(Last Updated On: April 10, 2019)
Who wouldn’t enjoy having flatter, more defined abs? Well, they’re not always easy to get. It takes work, consistency, the right types of exercise, and a laser-like focus on nutrition. Still, that doesn’t mean that better-looking abs are out of your reach. It just takes a bit of work, but the results will be well worth it. So, let’s see what you can do to get them and the best way to do abdominal crunches and other ab exercises.
- The Muscles That Make Up Your Abs
- Balance is Important
- Are Abdominal Crunches on an Unstable Surface More Effective?
- Other Alternatives
- The Bottom Line
- 5 Stability Ball Exercises to Target Your Core
- How it works
- 1. Crunches
- Simple stretches to wake up your body
- 2. Plank steps
- 3. V-sit ups
- 4. Roll outs
- 5. Heel touches
- The 9 Best Stability Ball Exercises for Core Training (Not for the Faint of Heart)
- The 9 Best Stability Ball Exercises for Core Training
- 1. Stability Ball Grasshopper
- 2. Stability Ball Push-Ups
- 3. Stability Ball Straight Leg Deadbug
- 4. Stability Ball Supine Leg Twists
- 5. Stability Ball Hamstring Roll-Ins
- 6. Stability Ball Prone Twists
- 7. Stability Ball Circle Planks
- 8. Stability Ball Lateral Crab Walks
- 9. Stability Ball Knee Tuck Push-Ups
- Give This Stability Ball Workout a Go
The Muscles That Make Up Your Abs
Your abdominal musculature is composed of three main muscle groups. The one that most ab exercises target is the rectus abdominis, a superficial pair of muscles that run vertically from the sternum to the pubic bone. These are the muscles that, when they’re hypertrophied, give you a six-pack. Deep under to the rectus abdominis lies the transverse abdominis muscles. These muscles are less effectively targeted with traditional ab exercises, like crunches. The fibers of the transverse abdominis, also known as the TVA, run horizontally and it’s the deepest abdominal muscle. It’s sometimes called the girdle muscle as it helps to pull your tummy in. We like those kinds of muscles, right?
Finally, there are the external obliques and internal obliques. The external oblique is the most superficial muscle on the side of the abdominal region and the internal oblique lies beneath it. These muscle fibers run diagonally and allow you to rotate your trunk. The internal oblique also helps stabilize the spine.
Balance is Important
For balanced abdominal development, you don’t want to neglect any of these muscles. For most people, the go-to exercise they do for a six-pack is crunches and they frequently do this old standby in a flat position on a yoga mat. But, there’s another approach, why not do them while you’re lying on a stability ball? Stability balls are a popular and relatively inexpensive piece of exercise equipment and they’re versatile. In fact, some people use them as an alternative to a chair at the office so that they work their stabilizer muscles while they sit.
However, it’s also become popular to do abdominal exercises, like crunches, while lying on a stability ball. The idea is that being an uneven surface, a stability ball forces the stabilizer muscles in your core to activate to help you stay stable on the ball. Are your abs really getting more of a workout when you do crunches on a stability ball?
Are Abdominal Crunches on an Unstable Surface More Effective?
Because of the unstable surface, a stability ball offers, you might think crunching on a ball activates the ab muscles to a greater degree. One study found that doing this exercise on a stability ball boosted activation of the abdominal muscles by between 24 to 38% based on EMG readings. EMG is a method that uses electrodes placed on the muscle to record muscle activation. All of the major ab muscles were activated, including the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and the obliques. But, crunching on a stability ball also brings smaller muscles that stabilize the spine into action. So, it’s a more diverse workout for the core.
In another study sponsored by the American Council on Exercise, researchers from the University of Wisconsin and LaCrosse asked 16 healthy, young men and women to perform a variety of abdominal exercises while they measured muscle activation using EMG. The exercises the participants performed included decline bench curl-ups, captain’s chair crunch, bicycle crunch, yoga boat pose, front plank, and side plank. They also included exercises that used specialized equipment including stability ball crunches, ab circle pro, ab lounge, ab roller, ab rocket, ab coaster, ab wheel, ab straps, and perfect sit-up. The goal was to see if these exercises stimulate the abdominal muscles better than traditional crunches.
