Exercise Tip: Leaning Squats with an Exercise Ball

by Lodovica Trevisan

Are you pregnant? Does your lower back hurt? This exercise is perfect for you! It strengthens your glutes, hamstrings, quads and mid- to upper-back while supporting and protecting your lower back. Best of all, exercise ball squats require minimal equipment -- all you need is an exercise ball and a wall!

Here's What You'll Need and How to Do It

squats using exercise ball1. Get ready. Dress comfortably, get your exercise ball and find an empty section of wall.
2. Position yourself. Place the ball into the small of your back, but make contact with your tailbone, low- and mid-back. Your feet should be positioned 6" to 12" in front of your body with your feet hip-width apart. Hold your arms up as if you're lifting hand weights.
3. Lean against the ball. Pull your shoulders blades down and back. Gently lean into the ball and shift your weight to your heels. Place your hands on the front of your thighs.
4. Squat: Inhale. Keep your tailbone, low and mid-back against the ball, bend your knees, and begin to lower the body. The ball will glide down the wall with you as you lower your body toward the floor. Lower yourself until challenged or until your thighs align parallel to the floor.
5. Hold for a few seconds. Hands up. No cheating!
6. Stand: Exhale and slowly push your body up away from the floor, returning to your starting position.
7. That's one. Work toward three sets of 10 squats.

Big tip: For added challenge, combine bicep curls with the leaning squats. You'll fit two great exercises into one time slot!

Does exercising during pregnancy help you feel more energetic? Shout it out and let us know!

check markBefore starting a fitness program, talk with your midwife or OB/GYN about your current health, physical activity and pregnancy. We don't know what kind of shape you're in or what your medical needs/concerns are. Please get the green light from your provider first!

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Submitted by Angie@leap on

I am a physical therapist in Portland, Oregon specializing in women's health and I love this exercise for my pregnant patients! The only thing I would add is to really make sure your feet are far enough out from the wall so that your knees do not go beyond your ankles when looking side on. For exercise classes in portland , go to Www.leap4women.com