John Basedow: Using an exercise ball may seem daunting, but this inexpensive and relatively small piece of equipment can deliver a total body workout.
First, squats target the hamstrings, quadriceps, hips and calf muscles. Crouch with your back pressed against an exercise ball that's against the wall. Knees at 90 degree angles and place your hands behind your ears. Raise and lower yourself by straightening your legs and remember to breathe out while extending and breathe in while returning to the starting position. Repeat 10 to 15 reps.
Second, the bridge works your upper and lower lats, as well as the lower back muscles and trapezius. Lean back against the ball and place your hands across you chest. Without moving your feet make your back parallel to the floor and lower it back down after a short pause. Repeat 10 to 15 times.
Third, push-ups tone the inner, outer, lower and upper pectoral muscle. lie prone with your hands on top of the exercise ball, legs in back fully extended. Push yourself up by extending your arms and slowly lower yourself back down after a short pause.
Fourth, crunches with your legs elevated focus on the upper and lower abdominal muscles as well as the obliques. Lie on your back, calves on top of the exercise ball and arms across your chest. Raise and lower yourself using your abs and not your neck. Don't forget to breathe and repeat several sets of 10 to 15 crunches.
With an exercise ball on hand you can complete any of this toning exercises as well as dozens of other engaging moves.