What they found was doing a traditional crunch using good form is about as effective as any of the exercises they tested. Some of the exercises using ab devices such as the ab wheel and ab circle pro activated the rectus abdominis muscle to a lesser degree than a traditional crunch. Another example, front, and side planks didn’t activate the rectus abdominis as much as a traditional crunch. Crunches on a stability ball were as effective as traditional crunches but not significantly better at targeting the rectus abdominis. For the external obliques, crunches on a stability ball DID activate these muscles more. It makes sense since you have to twist a bit more when you’re lying on an unstable surface relative to when you’re lying flat.
What about the deep, transverse abdominus, the so-called girdle muscle? The ACE study didn’t look at activation of the transverse abdominis but another 2016 study did. It found that athletes who performed abdominal crunches on a stability ball, as opposed to a mat, activated their transverse abs more and developed greater core stability relative to the mat group. So, doing crunches on a stability ball may give your abs a more balanced workout by hitting more muscles that make up the core.
If you have a stability ball, look beyond abdominal crunches. A study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy found that the abdominal roll-out and abdominal pike exercise on a ball were most effective of the exercises they tested for activating the muscles in the core. These are two to consider adding to your ab routine if you use a stability ball. Another variation is the knee tuck using a ball. Adding these exercises is a good way to diversify your ab workout.
The Bottom Line
You’ll hit your transverse abdominis and external obliques a little harder if you do abdominal crunches on a stability ball. You’ll also recruit more stabilizing muscles. No need to give up traditional abdominal crunches, but adding stability ball crunches works the muscles in your abs and core a slightly different way. If you have a stability ball, put it to work, and don’t just do crunches, try other ab-oriented exercises like knee tucks, pikes, and roll-outs. Your abs will thank you.
Gaiam.com. “How to Do Ab Crunches on a Balance Ball for 40% Better Results”
Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 2010 Volume:40 Issue:5 Pages:265–276.
American Council on Exercise. “Abs! Abs! Abs!”
J Clin Diagn Res. 2016 Dec; 10(12): YC01–YC03.
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When was the last time you used a stability ball at the gym? Sure, shiny new gadgets and machinery might look fun, but some machines can be more trouble than they’re worth. (We’re looking at you, seated crunch machine!)
The 90s called, and reminded us that humble stability ball exercises are actually an incredibly effective way to sculpt your way to a stronger core. Research shows that by performing basic moves like crunches on an unstable surface, you’ll increase muscle activity when compared to standard crunches. Talk about more bang for your buck!
RELATED: 50 Ab Exercises to Score a Stronger Core
But there’s plenty more where that came from — the Swiss ball is incredibly versatile. From planks to squats to glute bridges performed on the ball, you can work your midsection while challenging other important muscle groups.
Before going balls-to-the-wall, though, you’ll want to pick out the right size for you, says former Daily Burn coach Angela Rubin, ISSA personal trainer and USAT Level 1 triathlon coach. Your legs should make a 90-degree angle when you sit on the ball with your feet flat on the ground. (So, go bigger or smaller as necessary.)
RELATED: 5 Planks, 10 Minutes: Your Ultimate Ab Workout
5 Stability Ball Exercises to Target Your Core
It’s no bouncy castle, but we guarantee you’ll come around to these five core-focused stability ball exercises from Rubin. Warm up your body with a minute of jumping jacks or jogging in place, then follow the GIFs below for a low-impact, beginner-friendly workout that will still challenge you in all the right ways.
1. Stability Ball Crunches
How does the ball up the ante on the old standard? Doing a controlled crunch on this unstable surface boosts activation of the abdominals more than regular crunches, says Rubin.
How to: Sit on the stability ball and walk your feet forward so your shoulders, neck and thighs are parallel to the floor. With your neck relaxed, place your hands behind your head (a). Engage your core and lift your shoulder blades off the ball, pausing once your body reaches a 45-degree angle. Keep your gaze towards the sky or ceiling so you don’t put too much pressure on your neck (b). Pause, then gently lower your upper body back down. This movement isn’t about speed so the slower, the better (c). Repeat 10 times.
