Walk Away Workout- Swiss Ball Circuit

Equipment Needed

  • Swiss Ball
  • Two Dumbbells

Time Required

20-40 minutes

Warm Up

Warm up by performing five minutes of light cardio.  Walk in place or on a treadmill, or use the stationary bike.  Gradually raise your heart rate to approximately 55 - 60% of your max heart rate*. Work-out:

Perform 12 to 15 repetitions of each exercise in the circuit.  Complete these exercises in order, moving immediately from one exercise to the next.  Rest for 1 to 2 minutes before beginning another set.  Complete this circuit two to four times, depending on your fitness level.

1. Squats:  Beginning with your feet shoulder-width apart and weights in each hand, place the Swiss Ball between your buttocks and the wall. Your feet should be well in front of your body, and you should feel as though you are leaning back into the ball. Maintaining full contact with the ball and keeping your back straight, bend your legs until your thighs are parallel with the floor. (Your knees should now be directly above your ankles.) Hold this position for three to five seconds before straightening your legs slowly. This is one repetition.

2. Chest Press: Begin with your lower back on the Swiss Ball, your feet shoulder-width apart, and your thighs parallel to the ground.  Focus on tightening your thighs, buttocks, and abdominals throughout this exercise. Hold a hand weight in each hand at chest level. Press up slowly until your arms are almost straight. Now, lower your arms slowly to the starting position. This is one repetition.

3. Military Press:  Sitting on the Swiss Ball, begin with the hand weights at shoulder level.  Focus on pulling your abdominals in and maintaining a neutral spine throughout this exercise.  Raise the weight slowly until your arms are almost straight.  Now, lower your arms slowly to the starting position.  This is one repetition

4. Pullovers: Begin with your back on the Swiss Ball, your feet shoulder-width apart, and your thighs parallel to the ground. Focus on tightening your thighs, buttocks, and abdominals throughout this exercise. Hold one or two hand weights (depending on your fitness level) with arms fully extended and parallel to the ground. Raise the weight slowly until it is directly above your head.  Now, slowly lower the weight back to the starting position. This is one repetition.

5) Calf Raises:  Beginning with your feet shoulder-width apart, hold a weight in each hand with palms facing in.  Slowly raise up onto your toes and hold for three to five seconds.  Now, slowly lower back until your heels almost touch the ground.  This is one repetition.  (For an added challenge, perform this exercise on one leg at a time.)

* To find your Maximum Heart Rate (MHR), subtract your age (in years) from 220. For example, if you are 40 years old, your MHR is 180 beats per minute (bpm). Fifty-five to 60% of your MHR is 99 - 108 bpm

6. Triceps Extensions:  Begin by sitting on the ball with your knees bent at 90 degrees and your thighs parallel to the ground.  With a dumbbell in the hand of your weaker arm, raise your arm above you head with your elbow bent.  Keeping your elbow and upper arm still, straighten your arm.  Now, slowly return to the starting position.  This is one repetition.  (After completing 12 - 15 repetitions, perform these exercises using the other arm.)

7. Biceps Curls:  Beginning on your knees, place the Swiss Ball in front of you.  With a dumbbell in each hand and your arms straight, lean forward until your upper arms are resting on the ball.  Slowly bend your arms until your hands are at shoulder-level.  Now, slowly return them to the starting position. This is one repetition.

8. Crunches:  Begin with your lower back on the Swiss Ball, your feet shoulder-width apart, and your thighs parallel to the ground.  Focus on tightening your thighs and buttocks throughout this exercise.  With your hands across your chest (or behind the head for added difficulty), pull your abdominals in and slowly lift your shoulders from the ball.

Hold this position for three to five seconds before lowering to the starting position.  This is one repetition.  For an added challenge, perform bicycle crunches on the ball by lifting one leg towards the opposite elbow or shoulder.

9. Low Back Extensions:  Beginning on your knees, place the Swiss Ball in front of you.  Lean forward until your lower abdomen is resting on the ball.  Straighten your legs and maintain your body in a straight line.  With your arms across your chest (or behind your head for an added challenge), bend slowly at the hips until you almost touch the floor.  Slowly raise your upper body until your spine is once again straight.  This is one repetition.  For an added challenge, hold a dumbbell at chest level or above your head while performing this exercise.

Cool Down / Stretch

After completing your last set, gradually lower your heart rate by walking in place.  Once your heart rate has returned to normal, stretch each of the muscles you worked during the workout.

Elizabeth L. Krauss, Certified Personal Trainer