Stef’s Mini Ball Workout for Beginner & Senior Fitness


I’ve had a few requests for some fresh senior-friendly workouts, and being the compliant Fit RVer I am, I got right on it. Well actually, it’s taken me months to finally get on it, but hey, it took Van Gogh 10 years for Starry Night. At least I’m not THAT slow.

When I started thinking about creating a brilliant yet gentle workout plan, I decided I should turn to my own senior trainees. I know their likes and dislikes, and I get to see the effectiveness of various moves I have them do. Since I know exercises with mini fitness balls are their most requested, I decided a ball might keep things interesting for you, too.

So! If you don’t have a mini-fitness ball, you’re going to need to purchase one to do this workout.

I recommend one like the Spri Sponge Ball.

Or! You Silver Sneakers members can order their logo balls right through the Silver Sneakers website. I used to be a Silver Sneakers instructor and that’s how I came to own my beat-up yellow one you’ll see in the video.

 

If you’ve trained with me before, either here in cyberspace or for reals, you know I’m a huge fan of compound movements. Hey, if you’re going to be working out anyways, might as well wrap as many benefits in one exercise as we can, right? Strength, stretch, balance, coordination… each of the 8 movements in this plan has them all. I’m efficient like that.

Speaking of efficiency, I’ve once again created a printable of the exercises described in the video to make this a no-brainer for you.

Click for printable:

So, you’ve got the video demonstrating the exercises, you’ve got the print-out for the RV, and below you’ve got my rationale on why you should do each exercise. If you’re new to exercise, I hope you’ll read on. I didn’t just willy-nilly choose these exercises, and it’s important to understand the WHY behind them in order to keep yourself motivated to do them.

If you have comments or questions please leave them down below! Love hearing from you, and would love to know your thoughts!

 

Stef’s Mini Fitness Ball Workout

EXERCISE 1: Squat Toss

 

Why You Should Do This:

Squats, in all their various forms, are one of the best functional exercises out there and something you should be doing regularly. While they clearly help build your leg strength, squats will improve knee stability and strengthen connective tissue as well. Squats alone really are a full-body exercise in that they hit your deep core muscles and improve your posture, too. In the Squat Toss, we’ve added even more upper body activity. You’ll not only be working your shoulder strength and range-of-motion, you’ll also be working your hand-eye coordination… all things that are far too often neglected as we age. 

 

 

EXERCISE 2: Warrior Reach

 

Why You Should Do This:

Lunge variations are in my top 5 all-time Must-Do exercises. Since they’re a unilateral exercise, training one side of your body independently of the other, lunges are going to vastly improve your balance and coordination much more effectively than a squat. In this Warrior variation, we’ve added a few extra bits. There’s the calf raise happening in the back, which is great for improving ankle range of motion… a common issue as we age.  And there’s rolling the ball up the wall, which is going to work your chest, lats, and shoulder strength as well as improve your shoulder flexibility (another common age-related problem).

 

EXERCISE 3: Snow Angel Squat Hold

 

Why You Should Do This:

Doing a wall sit like this is a form of isometric exercise, where we hold a muscle contraction over time. If you have bad knees, back or hips, isometric exercises are especially useful since you’re not moving the painful joints through their range of motion. An isometric squat exercise closely mimics real-life situations where we have to hold ourselves squatted… like squatting to attach the RV hook-ups, or maybe squatting over a sketchy campground pit toilet? The Snow Angel component of this wall sit exercise is going to work your shoulder flexibility and posture. As an added bonus, the snow angels will keep you distracted from your burning quad muscles.

 

EXERCISE 4: Triangle Press

 

Why You Should Do This:

I love the yoga Triangle Pose. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s one of my top 3 favorite yoga poses. Not only does it feel amazing, it also offers a ton of benefits throughout the entire body. In this modified version, we’ve added the wall as a balance safety feature and have also made it dynamic by lifting and lowering the ball. That movement is important as it takes us through our transverse plane, moving our muscles in a way we don’t normally move in everyday life. I especially love how it opens the side of the hip, and for people with tight hip joints, this can be a very useful position. Another important part of this exercise is how it externally rotates the front leg. We spend our days standing in parallel or even slightly internally rotated, and this external rotation will help strengthen different muscles and improve our joint stability in the legs, hips, and pelvis. All that helps us to move more efficiently.