RELATED: Ab Challenge: 5 Planks to Sculpt Your Core
2. Stability Ball Y-T Extensions
Tone your shoulders and core in one fell swoop by taking a cue from the alphabet and making a Y and T with your arms. By performing this move on a stability ball, you’ll work on range of motion more so than if you performed these laying on the floor, says Rubin.
How to: Lay your chest on a stability ball, with your legs extended straight behind you. Tuck your toes under your feet. Your body should be in a plank position and your head, a neutral position (a). Keep your core, glutes and back engaged, and have your arms hanging down from your shoulders but not touching the ground or the ball. Now raise your arms up and extend straight overhead, so your body makes a “Y.” Lower your arms (b). Next, raise your arms so they are extending straight out from your sides, so your body makes a “T.” Lower your arms (c). Repeat each letter 10 times.
3. Stability Ball Roll-Outs
Using an exercise ball for roll-outs can help engage smaller core muscles than traditional forms of exercise, says Rubin. Plus, we’d be lying if we said this wasn’t super challenging for those hamstrings, too.
How to: Start by kneeling on the ground with your toes tucked underneath your feet. The stability ball should be in front of you. Place your forearms on the ball so your arm makes a 90-degree angle (a). Push off from your toes and roll yourself forward, so you balanced on the ball in a plank position. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your heels (b). Hold for one second, then bend your knees and slowly roll back to the original position (c). Repeat 10 times.
RELATED: Quick Lower Ab Exercises for a Stronger Core
4. Stability Ball Glute Bridges
With your lower back balanced on the ball, you’ll need a stable core to perform this move, says Rubin. It packs a one-two punch by targeting your glutes and your core.
How to: Sit on the stability ball with your feet flat on the floor. Walk your feet forward and roll your back onto the ball so your shoulders and upper back are supported by the ball (a). Squeeze and lift your glutes off the floor. Your shoulders and back should still be resting on the ball while you hold for two seconds (b). Drop your hips to the floor, then squeeze and lift your glutes again (c). Repeat 10 times.
5. Stability Ball Squats
Drop it like a squat and you’ll work your quads, glutes and core. Rubin says that using the stability ball can help maintain proper form while also supporting your lower back.
How to: Stand with a stability ball in between a wall and your lower back. You should be facing away from the wall, standing tall with your shoulder blades pulled back. Lean against the ball and make sure your weight is in your heels (a). With your hands placed on your hips, slowly lower into a squat position until your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle and thighs are parallel to the ground (b). Next, squeeze your glutes, and engage your quads, hamstrings and core as you drive through your heels to standing (c). Repeat 10 times.
Want more beginner-friendly workouts? Try True Beginner free by heading to DailyBurn.com/truebeginner.
Note to reader: The content in this article relates to the core service offered by DailyBurn. In the interest of editorial disclosure and integrity, the reader should know that this site is owned and operated by DailyBurn.
Originally published August 2015. Updated October 2017.
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Using the Swiss ball will give you some distinct advantages over other pieces of equipment or bodyweight alone. It can extend the range of motion when you do a crunch, activating more muscles in your abs. It can also create instability, which forces your abs to contract harder to brace your body, and even serve as a source of resistance itself—like a weight—if you lift it. Trust us, it’s heavy enough to make an impact.
How it works
The ball will act as a surface, a weight, and an exercise machine in this workout, recruiting the abs, obliques, and transverse abdominis—a deep core muscle that’s critical to a strong midsection and pain-free back—which most conventional abs workouts leave untouched.
Perform the paired exercises (marked “A” and “B”) as supersets. So you’ll do one set of A, and then B before resting. Complete all the prescribed sets for the pair before moving on.
Rest: 90 sec.
Rest your forearms on the Swiss ball and extend your legs behind you. Brace your abs and roll the ball forward as you extend your arms and hips. When you feel you’re about to lose tension in your abs, roll yourself back.
2A. Elbow circle
Reps: 5 (each way)
Rest: 0 sec.
