This gentle exercise will improve your balance, and it helps strengthen the abs, the biceps and triceps, and the upper back, using your own body weight for resistance. It’s good for people with knee, neck or lower back issues.
Stand facing a wall and hold a large ball (45-55 cm) chest-high with both hands. Your hands should be on the sides of the ball, slightly towards the front, parallel to the floor and pointed towards the wall. Your wrists should be kept straight throughout the exercise.
Stop to make sure that you are in perfect posture: head up, shoulders back, chest raised, thighs parallel, knees soft and feet shoulder-width apart (see The Importance of Good Posture).
Slowly lean in towards the ball until your chest is close to it, bending your elbows and keeping them close to your sides. Keep your knees soft and feet flat on the floor. Engage from your abs and keep your buttocks squeezed (zip and pinch!).
As you press back, the movement should originate from your abs. Keep your shoulders pinched and your head on straight, and don’t lock your elbows.
Pause to check your posture and alignment, and then repeat.
A variation that really strengthens balance is to do this while raising one foot. Be sure to keep your hips parallel and straight. Do an equal number of repetitions when you raise the other foot.
Remember: Gentle, focused movements will increase your strength when you’re Motion Empowered!