Also called an exercise ball, balance ball, Swiss ball or stability ball; $34.99 to more than $100

Medicine balls

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$27.99 to $86.99

You can use a stability ball to enhance the effectiveness of upper body, lower body, abdominal, total body and stretch-type workouts.

Exercise with an exercise ball is a great way to strengthen your abs and work on endurance and stability. Check out the exercise below to learn unique ways to work your entire body.

First, warm up with five minutes of light cardio activity.

Beginners, do one set of 10 to 16 repetitions. Intermediate/Advanced, do one to three sets of 10 to 16 reps.

Steady the ball against a wall or chair for extra stability in some exercises.

Combine this workout with regular cardio exercise for maximum results.

Leg Extensions with Medicine Ball

While seated on the stability ball, lie back to position the ball under the upper back to engage your abs and stabilize the hips. Hold a medicine ball straight up over your chest and make sure your knees are at a 90-degree angle. Lower arms behind you while simultaneously extending the right leg straight. Return to start and repeat, alternating legs for 10 to 16 reps. To modify, do the leg extension without the medicine ball.

Resistance bands

$17.99 to $62.99.

For general strength and conditioning and rehabilitation or injury prevention, resistance bands are widely used by a variety of health and fitness practitioners. Resistance-band exercises are ideal for home exercise programs, and can be easily incorporated into a training format to condition the cardiovascular system as well as strengthening specific muscle groups.

Bands come in the following colors and widths: yellow (thin); red (medium); green (heavy); blue (extra heavy); black (special heavy); silver (super heavy).

For the resistance band exercise, complete two to three sets of 12 to 15 reps (or up to 25 reps using easier colored bands).

You should warm up first with 5 to 10 minutes of light aerobic exercise and cool down with another 5 to 10 minutes of gentle exercise, plus some stretching.

Spot Training

Five moves for your arms, back, legs, butt, shoulders (using band and mat). What you will need: A mat and a resistance band.

Skater Squats, Targets: glutes, hamstrings

1. Stand on band with feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, holding an end of band in each hand.

2. Step out to right, pushing foot against band.

3. Squat, keeping knees behind toes. Hold for two counts, then step back to starting position.

4. Do 16 reps; switch sides and repeat.

Jump rope

$14.99 to $54.99.

A fantastic exercise for shaping all the major muscle groups of the lower and upper body is jumping rope. Beginning with the lower body, jumping rope will do wonders for your calves, quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes (your butt). What you may not realize, however, is how the constant turning motion of the rope also shapes and tones the entire upper body, including your chest, back, deltoids (shoulders), forearms, biceps and triceps.

The position of your arms and how you turn the rope is a critical component of proper jumping technique. Jump ropes are designed to help you maximize your cardio workout. You should be using some wrist and some forearm to turn the jump ropes.


$14.99 to more than $100

Getting started:

n Shop for dumbbells. You could start with a lightweight pair of two- to three-pound weights. Opt for adjustable dumbbells with options for adding or removing metal disks.

n Set a goal, prepare a schedule and select muscle groups you want to work. Spread activity across five days per week. Rest on the sixth and seventh days, then continue the routine.

Advantages of Dumbbell Exercise:

Regular dumbbell exercise is beneficial to anyone, regardless of age, condition or sex.

It sculpts your body, and improves self-esteem. It may not interest you to compete with Mr. or Ms. Universe. But, you are no doubt keen to remain as slim and trim as you wish. Dumbbells can help you look great with an improved physical appearance. Consistent dumbbell exercises promise a better you - improved physical appearance and improved confidence.

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin diseases reports an estimated 28 million Americans are prone to increased risks of osteoporosis. You can reduce the risks of osteoporosis by performing strength-training exercises, such as using dumbbells. Such exercise increases bone density, strengthens muscles and secures the bones from becoming thin and fragile, and does much to avoid the chances of breaking bones with even the slightest injury.

A Simple Dumbbell Exercise:

Biceps Curl: Let your arms hang at sides and palms facing away from your body. Make sure you keep the elbows close to your sides. Curl both dumbbells upward to the shoulders. Bring it down to starting point and repeat. You have targeted the biceps, or front of the upper arm.

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