Get into pushup position, resting your forearms on the ball. Brace your abs and move your elbows in a circular pattern, rolling the ball beneath them. Complete five circles in a clockwise motion, and then repeat counterclockwise.
Reps: As many as possible
Rest: 90 sec.
Lie back on the ball with feet shoulder-width apart on the floor. Your lower back should be supported by the ball. Place your hands behind your ears and tuck your chin. Curl your body up off the ball until you’re sitting up.
3A. V-up and Pass
Rest: 0 sec.
Lie on your back on the floor, and hold the ball between your ankles. Extend your arms behind your head. Sit up while raising your legs simultaneously, and pass the ball from your legs to your hands. Go back down to the floor and repeat, passing the ball from your hands to your legs. Each pass is one rep.
3B. Legs on ball crunch
Reps: As many as possible
Rest: 90 sec.
Lie back on the floor, and drape your legs over the ball with hips and knees bent. Crunch your torso up to meet your legs.
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The stability ball is a great tool to incorporate in your exercises, especially when it comes to core work. Adding the stability factor causes your core to contract even more while exercising, making you stronger and your waistline slimmer.
Follow these quick exercises to challenge your core and work on building better stability.
Start by resting your lower back on the stability ball. Placing your hands behind your head, crunch with your nose pointed toward the ceiling. It’s important to remember to keep your glutes firmly squeezed while performing this exercise. Repeat this motion until your abdominal wall becomes fatigued.
Simple stretches to wake up your body
Nov. 8, 201601:23
2. Plank steps
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This movement is similar to a mountain climber. By placing yourself in a plank position on top of the stability ball, you are forcing your core to stabilize your body weight. One at a time, step one foot up toward the ball keeping your hips parallel with the ground and your core engaged. Be sure not to swivel your hips or shrug your shoulders as you take these steps.
RELATED: 5-minute foam rolling routine to stretch your body
3. V-sit ups
Similar to a regular v-sit up, you are going to start laying on your back with the stability ball in between your feet. As you bring the ball up with your feet, you are going to simultaneously crunch with your hands up to reach for the ball. Transfer the ball from your feet to your hands and lower both at the same time. Repeat this motion by continuously transferring the ball from your feet to your hands.
RELATED: 5 easy exercises to sculpt your legs
4. Roll outs
Start off on your knees and place your hands on the ball in front of you. Slowly push the ball away from your body, keeping your knees in the same position. Roll the ball out as far as you can, keeping your core engaged and your chest toward the ground. Then roll it back and repeat. Be careful not to sag your hips during this exercise.
5. Heel touches
This exercise is similar to what is formerly called “suitcases.” Start by placing the ball between your feet. Balance on your tailbone and lean back at a 45-degree angle. As you bend your knees, bring the ball as close to your chest as possible, reaching down to touch your heels with both hands.
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Continue this in and out motion and remember to keep your chest up. To get the most out of this workout, repeat at least 20 reps of each exercise. Once all five are complete, repeat the circuit three to four times for a true belly-fat burn.
Chrysten Crockett was chosen as one of TODAY’s Social Stars. Follow her on Instagram or Facebook and check out her website. For daily health and wellness tips, sign up for our One Small Thing newsletter.
The 9 Best Stability Ball Exercises for Core Training (Not for the Faint of Heart)
by: Yuri Elkaim
If you’re on the hunt for the best stability ball exercises for core training then look no further.
In this post, I’m going to give you the best of the best.
No more of those basic “sit on the ball and do biceps curls” or old school stability ball crunches.
This is the real deal and only meant for those who enjoy challenging themselves and are serious about getting in great shape and using great stability ball exercises for core training breakthroughs.
In all honesty, I could create a list of 100 stability ball core exercises for you to do, but that would simply waste your time. And speaking of a waste of time…
The 9 exercises you’re about to discover kill multiple birds with one stone, strengthen your entire body within single movements, and challenge your stability and core strength.
Ready to dive in?
Let’s do it!
The 9 Best Stability Ball Exercises for Core Training
#1. For each of these core exercises, aim for 10 reps (or 5 on each side where applicable) in a controlled fashion.
