Photo: Jason Lee
Finally, a hot shape-up toy you’ve not only heard of, but already own. It’s the tennis ball, and it serves up a surprisingly effective workoutthink totalbody toning and calorie zapping. Plus, it also doubles as a post-exercise soother.
To get awesome all-over benefits, simply master these moves from Ramona Braganza, top trainer to Halle Berry, Jessica Alba, and other A-listers. And to that we say: love all!
Photo: Jason Lee
Flatten your belly
Lie on your back with the ball in your left hand. Lift legs and torso so your body forms a "V," and begin to scissor legs up and down, alternating sides. As your right leg lifts, pass the ball underneath it to your right hand; repeat as left leg lifts, passing ball back to your left hand.
That’s one rep; do 3 sets of 10–15 reps four times a week to see a difference in two weeks. Just don’t forget to keep your core muscles contracted.
Bounce and burn
For your next cardio session, channel your inner child and play a little handball.
Bounce the ball against any wall (e.g., the side of your house, a wall in your basement); as it returns, give it a good smack with your open hand. Try to keep the ball moving for 30 seconds, and repeat three times.
Running after the ball will torch lots of calories, and timing your hits will boost your coordination, too.
Tone your thighs
Remember when, as a kid, you’d toss a ball high and see how long it would take to come back down? Try it again, but add a squat while the ball’s in the air.
Be sure to sit back on your heels, bring your butt down in line with your knees (not letting your knees go past your toes), contract your abs, and squeeze your glutes at the top of the move.
Do 1 squat per ball toss, with a total of 15 tosses per set. Do 2 more sets, taking a 30-second break in between, for a super-toning leg workout.
Soothe sore feet
Treat your aching tootsies to a little ball therapy after a long run (or an endless day).
Place the ball under the arch of one foot, then roll it slowly from heel to toe and back for 5 minutes; repeat on the other side. If you hit a tender spot, relax into it for about 5 seconds until you feel the tightness release. This simple move kicks kinks and cramps to the curb and readies your feet for their next lap around the track.