Equipment: Stability ball
1. Lie down sideways over a stability ball. Extend your left leg in front of you and your right leg in back of you, about hip-distance apart, like scissors. Keep your knees straight and brace the edge of each foot on the floor to create a stable base (if you're doing this exercise for the first time, you may want to brace your feet against a wall or heavy piece of furniture to help you balance). Put your hands behind your head, elbows pointing out, and shoulders and hips aligned. Let your torso drape over the ball.
2. Exhale as you lift your left shoulder and elbow toward your feet, focusing the effort on the muscles that run down the side of your torso. Keep your eyes and torso facing forward as you lift (don't twist).
3. At the top of the lift, raise your left arm overhead and down alongside your thigh. Pause. Inhale as you slowly return to the starting position.
Repetitions and sets:
Do eight to 10 repetitions on one side, trying to lift a little higher with each repetition. Let your torso relax and drape over the ball to feel a great stretch between reps. Roll onto your back and rest for 15 to 20 seconds before repeating on the other side.
Photography by Geoff George.