#2. For added strength benefit (and where applicable) move your body very slowly on the eccentric (negative) phase of the exercise for a 5-6 second count. In most cases, this is where you lower yourself back to the floor or ball against gravity.
This eccentric focus allows you to make a basic bodyweight core exercise much more demanding and require a greater activation of your type 2 muscle fibers – all good for building strength and burning fat with bodyweight exercises.
#3. Remember, your “core” is defined as any muscle crossing your shoulder or hip joints. Thus, a lot of muscle makes up your core and so that’s why you’ll see leg exercises as well as upper body push-up exercises in this list, too.
Ok, now we’re ready…
1. Stability Ball Grasshopper
This is a wicked full body stability and core exercise.
How to do it:
To get the most benefit from this exercise, ensure your body is in a straight line from head to toes, your hips are square (parallel to the floor), and that your abs are tucked in and braced.
Your hips should not sink at all during the movement, especially as you return to full length from the knees-in position.
Another key point is to ensure that your shoulders are over top of your hands at all times so that your body does not rock back and forth, in which the benefit of this stability ball exercise is mostly lost.
If you have sensitive wrists, use a pair of dumbbells as your base for your hands and this will keep your wrists in a more neutral position and lessen their load.
2. Stability Ball Push-Ups
I love doing this push-up variation before any type of chest or pushing-type workout because the unstable ball really gets a lot of neglected muscle fibers firing.
You should know that this is a CHALLENGING exercise, so if you’re not comfortable doing it, then please don’t.
Keep your hands to the side of the ball so that you wrists are more neutral and lower very slowly toward the ball to make this a good challenge.
Just before your torso touches the ball, explosively (yet in controlled fashion) push back to the top.
3. Stability Ball Straight Leg Deadbug
This is one of my favorite stability ball exercises for core development because it’s so deceiving.
By that I mean, it looks easier than it is.
To get the most benefit from this exercise make sure your legs and arms are pressed into the ball at all times.
Even when you extend one arm and leg to just above the floor, the leg and arm still holding the ball should be pushing into the ball.
This guarantees that more of your muscles are activated and that you’re not just going through the motions.
4. Stability Ball Supine Leg Twists
Somewhat similar to the above exercise, this stability ball ab exercise uses only your legs while your torso and arms are braced against the floor.
Place your arms out to the side or under the small of your back if more support is needed there.
Start with your legs perpendicular to the floor and on either side of the ball.
Then twist your legs so that your right leg is at the front of the ball (facing you), while your left leg is on the opposite side (facing away from you).
Pause at the end of each twist, then twist again so legs are reversed.
5. Stability Ball Hamstring Roll-Ins
This is an amazing exercise for the back of your legs. If you want to firm up those jiggly hamstrings, then do this exercise.
The key is to keep your hips elevated the entire time so that your body is in one straight diagonal line from your feet to your head.
Dig your heels into the ball as your drag the ball back toward your bum. Squeeze the hamstrings, then return SLOWLY to legs fully extended (remember to keep your hips up).
To make this more challenging, give yourself a hug so that your arms are not supporting your bodyweight on the floor.
6. Stability Ball Prone Twists
This stability exercise is like a plank on steroids as it challenges all of your core muscles, including your obliques and groins.
Start with your hands on the floor, shoulders over top your hands, abs braced, body in a straight line, and feet on either side of the ball, which forces your groins to activate to prevent your legs from slipping off. This alone is a huge benefit.
Next, slowly twist your hips to the right so your foot grazes the floor.
Use your obliques to pull your hips back square and then over to the other side.
Remember to keep your hips elevated at shoulder height the entire time.
7. Stability Ball Circle Planks
If you’ve done any amount of core training, then the basic plank is probably pretty easy for you.
This one will challenge you nicely, especially if you use a small ball so that you’re lower to the floor, which makes this type of ball exercise more demanding.
Most people get this exercise wrong by digging their elbows into the floor which is a CHEAT and negates a lot of the benefits of doing it properly.
