Living with Harmony ~ A Blog for your Mind & Body

Prenatal Pilates

Posted in How-To,Mini Exercise Ball,Pilates by Harmony on February 3, 2011

In this video you will learn several easy-to-follow exercises that are beneficial for pregnancy, but aren’t just for pregnant women. Good cueing to engage the pelvic floor and core. In these simple pilates exercises all you will need will be a pilates mat and a small inflatable exercise ball.

We offer several sizes of these small exercise balls – a 7″ Exercise Ball and a 9″ Exercise Ball. When using them to provide resistance in your exercises, they will generally be slightly under-inflated. When using between the legs, you’ll still want your knees about hip-distance apart and if between the arms, arms should be shoulder-width apart depending on the specific exercise. Hopefully that will give you a rule of thumb to determine which size is best for you. We also offer a 6″ ball that is used for body rolling (a wonderful massage technique), that could also be used in many exercises as well.


Exercises for New Moms & You

Posted in Core/Fitness,Dumbells/Grip Weights,How-To,Mini Exercise Ball,Toning Balls by Harmony on December 10, 2010

Although these following exercises are intended for new mom’s trouble spots, you may find these exercises perfect for you too.  Two of these exercises use small exercise balls.  We carry three different sizes:  6″ Exercise/Body Rolling Ball, 7″ Exercise Therapy Ball, and a 9″ Exercise Therapy Ball.  These small vinyl inflatable balls have many uses so feel free to incorporate into other exercises, such as holding the ball between your hands during crunches.  The simple act of squeezing the ball between your legs or your hands activates additional muscles and brings more awareness to those areas.

The Wood Chop exercise is to be performed with a dumbbell or hand weight.  Check out these options:  Neoprene Dumbbell Weight Set (2, 3, 5lbs), Grip Weights (3 or 5lbs), or the Soft Weighted Toning Balls (2lbs).

Exercises to Tackle Your Trouble Spots

Exercise: Ball Squats

Ball Squats
Best for Thighs

Exercise: Ball Squats

Do It: In a standing position, place a beach ball between your thighs (you can also use a basketball or a pillow). Holding ball firmly, bend knees into squat position, as if you’re going to sit in a chair (make sure your knees don’t extend past toes). Hold for two counts; return to start position. Repeat 20 times.

Why It Works: This targets the front of your thighs, plus your inner thighs, which have to work to hold the ball in place.

Exercise: Wood Chop with Dumbbell

Wood Chop with Dumbell
Best for Allover Toning

Exercise: Wood Chop with Dumbbell

Do It: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a weight in front of you. Bend knees as if you’re sitting in a chair, so thighs are almost parallel with floor. As you bend, rotate shoulders to the left, bringing weight toward left knee. Straighten legs, twisting torso right as you raise weight diagonally over your right shoulder. Repeat 10 times; switch sides.

Why It Works: The squat incorporates your glutes and thighs, while the twisting motion targets your obliques, Pasternak explains.


Exercise: Walking Lunge with Trunk Twist

Walking Lunge with Trunk Twist
Best for Lower Body

Exercise: Walking Lunge with Trunk Twist

Do It: Start with feet together, holding a ball in front of you with both hands. Step forward three to four feet with right leg, as shown, lunging forward until thigh is parallel to floor, knee over ankle. As you lunge, twist torso right, keeping head and pelvis facing forward. Bring torso back to front. Pushing off with right heel, bring left foot forward into a lunge and twist torso to left. Do 20 lunges — 10 each side.

Why It Works: Lunges target glutes, quads, and hamstrings. The torso twist works your abs, particularly the obliques.

Originally published in the July 2009 issue of Parents magazine.

Senior Exercises: Hip Adductor

Posted in Core/Fitness,How-To,Mini Exercise Ball by Harmony on June 25, 2010

Another video in our series for Seniors. Or not so senior — if you’re nursing an injury or want to start your new fitness routine gently — keep watching! This is an easy-to-do adductor exercise that can be done at home sitting in a chair or while you’re watching TV, even.  Great for those  inner thigh muscles.

We offer several sizes of mini-exercise balls.  These are light-weight, vinyl, inflatable balls and are available in 6″ , 7″ , or 9″ diameters.  Visit our Fitness Page to see all of our mini-exercise balls.

Senior Exercises: Chest Press

Posted in Core/Fitness,How-To,Mini Exercise Ball,Toning Balls by Harmony on June 4, 2010

This is the second in a series of exercises for seniors. A couple weeks ago, we offered a video on an Overhead Press. If you are taking care of an arm or shoulder injury, or just starting on your fitness journey, don’t let the name “Senior Exercises” fool you. Watch the video and learn. Sometimes it’s important to be gentle with your body, know that and respect that. It’s ok.

This video shows the instructor using a soft weighted toning ball during the exercise.  As she informs us, you could also use an inflated ball if so desired (check out our 7″ mini-exercise ball and our 9″ mini-exercise ball).  Perhaps this is because you don’t want the added weight, but the inflated ball still offers resistance and will help you be mindful of your movements.  Sometimes we choose our exercise tool because of what we already have lying around the house!  And that’s fine, too.

Senior Exercises: Overhead Press

Posted in Core/Fitness,How-To,Mini Exercise Ball,Toning Balls by Harmony on May 21, 2010

Sometimes exercises or yoga practices labeled for “seniors” isn’t totally accurate. These exercises can also be used by individuals who are caring for an injury or for those who want to start out slow and gentle. There’s nothing wrong with taking advantage of gentle, “senior” exercises like these…no matter what age you are. Honor your body.

To perform these Overhead Presses, you could use a 2lb Soft Weighted Toning Ball or select a hand weight from our Neoprene Dumbbell Set.

Pilates: Lower and Lift with a Small Exercise Ball

Posted in How-To,Mini Exercise Ball,Pilates by Harmony on March 18, 2010

In this video, you’ll learn how to use a small, inflatable exercise ball in the Pilates exercise called Lower and Lift.

We have two different sizes of these small exercise balls:  a 7″ Mini Exercise Ball and a 9″ Mini Exercise Ball for you to choose from.  You’ll see in this video that they perform this exercise with the ball somewhat deflated.  This is recommended when using these mini-balls during exercises.  If you want to use the ball for massage therapy or myofacial release, inflating them more will work better.  These Mini Exercise Therapy Balls have many uses.

Pilates and a Mini Therapy Ball

Posted in How-To,Mini Exercise Ball,Pilates by Harmony on February 11, 2010

Following is a short video (<2min) on how to use a small PVC ball in Pilates while doing a Heel Squeeze to work the glutes.  Sometimes these small balls are called mini-balls, mini exercise balls, or therapy balls.  At RollingSands Harmony we offer three different sizes:  a 7″ Mini Therapy Ball or a 9″ Mini Therapy Ball.

We also carry a 6″ Body Rolling Ball, which could be used as well.