Michelle Welling

How to Use Bala in Your Workout

Words by Gede Foster.

BALA Home workout

The Bala Bangles founders, Natalie and Max, wanted to create fitness equipment that was “the stylish, weighted bands that amplify the benefits of just about any routine.” Which made this sleek brand a perfect fit for The Sports Edit. 

TSE is always on the lookout for the best quality and aesthetic in activewear, and as such we are thrilled to introduce Bala equipment to our community to level up their home fitness routines. But how do you use these pieces of equipment?

In this blog, we are going to delve into the benefits of each piece with videos to help inspire how you can incorporate them into your fitness routine. 

HOW TO USE THE BALA POWER RING

The Bala Power Ring is like a cross between the kettlebell and dumbbells. A versatile piece of equipment that can lend itself to fitness workouts as well as barre style workouts. It weighs 10lbs and comes in five different colours. It is great for compound movements such as squats, swings, deadlifts, lunges and event hybrid movements to add in some upper body exercises. 

Some of my favourite moves with the Power Ring:

Plie GTOH (Ground to Overhead)

Start by taking your legs out nice and wide turning your toes out. Bend down until your thigh bones are parallel to the floor, hinge your body forward with a flat back tapping the ring to the ground. Push the floor away bending the arms in to then push the right overhead as you straighten your legs. 

This is a fantastic full body move activating almost every muscle in the body from your quads, glutes, hamstrings, core, back, and shoulders. 

Plie Heartbeat

Your legs will remain in the same position as above but this time you keep your body upright and you bend. At the same time push the ring out in front of you. This is great for targeting your shoulders and chest muscles while working the lower body too.

Plies Pulse Drive

This one is designed to team onto the end of number 2 for the extra burn! Hold the plie, hold your arms extended out in front of you, hands at shoulder height, and imagine the ring is a steering wheel and turn it one way then the other with each pulse. This is challenging at 10lbs, aim for 20-30 secs if you can!

Cossack to Halo

Widen your legs further, with each foot turning out at 45 degrees. Bend one leg reaching the ring towards the floor. Straighten back up to centre circling the ring around your head. 

This challenges the strength at the length of your inside thighs. While the halo works your shoulder three dimensionally and challenges your core stability by trying to keep your trunk still as the arms move.

Lunge with Tricep Extension

Place one foot in front of the other, holding the ring overhead, biceps by your ears, core engaged. Lunge down, bend the ring behind your head targeting your triceps, stretch the arms and return to standing. 

Arabesque

Transfer all of your weight onto your front foot, ring in both hands hanging towards the floor. Draw your naval through to the spine to protect your back. Think about reaching you back leg long and away to lift up. 

At the same time sweep the ring up overheard. This challenges your balance, core stability, pelvic stabilisation and glute activation as well as the mid to upper back. 

Arabesque Row

Remain in the potion set up above but change your grip to hold the ring in the same hand as the leg you have extended. Draw your elbow up to row and release. If you find the balance tricky here place your back toe lightly on the floor to help stabilise yourself. This really targets you mid back muscles while holding everything else in isometric contraction (stillness). 

Half Roll Back with Twist

Moving onto the core. Start seated with your legs bent up, tall spine, ring over head. With an exhale start to engage your pelvic floor and deep abdominals to curl your tailbone under rolling back to a C curve position. Once there, rotate your torso to one side, the weight of the ring intensifies the engagement to the obliques. 

Roll Up

Start lying down, legs outstretched feet flexed, arms overhead. Draw the ring over your face, exhale as you lengthen the back of your neck and start to roll up smoothly. Stacking the spine tall at the top. With the next whale roll back down in a slow and controlled rhythm returning to you start position. In this instance the ring actually proved support with the weight and allows you to get a smoother roll up with the additional weight. 

Check out the below video for demos of each of the above exercises. 

Want to turn it into a workout?

  1. 60 secs
  2. 30 secs
  3. 20-30 secs
  4. 60 secs

Rest 20 secs

  1. 60 secs
  2. 60 secs
  3. 60 secs

Repeat 5-7 on the other side

  1. 60 sces
  2. 60 secs

HOW TO USE BALA BARS

Available in 4 colours, Bala Bars have to be the most stylish hand weights on the market! Their smooth grippy surface accommodates even the sweatiest of workouts. They weigh 3lbs making them perfect for your high rep barre or pilates style arm workouts. 

Here are some of my favourite exercises with the bars:

Lat Raise

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly soft, core zipped in and up. Imagine you have clouds under your arms as you float the arms up to shoulder height, pause for a moment before resisting the arms lowering. The resisting is an important part to get the most out of the exercise. This is called the ‘eccentric phase’ which means the lengthening phase which promotes more strength gains. 

Over and Unders

Hold the top of that lat raise, keep a small bend in the elbows and turn the palms up to the ceiling, then down to the floor. Your shoulders are in an isometric muscle contraction maintaining strength and challenging endurance of the muscle. The small rotations are targeting the rotator muscles around the joint to promote shoulder health. Warning - the burn gets real!

Circles

This is to further extend the time under tension for the shoulders. We’re starting the arm sequence off with a bang! Draw small circles in sequence back and forward. 

Reaches

The last of the time under tension series. The chances are your shoulders are doing their best to creep up towards your ears as the intensity increases. Turn the palms up to the ceiling, this external rotation of the shoulder will help your shoulders to relax down and allow you to further engage your lats to support the shoulder girdle. Take a micro bend at the elbow the reach out to extend as far as you can. As you do this trying to let your shoulder blade sweep down your back. The light 3lbs bars are suddenly light no more!

