Exercisers have a ball in Keystone Health Club
Workouts are simply a ball at Keystone Health Club and Cafe in East Pittsburgh – a Bender Ball, that is.
Many of the participants at Keystone are using Bender Balls, a 8-inch round ball that's much-larger traditional stability balls — inflatable balls used to work muscles in the abdomen, increasing strength, balance, posture and flexibility.
The smaller balls are garnering fans, fitness experts say.
“This seems to be able to isolate muscle groups and changes body alignment. It makes (a workout) safer and it makes it harder,” said Gail Evans-Potter, owner of Keystone Health Club.
Connie Tinsley, the club's group exercise coordinator, agrees. She has used yoga balls, which are solid balls made of rubber and about 4 to 5 inches in diameter, but finds the Bender Ball even more useful.
“What I'm finding with the Bender Ball is because it's pliable, it has more give and is a little larger (than yoga balls), so it's better for a lot of yoga positions,” Tinsley said. Keystone uses the Bender Ball in mixed-level yoga, body sculpting and core classes.
The Bender Ball takes its name from Leslee Bender, a master trainer who developed the ball. According to the Bender Ball website, the ball puts the user “in the perfect position for results.” The ball helps the user target their upper abdominals, sides and lower abs.
When placed under the back, the Bender Ball enables the user to get extension backward and flexion forward, “which works your muscles more effectively,” the site states.
Students at Keystone Health Club who use the ball are “learning how to strengthen their core, and yet (the ball) gives more support and better alignment. It's more effective” than doing the movements without the ball, Tinsley said.
“A regular crunch doesn't do anything,” said Marjorie Staub of Chalfant, who takes a variety of fitness classes at Keystone, including body sculpting and yoga. “I like the Bender Ball for (crunches). You can do a more effective crunch when you have the ball to support your back.”
Staub also finds the Bender Ball more effective in yoga class than a smaller yoga ball for some poses, especially the bridge position with leg raise because “you get more support,” Staub said.
Classes are $6 per class for nonmembers who can also buy a punch card for 10 classes for $50. All classes, except a Crossfit class, are free with yearly memberships, which run $36 a month with a $39 entrance fee.
A different sort of ball that Keystone sponsors is a ballroom dance social from 7 to 10 p.m. the first Friday of each month in the cafe. Nicole Ferguson leads dance instructions. Participants pay $5 if they are Keystone members and $10 if they aren't. All may bring their own drinks and snacks.
Keystone Health Club also hosts a more serious class, grief support through yoga. The classes are designed to help those experiencing grief after the loss of a loved one heal through the gentle movements and mindfulness of chair-support yoga. These classes are held the second and fourth Fridays of the month and are free.
Sandra Fischione Donovan is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Project aims to control feral cat population in Pittsburgh area
- Some Mt. Lebanon residents want to pay per trash bag
- Upper St. Clair development in commissioners’ hands
- Mt. Lebanon Tennis Center earns USTA award for serving community
- Bethel Park tax hike under limit set by Pa.
- Basketball tourney fundraiser to continue in memory of North Allegheny athlete
- Eagle webcam in Pittsburgh shuts down for season
- Bill would change residency requirements for Mt. Lebanon firefighters
- Additions planned for Bethel Park’s Cool Springs Sports Complex