Exercise balls boost ab workout: Vancouver kinesiologist

11 Oct

Exercise balls are useful tools to achieve those washboard abs according to kinesiologist Rob Williams. Photo courtesy of chrisdlugosz

You need to get on the ball in order to achieve flat, washboard abs according to Vancouver kinesiologist and posture specialist Rob Williams.

And based on the core workout he describes, it has to work because it’s too painful not to.

But a six pack shouldn’t be desired purely for vanity, wrote Williams in Training your core can be a ball on the Vancouver Sun website.

Strong core improves:

  • movement
  • posture
  • balance

Williams also wrote that your position during an exercise is important. Your inner-core should be engaged first to support your pelvis and lumbar spine before you start the exercise.

 Benefits to good exercise position:

  • less strain on hips and lower back
  • tighter/flatter abs

Now that you know how to position yourself, it’s time to grab a ball and try one of Williams’ exercises.

But not before you do a warm up and consult a physician Williams warns (this is the don’t sue me clause).

 Ball bridge exercise:

Bridging improves lower back, including your glutes (ladies listen up) and hamstrings.

You can bridge on the floor to begin or on an exercise ball to be advanced.

  1. Lie on your back with your legs on the ball. The further your hips are from the ball, the harder the exercise.
  2. Engage core and lift your hips off of the ground so that your body is a straight line.
  3. Challenge yourself by rolling the ball back and forth or lifting one leg off of the ball all while keeping your pelvis straight.
  4. Do three holds up to a minute each.

I find this exercise to be quite intense very quickly. Simply elevating my body with the ball was enough to induce sore abs during and after the routine. If you are a beginner to core exercise definitely begin on the floor and work your way to the ball.

 Ball side extension exercise:

This exercise targets the sides of the torso, lower back and abdominals.

  1. Lay on your right side on top of an exercise ball with your feet against the base of a wall and your top leg behind your bottom leg. The ball should support your pelvis and lower torso.
  2. Cross your arms on your chest, or for more difficulty put each hand behind an ear.
  3. Steadily align your body and lower your body over the ball then raise back up, lifting your elbow towards the ceiling as your rib cage shifts upwards.
  4. Don’t twist your body.
  5. Do three sets of 10-12 reps.

Personally, my obliques are the weakest part of my abs so this exercise was harder than the Ball Bridge.

 Ball rollout sprawl exercise:

The best core exercises hold the spine and core in a controlled position wrote Williams.

  1. Have your feet on the ground and forearms on one or two balls (advanced) in front of you.
  2. Engage core and have spine and pelvis in neutral position.
  3. Once in a solid position roll the ball forward.
  4. When using two balls, slowly roll one ball at a time. Shorten your movements if your position changes it’s probably because you are losing control.
  5. Do three sets of 12-15 repetitions on each side.

This position felt unnatural at first. It was like a trust exercise with myself, could I roll forward and not fall onto my face?

But my theory is if it burns, it works and I felt the burn.

For pictures that demonstrate the above exercises visit: http://www.vancouversun.com/health/Training+your+core+ball/5512151/story.html

Reebok refunds: lawsuit against EasyTone shoes highlights consumerism

5 Oct

Reebok’s EasyTone shoes (not shown), were advertised to better achieve a toned lower body than average running shoes. Traditional exercises such as knee highs depicted above should not be traded in for special shoes. Photo by Rance Costa http://flic.kr/p/7tL1kM

In response to the lawsuit against Reebok, Lori Borgman of The Tribune News Service wrote that she feels badly for gullible consumers like her, in the article Toning shoe takes a misstep.

The Federal Trade Comission recently settled a $25 million class action suit against Reebok, whose EasyTone and RunTone shoes were proven to be no better than the average running shoe.

The Reebok product guarantee: Reebok commercials promised “better legs and a better butt with every step,” when wearing its EasyTone shoes. Workouts in the shoes were also  advertised to be up to 28 per cent more effective.

Sure, the girl in the commercial looked great and most women would be jealous of her pert backside, but that’s the whole point of advertising. Commercials try to make you feel incomplete without their product, and we know this.

We know this and still ignore the truth because we are all optimists.

The Truth about EasyTone: A study from the American Council of Exercise found no benefits to using Reebok’s toning shoes. Other studies conducted also found the same results.

Borgman also writes that the shoes weren’t in fact hurting anybody and the only people that benefit from this scandal are personal injury lawyers.

I have a different opinion.

Consumers benefit from lawsuit:

  • Consumers may finally be realizing that not all advertisements are true. As much as people would like to believe there’s a quick fix for cellulite, sometimes you just have to face the fat and admit that almost nothing is a quick fix.
  • The FTC is using the $25 million to refund money back to unsatisfied EasyTone customers.
  • The FTC may sue companies with similar products who may have untrue claims, class-action expert Jaime Bianchi said to Reuters. As a result advertisers may become more honest because of accountability.
  • If after all the bad press you still want a pair of EasyTone’s, just for kicks (pun intended) they are almost all on sale on Reebok’s website.

FTC’s response to lawsuit: David Vladeck from the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection said in a press conference that Reebok “violated the law by making false and unsubstantial claims” about the effectiveness of its Easy Tone shoes.

Reebok’s response to lawsuit: But Reebok put out a statement saying that it doesn’t agree with the allegations even though the company settled. Reebok also stated that customer feedback for the shoes have been positive.

Moral of the story: You know how they say you should walk a mile in someone else’s shoes? In this case don’t.