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Improve Strength, Flexibility, and Balance with 16-Week Program

This is an excerpt from Strength Ball Training-3rd Edition by Lorne Goldenberg & Peter W. Twist.

16-Week Program

In the 16-week program you are progressively introduced to the exercises described in the book. If you are just starting out, there will certainly be a temptation to jump ahead to some of the more difficult exercises, especially if you find some of the beginner-level exercises too easy. But stay on course. Take the time to build your foundation with the prescribed progressions, and your result will be a successful program. The time you put into the program in the first 4 to 6 weeks will ensure your success by helping you avoid soft-tissue injuries and reinforcing the techniques as described.

The exercises in the 16-week program provide an excellent array of strength, balance, and flexibility challenges. After the tables of most of the 4-week cycles are explanations of why specific combinations of exercises are used. After you have completed this program, you will be ready to design your own strength ball program.

Tempo and rest are two components that can dictate the direction of your program. The numbers in the tempo column are defined first. For example, 3:2:2 means that you lower the weight in 3 seconds, hold the middle position for 2 seconds, and raise the weight in 2 seconds. When a muscle causes a joint to move, it always results in shortening or lengthening of the working muscle. The first digit indicates lowering of the weight, which generally means you put a specific muscle through an eccentric contraction, or lengthening. The last digit indicates that you perform a concentric contraction, or shortening of the muscle.

The number in the rest column represents how much time you should take after a particular exercise. The exercises provide a number of supersets, where one exercise is followed immediately by a second exercise, then followed by a specific rest interval. This concept of supersetting is a means of making your workout efficient. Instead of working each muscle individually, you use an opposite muscle group (such as chest and upper back) or an upper-body and lower-body combination (such as chest and hamstrings). As you adapt to your program, you can apply the concept of progression to your rest periods to continually increase the intensity of your workouts. By attempting to shorten your rest time you will increase the metabolic intensity of the program, thereby imposing a greater challenge to your body and improving your endurance. You can also increase your rest time, especially if you want to lift very heavy loads. Increasing the rest time will provide you with greater recovery, which is an important component of high-level strength.

Finish with the following flexibility exercises, holding each position for 20 to 30 seconds for one or two sets:

  1. Spinal extension
  2. Lateral side stretch
  3. Standing hamstring stretch
  4. Standing lat and pec stretch
  5. Kneeling posterior shoulder stretch

Note: In combos 1 and 5 we keep the grouping close together. Superset 1 focuses on legs and glutes in the wall squat and glutes, hamstrings, and spinal erectors in the back extension. This focus on the core and legs is a superset of the same muscle group to enhance hypertrophy and strength of this area. This is a foundation that you need to focus on for later progressions.

In superset 5 the focus is similar to the previous supersets except that we target the abdominals in a sagittal plane followed by a rotary stability challenge - same grouping, different planes.




Learn more about Strength Ball Training, Third Edition.