Here, I’d like you to dig your forearms and especially your wrists into the ball. This alone will increase your core activation 10-fold.
Draw in and brace your abs, keep your hips up, and glutes and quads contracted.
Then, simply move the ball around in a small circular motion moving only your arms. Your entire body should remain still like cemented concrete.
As you move the ball through that circular motion you’ll feel different muscles in your core activate at different points of the movement. To make it more challenging, draw a bigger circle. But remember to keep your body as solid and still as possible.
8. Stability Ball Lateral Crab Walks
I discovered this exercise back in the day when I was working with some NHL athletes.
It’s a terrific stability ball exercise for strengthening your glutes and low back (which are very important components of a healthy core).
The ball should be under your head and shoulders and feel like a pillow, while your arms are outstretched to the side and fully engaged/contracted.
As with all of these stability ball exercises the key with this one is to ensure that your hips are up and your body is in a straight line from your knees to your shoulders.
Enter your glutes, which in their contraction extend (or push) your hips up.
As you move laterally a few inches to the left, you’ll instantly feel your right glute contract big time.
You’ll also notice the left side of your lower back fire up as well, which reminds us of the intricate contralateral (cross) connection between our glutes and low back.
NOTE: You can feel the same activation pattern when standing on one leg. If standing on your right leg, your right glute will fire as will the left side of your back. And vice versa.
To make this exercise even more challenging, once you’ve reached your balance limit to either side of the ball, lift the opposite leg off the floor. Boom! Feel the difference that makes.
9. Stability Ball Knee Tuck Push-Ups
In my humble opinion, this is the most challenging push-up because it significantly challenges your core, upper chest, shoulders, and triceps more than any other push-up variations.
I would recommend holding onto dumbbells at the floor to keep your wrists more neutral especially as you lower into the push-up.
It’s a pretty easy movement, as you lower down, draw your knees in towards your wrists. This will naturally roll the ball in as well.
But the real test begins when you push yourself out of this “tucked” position. Give it a shot and see for yourself.
Give This Stability Ball Workout a Go
Before we wrap, let’s bring all 9 of the stability ball exercises for core training together into a nice little workout routine.
Here, we’ll do a 9-exercise circuit with little to no rest between exercises, which will make this more of a metabolic and fat burning workout, without the need for cardio.
Try it and you’ll see what I mean.
Perform 10 reps at each exercise (5 on each side where applicable). No rest between exercises, 1 minute rest between sets. Complete 2 sets.
Warm-up: 5 minutes of light cardio followed by good dynamic warm-up.
1. Stability Ball Grasshopper
2. Stability Ball Straight Leg Deadbug
3. Stability Ball Push-Ups
4. Stability Ball Supine Leg Twists
5. Stability Ball Hamstring Roll-Ins
6. Stability Ball Prone Twists
7. Stability Ball Lateral Crab Walks
8. Stability Ball Circle Planks
9. Stability Ball Knee Tuck Push-Ups
There you go. Give this workout a shot and enjoy the core sculpting benefits.
Enjoy This Article?
Did you enjoy this article on the 9 Best Stability Ball Exercises? If so and you want to take your abs and core to the next level, then I’d invite you to download my FREE report called the Flat Stomach Secret. It’s packed with 7 unknown ways to lose belly fat and get amazing abs.
Yuri Elkaim is one of the world’s most trusted health and fitness experts. A former pro soccer player turned NYT bestselling author of The All-Day Energy Diet and The All-Day Fat Burning Diet, his clear, science-backed advice has transformed the lives of more than 500,000 men and women and he’s on a mission to help 100 million people by 2040. Read his inspiring story, “From Soccer to Bed to No Hair on My Head” that started it all.
This challenging abs workout video falls just under 13 minutes in length and uses only an exercise ball or physioball. There are six different exercises, and you will be doing between 10 – 14 repetitions of each, and a total of two rounds through the entire routine.
This workout challenges muscles more than a regular abdominal routine because of the extra demand on the core muscles necessary to stabilize on the exercise ball.
A lot of the exercises in this abs video are really very challenging and should only be attempted by individuals who have a good amount of baseline strength (particularly in the core) and who are familiar with the unsteadiness of a physioball.
