Exercise balls are such a simple piece of equipment, but if used correctly, can be an awesome tool to develop strong, sexy abs. You may have heard of or seen standard exercise ball crunches, but there is much more you can do with this piece of equipment.
If you're looking for some new ways to use your exercise ball or simply want some new ab exercises to try, this article is for you. Having stronger abs will protect your spine and make you better at lifting weights, running, jumping, and just about any activity you can think of. Here are four exercises that will challenge you by forcing you to squeeze your abs and stabilize your core while moving your arms and legs:
1. Exercise Ball Dead Bug
This exercise is deceptively challenging.
HOW TO DO IT: Get into the dead bug position by first lying down on the floor on your back with the exercise ball by your side. Reach your arms straight up towards the ceiling so that your elbows are straight. Raise your legs and bend your knees so that your thighs are pointing straight up and your shins are parallel to the floor.
Grab the exercise ball and hold it between your arms and knees. Don't let your elbows bend. Now squeeze the ball with your knees and arms, like you are trying to pop the ball. You should feel your abs start to work already.
Reach your right arm back towards the floor and at the same time reach your left leg straight out and down towards the floor. While you reach out your arm and leg, keep squeezing the ball with your left arm and right leg. Now bring your right arm and left leg back to the ball, squeeze it, and reach out your left arm and right leg.
If you don't feel this exercise, make sure that your lower back is pressed into the ground firmly.
2. Kneeling Exercise Ball Roll Out
HOW TO DO IT: Kneel down in front of your exercise ball. With both of your knees on the ground, make yourself tall. Put the exercise ball in front of you, then make a straight line from your head down to your knees. You should be reaching straight forward with your elbows locked out.
Lean forwards while rolling the ball forwards with your hands. Keep going until your arms are straight overhead. To get back up, push your arms down into the ball and roll it backwards.
Make sure that you maintain a straight line from your knees to your head the entire time. There is a natural tendency to stick your butt back as you roll the ball backwards, so try to keep your butt forward the entire time.
To make this exercise harder, start from a plank position with your forearms on the exercise ball, feet on the ground, and knees straight. Then roll the ball forwards and backwards with your forearms.
3. Exercise Ball Twist
HOW TO DO IT: Start in a seated position on the floor, holding the exercise ball in your lap. Pick your feet up so that your legs are in the air with your knees slightly bent, similar to a yoga boat pose.
Slowly twist to your left and lightly touch the exercise ball on the floor at the left side of your body. Now slowly pick the ball up and twist to your right. Lightly tap the floor on the right side of your body. Continue slowly rotating to each side and touching the floor with the ball, without letting your feet hit the ground.
To make this exercise harder, substitute the exercise ball for a dumbbell or weighted medicine ball.
4. Stir The Pot
HOW TO DO IT: Start in a plank position with your forearms on top of the exercise ball and feet on the ground. Squeeze your glutes to make sure that your hips aren't too high in the air.
With your forearms, make five small circles clockwise, then five circles counter-clockwise. Maintain a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles the entire time. Only your arms move, the rest of your body should be completely still. You should feel everything working, from the muscles around your ribs all the way down to the muscles in your hips.
To make this exercise harder, simply make bigger circles with your arms.