 

EXERCISE 5: Wall Squishes

 

Why You Should Do This:

This standing core exercise works more muscle groups than a traditional crunch, and doesn’t leave you with a sore neck like a crunch will. Not only does the Wall Squish strengthen through your superficial and deep ab muscles, it also hits your glutes, lats, chest, and legs. Even better? The very slight flexion and extension of your spine will safely work your spine mobility. If we allow our spines to become inflexible and tight as we age, we’re more vulnerable to back injuries. This exercise is one way to ensure you continue through your retirement years with a strong spine that has a healthy level of mobility to it.

 

EXERCISE 6: Side Lunge & Open the Curtain

 

Why You Should Do This:

With every workout, you want to make sure you’re doing exercises in all 3 of the major planes of movement. I added this Side Lunge exercise as it is the only exercise in this plan where our legs are moving on the Frontal Plane. We spend so much of our movement time going forward, it’s common to neglect the muscles that move us sideways. This side lunge movement will work your muscles in a different way than they are likely used to, which ultimately leads to better joint stability, better balance, and the ability to move through daily life more efficiently.

 

EXERCISE 7: Heel Curl Slam Dunk

 

Why You Should Do This:

Unilateral exercises are critical for maintaining good balance and joint stability as we age. This exercise has a strong balance component since you need to stand on one leg to perform the ball to heel movement. Both sides are performing different jobs, making it a coordination challenge task. When tasks require mental attention, like this, you’re also exercising your mental focus. It’s one of the reasons I love compound exercises for my training clients. More complicated movements require more focus. Since we’re working out anyways, might as well work the brain, too!

 

EXERCISE 8: Overhead Triceps Toss

 

Why You Should Do This:

Well, because it’s fun! It’s also working your posture, and stretching everything from your chest up. But beyond that, quite possibly the best benefit here happens during the catch phase, as our reflexes and quickness kick in to ensure we successfully make the catch. As we age, we stop doing activities that require quickness and reflexive movements. It’s especially important to make sure you’re doing exercises of this sort to keep yourself able to move and respond quickly in an emergency situation. So yes, I’m telling you to go play catch, or go play anything! Exercising your quickness and reflexes are some of the secrets to aging well.

 

 

So what are you waiting for, get up and go hit the wall!

 

xoxo,

Stef

 

 



Stefany Adinaro is an RVing fitness pro and is the self-proclaimed “better half” of the Fit RV website. While she loves her RV adventures, her favorite adventure is being “Mugga” to grandbabies Amelia and Eli. When she's not on the road, you can find her training clients in Salt Lake City, Utah.


    4 thoughts on “Stef’s Mini Ball Workout for Beginner & Senior Fitness

    1. Patti Machie

      Stef,awesome video I love it,going to order my ball in am.thanks for getting me off my butt..lol.Hey we ordered our new Sea eagle Explorer 380x this morning,thanks for the info you shared with us on them..

      Reply
      1. Stefany - Post author

        Double yay! You’re going to love your Sea Eagle, AND I’m very happy to hear you’re getting a ball and giving this workout a try. Don’t forget, habits are EVERYTHING when it comes to living a fit lifestyle. So maybe set a goal that you’ll do the ball workout non-negotiable once a week for the next 6 weeks, or something along those lines. I’m rooting for you, come back and let me know how you like the workout! xoxo

        Reply
    2. Dévon Lewis

      Thank you so much for the great information, Stef! This is just the plan to get me moving regardless of weather and at home or in my Travato. I appreciate the explanation for each exercise and that they include balance elements. I’m looking forward to meeting you and James sometime this year.

      Reply
      1. Stefany - Post author

        I’m so happy to hear that, Devon! There’s nothing like the post-exercise feeling where your head is clear, your feel-good hormones have you smiling big, and you’re ready to tackle the world.

        Hope you’ll come back and let me know how it went once you’ve tried everything. Rooting for you! xoxo

        Reply

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