There's no question that gyms tend to have a lot of "stuff" in them — between cardio machines and group exercises classes, the sheer amount of fitness being thrust at you when you walk into a club can be completely intimidating.
But there are also a ton of little pieces of equipment that can help you out that you may never have considered, possibly because no one explained how they work, and possibly because they kind of look scary.
In this week's How To, Anna Renderer from FitSugarTV shows five exercises using a medicine ball that can easily be incorporated into a gym routine that work everything from the abs to the arms. While yes, it may feel a bit awkward at first, and it can take some time to find the right weight for you, the medicine ball is pretty fantastic way to get a ton of resistance training in without necessarily heading into the weight room.
The medicine balls, those weighted balls that look like something between a soccer ball and a basketball, are often ignored at the gym thanks to their "athletic" look. Sometimes shown in terrifying movie sequences where the muscled protagonist bulks up heftily, medicine balls can actually work for anyone. Coming in weights from two to 25 pounds, these versatile (and easy to store) balls rely on a combination of weight and stability exercises to strengthen almost every muscle in the body.
And heck, if slamming down that hefty ball onto the ground isn't the best way to get rid of some of your extra stress, we're not sure what is.
Do you have a favourite exercise with the medicine ball? Let us know in the comments below!
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Get A Ball
Try replacing your office chair with a stability ball, says chiropractor Dr. Craig McNamee. Forcing yourself to balance on a ball can increase core activation and improve your overall posture.
The best way to improve your backside is by actually standing up and taking a break. McNamee says you should get up every 20 minutes and open up your chest and stretch.
Keep A Band At Your Desk
No gym close by? Don't worry. McNamee suggests keeping a resistance band in your desk drawer and perform chest pulls while standing up. This will keep your blood pumping all day.
Competitive? McNamee recommends wearing a pedometer and challenging yourself to walk at least 10,000 steps a day. Not only will this straighten up your form, it will boost your metabolism and improve your mood.
McNamee suggests drinking at least eight cups of water a day while sitting at your desk. (Just think of it has trying to finish one cup per hour). "Some researchers believe coffee dehydrates you, so for every cup of coffee offset it with at least one more cup of water," he says.
Try to avoid those company donuts -- at least for the majority of the week. Snacking on fruits, vegetables and other foods that are high in fibre and protein will keep your energy levels up during the day.
EXERCISE: Office Chair Squats
Try doing squats directly into your office chair to work your core and posture. Try five sets at 30 seconds each.
EXERCISE: Wall Push Ups
If you feel a little awkward breaking out into push ups on the company floor, find a flat wall and try five sets at 30 seconds each.
EXERCISE: Chair Tricep Dips
Just like this photo, grab a hold of your chair's arms and dip down to the floor without having your bottom touch the floor. This exercise will workout your triceps and core. Try five sets at 30 seconds each.
EXERCISE: Front Planks
Yes, we know this may be seem embarrassing in front of a crowd, but finding an empty room or even the kitchen area of your office will work for planks. Again, planks can work your core and burn fat. Try five sets at 30 seconds each.