Question of the Week

DSC_6282Question: Is there a benefit to using a ball behind your back during curls even if you don’t have lower back issues?

Answer: (From Jaclyn H.) Curl is such a great part of class, I mean who doesn’t want to work towards a flat stomach or 6 pack?  However, during curl it is essential to focus on your form.  You have probably heard your instructor say, “Your muscles will form and shape the way that you work them.”  Meaning, if you are pulling your naval towards your spine while you curl, you are helping to flatten out your stomach.  On the flip side, if you are pushing your stomach outward when you curl you could be building your abdominals out.

Keeping your naval pulled towards your spine, while remaining low and releasing your hands from your thighs is very hard work!  That is where the ball comes into play.  If you take the ball and place it about mid-spine, then you have some support.  The key is to focus on trying to lift off of the ball.  You want to keep the ball as round as possible, so you can really target your abdominals.  Once you have the ball in place you will probably notice that you can remain in that low curl position longer.  You may notice you can release your hands for longer periods of time and that you can focus on your breath and keeping everything pulled in.  This is the bonus of using the ball!  Additionally, the reason that no class is ever the same is so your muscles don’t get used to a particular exercise.  If you change things up frequently, then you are likely to see better results.  Using the ball under your back is one way you can change up curl on your own.

Unfortunately, many times people think of modifications as a weakness.  However, modifications can help you get your best workout because they are tailored to where you are at on any given day.  Your strength changes day to day as a result of your energy level, what you have eaten, how much you have slept, etc.  Therefore, what you can do during a workout will also change day to day.  It is a sign of strength to be able to read your body and know what will give you your best workout.

Next time you are in class, grab a ball during curl and notice the difference yourself!

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