Criss Cross Plie

Bring your feet into a pilates V. Rise up onto your tip toes squeezing your heels together. This squeeze helps you engage the entire midline which will help with balance. If the balance becomes too tricky, place your heels down on the floor. Criss cross the weights in front of you before pulling your elbows back lowering into your plie. This is now targeting anterior deltoid, chest, then the mid back muscles as you pull the arms back.

Rotations

Hold the plie position, arms at 90 degrees and rotate the arms up and down. Strengthening the muscles in your rotator cuff can help support exercise where you may be lifting heavier weights as well as providing better stability in the joint. 

Chest Press

Still holding that plie, close your arms in and open out maintaining right angles in the arms. You may be tempted to drop the elbows lower than shoulder height, try as best you can to keep the elbows lifted. This further engages the chest by really resisting the closure while maintaining the engagement on the shoulders. 

SA Press

Hold one arm in an isometric hold while pressing the working arm up overhead. 

Tricep Extensions

Fold your body forward at 45 degrees, flat back, weight in your heels. Draw your elbows up either side of your body. Kick your lower arm back and bend in. Targeting the backs of the arms, the triceps. 

Tricep reaches

Tricep burner incoming! Hold the extended position and take micro bends and stretches. 

Double Tap Snow Angel

Double tap the weights behind your back, circle both arms out and round until they tap overhead and return. Targeting you triceps, back and rear delts. 

Check out the below video for demos of each of the above exercises. 

Want to turn it into a workout?

  1. 30 secs
  2. 20 secs
  3. 20 secs
  4. 20 secs 
  5. 30 secs
  6. 30 secs
  7. 30 secs 
  8. 30 secs each side
  9. 60 secs
  10. 30 secs
  11. 30 secs

HOW TO USE BALA BANGLES

The Bala Bangles not only look good but are versatile too. You can wear them on your wrists or your ankles to enhance your workouts. They weigh 1lb each and add that extra spice to your arm or leg workout. 

You could try the whole sequence above with the bangles on your wrists or alternative try the following with them around your ankles. 

Leg Lift / Knee Lift

Set yourself up in all fours, one leg extended behind. While keeping your core engaged, avoiding any arching in the back, lift your leg by extending it away and squeezing your glute to lift, place it back down on the floor then lift your supporting knee off the floor firing up your core. This is a great combo as it works oppositional muscles (glutes and abdominals).

Hamstring Curl 

Keeping your leg lifted, curl your heel towards your sit bone while maintaining the height of your thigh bone. This isolates your hamstring, back of your thigh. 

Pulses

Hold your leg in that 90 degree angle and kick your heel up towards the ceiling for that extra glute burn!

Side Kneeling Glutes

Resting on your hand and knee, body horizontal, lift and lower your leg gradually bringing it forward and back. This is great for targeting the glute med (top of your butt check) a muscle that often gets neglected but one that is crucial for pelvic stability. Especially useful exercise for runners. 

Point & Flex

Burn pt. 1. Hold the leg up and pulse it up and down by 2 inches as you point and flex your foot. 

Circles

Burn pt. 2 keeping the toe pointed circle the leg around while maintaining the total stillness in the torso.

Check out the below video for demos of each of the above exercises. 

Want to turn it into a workout?

  1. 45 secs
  2. 45 secs
  3. 30 secs
  4. 45 secs
  5. 30 secs
  6. 30 secs

HOW TO USE BALA SLIDERS

Bala Sliders are one of the best home additions to a workout routine if you want to enhance the engagement of your core in everything you do. You can do almost any exercise on them, they are extremely versatile. They provide an unstable surface meaning you recruit a lot more muscles through every single movement. 

If you are a reformer pilates fan they are also a good home substitute if you don’t have the reformer bed and you can replicate many of the exercises. 

Here are just a few, of many, exercises you can do on sliders.

Lateral Scooter / Reverse Lunge

Standing toes on heels off. Your heels want to be in contact with the floor as they are like your ‘breaks’. Slide your right leg out as you reach down towards your left foot rotating the torso. Bring it back in to then slide the right leg back beg=hind you into a reverse lunge getting a dynamic stretch to the hip flexor, working all the muscles in your legs and challenging your core stability. 

Scooter

Burner pt.1 Hinge the body forward with the standing leg bent, the more the standing leg bends and hips hinge back, the more work you will get to the glutes. Slide the leg out and in. 

Lateral Scooter with Twist

Burner pt.2 Repeat exactly the same thing but this time the leg slides in and out to the side while the opposite hand reaches for the opposite foot. 

Plank slide

Hands over wrists, start in a plank position with toes on the sliders. Slowly draw the knees underneath you maintaining a neutral spine, the lengthen them away. The slower you go with this exercise the more you’ll get out of it. Targeting all the deep core muscles. 

Plank Pike

This exercise is a progression of 4. If you have tight hamstrings, this may prove challenging and number 4 may allow you to feel the core more than this variation. If you live in a more open body and your hamstrings are fairly flexible, you simply draw the feet in again but this time pike your hips up to the ceiling keeping straight legs. 

Dancer

One of my favourites as you just get to flow through each movement with a great sense of freedom. From all fours, slide one leg through the gap. It not only engages all the deep core muscles but also the obliques. 

Check out the below video for demos of each of the above exercises. 

Want to turn it into a workout?

  1. 60 secs
  2. 30 secs
  3. 30 secs

Repeat other side

  1. 45 secs
  2. 45 secs 
  3. 45 secs 

CONCLUSION

Looking to introduce some Bala kit into your fitness routine? We've done the heavy lifting for you with this full guide to Bala. Now you just need to decide which workout to start with. For a full body session team all of these mini sessions together with your full Bala set for a fiery session.