The stability ball is a highly versatile piece of exercise equipment that provides many ways to improve your strength, balance, flexibility, and coordination. Compared to working on a flat surface, your body will respond to the instability of the ball resulting in more controlled balance and more engaged muscles. These muscles will become stronger over time due to maintaining the balance while on the ball. Usually the most used muscles are the abdominal and the back muscles while on the ball – and you will notice results much faster than you would with traditional crunches on the floor. There are many different abdominal exercises to work on, but the most predominant ones are:
- Exercise ball ab crunches
- Stability ball hip flexion (knee tucks)
- Stability Ball Plank Holds
Exercise ab ball crunches:
Stabilize your body on the stability ball by finding the balance point for performing a crunch movement – your lower back will be on top of the ball. Then simple crunch your upper body up while keeping your fingers on the sides of you head, chin up, and feet planted on the floor. This is similar to a normal crunch except you will fight to keep yourself balanced. Try to hold the top of the crunch for two seconds, forcefully exhaling, and holding a tight contraction of the abdominal muscles. To make this move more advanced, you can move your arms straight out behind your head, or hold a medicine ball or weight ball behind your head while completing the crunch. This adds more resistance for a more effective crunch. Do one set of ten of this exercise.
Stability ball hip flexion:
Start with your arms in a push up position on the floor and your shins balanced on top of a stability ball. Tuck your knees under and roll the ball closer to your hands, effectively putting your rear in the air. Your back will hunch and your abs will contract if you are doing this properly. This is similar to what an ab wheel does, but far more safer and stable on the stability ball. Do one set of twelve.
Stability ball plank holds
Stability ball plank holds are very similar to planks, but the instability of the ball makes this much more challenging to your abs than standard floor planks. To do this, position yourself on your toes and with your forearms on top of the stability ball. This is dangerous if you have never tried this before because it takes a tremendous amount of balance. Hold the plank position while you make movements back and forth in every direction with your elbows to make this very challenging. Hold this for thirty to sixty seconds, while stronger people can try this for ninety seconds. Do this for one set of thirty to sixty seconds.
Stability balls are a great way to add variety to your workout routine, and it is very effective. Pair this with your regular cardio routine and you will have flat abs in no time at all.