Tuesday, July 02 2019

Summertime is a good time to toss some plastic balls into the pool and explore ways to get fit and have fun.  Israeli Aqua Expert, Mushi Harush, filmed an epic tutorial of creative ball exercises that you can include in your aqua classes.    Even if you just include a short ball portion, the video, Let’s Have a Ball, delivers loads of ideas for designing segments for cardio, core, upper body, legs and partner work. 

Fitmotivation subscribers often request video content that includes equipment that is accessible and affordable.  Consequently, we strive to generally feature content with noodles, hand buoys and gloves since that is the most common equipment available to instructors.  Fitmotivation videos have also included other affordable and innovative types of equipment, including Frisbees, kickboards, water bottles and plastic bags.  However, the most popular cost-friendly equipment that has been featured is the plastic ball.   Two years ago, Aqua Ball Workout had everyone rushing out to Dollar Stores to buy balls.  Last year, Aqua Ball Interval added to the ball craze and provided instructors with additional class ideas.

The ball is exceptionally versatile and Mushi proves it by providing an entire video of exercises that are completely different from the previous two videos.  Let’s Have a Ball is structured differently because Mushi filmed it strictly as a collection of exercises that you can cherry pick from and mix and match.  In other words, this video was not filmed as a continuous workout to be used in its entirety.  Instead it was filmed to provide instructors with ideas for adding short ball segments in their classes.  Mushi prefers not to use the ball for an entire class because she feels it would be too strenuous for some students.   Instead, she likes using the ball for a portion of the class, often with a dedicated focus such as cardio, core, arms, legs or partner work. 


Mushi credits her athletic upbringing and love of sport as the inspiration behind experimenting and playing around with the ball in the water.   “Working as a physical educator for my entire career, I have played basketball, volleyball and softball and I basically like to play anything with a ball,” says Mushi.

Ball Sizing/Type
Mushi generally prefers a medium sized ball in her workouts, a ball large enough that it can be held with both hands.  “Instructors can use smaller balls that can be held in one hand, but I personally feel the resistance is not strong enough due to the small size,” explains Mushi.  More information on balls sizing and purchasing was included in the blog for Aqua Ball Interval.   In general, 8-inch sizing would be a medium sized ball.  However, your cheapest option would likely be to just purchase some medium sized kick balls at a discount store. 

Segment 1:  Warm-up
Pools can be chilly and this warm-up is designed to get students jogging around with the added enhancement and excitement of using a ball.   Travel is the main theme of this warm-up and the exercises include suspended and swim-style activities.

Segment 2:  Cardiovascular
Creative aerobic training is accomplished by holding the ball in both hands and pushing and pulling under the surface of the water while performing lower body aqua base moves. The ball is also used out of the water in tossing drills that are performed both stationary and with travel.

Segment 3:  Abdominals & Core
Exceptionally creative and challenging planking variations with the ball are featured in this segment.   The planking exercises are varied between front and side and grounded and suspended. 

Segment 4:  Upper Body
The muscles of the upper body get targeted with both isotonic and isometric contractions that involve squeezing the ball.  Creativity is added by including both suspended and grounded movements, as well as in-water and out-of-water exercises.  A bonus self-back massage is included.

Segment 5:  Lower Body
The inner thigh (hip adductors) and the core are targeted in this segment due to the placement of the ball between the upper thighs.  This placement allows for lots of innovative exercises that are both grounded and suspended, as well as stationary and traveling. 

Segment 6:  Partner Work
Let the games begin.  Pairing up with a partner fosters both socialization and competitiveness, which encourages students to work harder.  Agility skills are tested as two balls are tossed back and forth in traveling and stationary drills. This segment also includes a variety of other exercises; including kick challenges and some fun partner suspended work.

Final Words from Mushi Never give up on play!  Let your students try new things they don't usually do in a regular class.  Include games that are performed in groups and in partners.  This will make them work together, communicate and have lots of fun.

Fitmotivation extends thanks once again to Mushi for providing video subscribers with yet another video jam-packed with fun and challenging exercises. Mushi is the founder and owner of the Israeli Aquatic Exercise Center.  She has been an international AEA Training Specialist since 1994. If you are interested in purchasing the DVD - please contact Mushi through the Israeli Aquatic Center website or Facebook page or leave a comment under the video or blog.  Her other video, Aquatic Frisbee Challenge, is one of the most popular videos ever to stream on Fitmotivation.   Imagine the fun you can have in your classes by adding a 10-minute ball segment AND a 10-minute Frisbee segment?   As Mushi says…never stop playing!





Author: Mark Grevelding is the founder of Fitmotivation. He is also a training specialist and consultant with the Aquatic Exercise Association’s (AEA). Mark has been active in the fitness industry for 22 years as a group fitness instructor, personal trainer, international presenter and a continuing education provider for AEA, AFAA & ACE.