sides; repeat. Continue alternating sides for 30 to 45 seconds