We estimate that this routine burns 85-122 calories.
About each of the exercises:
Physioball Pike – This requires both strength & flexibility, so don’t attempt this one if you are new to working out. This exercise ends up being a great total body exercise as all of the muscle groups have to pull together to complete the motion.
Ball Crunch – The basic crunch with a twist; the upward squeeze of the lower body in conjunction with the crunch helps to engage the lower abdominals, as well as the upper motion.
Ab Rollouts – The difficulty of this move can be manipulated by adjusting the placement of your upper body on the physioball. For example, if you want to make it harder, set the ball closer to your wrists; to make it easier, place it closer to the elbows (while in the starting position, before you begin to rollout). Make sure to keep a straight line in your back throughout this exercise.
Jackknife Crunch – This is the same motion of the traditional Jackknife Crunch, except for that you are passing the ball back and forth between hands and feet. If this is too difficult, you can do the motion without the ball. With the ball, this ends up being a good exercise for the inner thighs, as well.
Plank Rotation Kicks – This one targets the entire core, and also engages the thighs to complete the rotating kicks.
Hyperextension Crunch – A basic crunch with additional range of motion, it can be helpful to have something to place on your feet as an anchor while you complete this move. Focus on really squeezing at the top of the motion and never really letting your muscles relax until you are finished with all of the repetitions.
If you don’t have an exercise ball it is definitely something that you should consider adding to your home gym equipment. It is extremely versatile and can facilitate a large variety of exercises – for far more than just the abdominals. It allows for an increased range of motion, can be used to strengthen just about any muscle group, and is great for different back stretches, as well. Check out Fitness Blender’s Store in order to find a few physioball brands that we have found to be reliable & of high quality.
A toned, defined stomach is often at the top of the list of most people’s fitness wish list, however, it is frequently one of the hardest goals to reach.
A large part of the reason why people often fall short of their “six pack abs” aspirations is that they don’t realize how important a healthy diet is to reaching that end goal.
If you want defined abs, you’ve got to lower your body fat percentage through ample cardio, strength training, and clean eating. That means fresh, non-processed foods make up the bulk of your diet. Check out Fitness Blender’s recipes for ideas on clean eating recipes.
Stability balls are a great, cheap piece of exercise equipment that can be used to help improve everything from ROM to strength. Stability ball exercises can easily be completed anywhere including home, gyms, and in physical therapy sessions. My favorite way to use a stability ball is to help build core strength. Here are my 5 favorite core strengthening exercises using a stability ball:
1. Prone roll outs. Begin by kneeling on the ground with the stability ball in front of you. Place forearms on ball with elbows bent. Activate your transverse abdominis (TA) by gently pulling your belly button into the spine. Keep shoulders relaxed roll forward slow and controlled. Return to starting position.
2. Prone walkout. Lay on your stomach on the stability ball. Tighten your TA. Keep your feet together and shoulders relaxed. Slow walk your hands forward, until the ball reaches your knees. Slowly and with control return to the starting position.
3. Supine Walkout. Start by sitting on the stability ball. Activate TA by pulling belly button into the spine. Cross arms in front of your chest. Slowly walk your feet forward until the ball reaches your shoulder blade area. Slowly and with control return to starting position.
4. Bridges. Place your feet/calves on ball while laying on your back. Activate TA and contract your glute muscles. Lift hips off of the ground, making sure to lift hips evenly. Hold for 3-5 seconds and return to starting position.
5. Bird dogs. Lay on your stomach on the stability ball. Keep your hands and feet on the ground. Activate your
TA. Lift opposite arm and leg a couple of inches off of the ground. Hold for 3-5 seconds. Make sure to keep hips level so you don’t roll off the ball. Repeat with other arm and leg.
I hope these exercises help you start a stability ball core strengthening program! What are your favorite stability ball
exercises? Let us know in the comments below! Happy strengthening!
Rebecca Varoga, PT, DPT
Physical Therapy Consultants, Inc.
PTC_therapy April 4th, 2018
Posted In: General