Looking for new ways to strengthen your core and build those six-pack abs that you dreamt for? Well, you have landed on the right destination, for we have an extremely fun way to build up your core and strengthen the muscles; even more interesting than lifting those heavyweights.
So, have you ever tried an exercise ball for abs? You might have tried it for strengthening the muscles of your hands or glutes, but it sounds fun when using it for strengthening your core, isn’t it?
A study done on it in 2014, revealed that doing just a 20-minute workout with a help of an exercise ball five times a week has proven to increase the strength of the core, back, and glutes.
In addition to this, an exercise ball is a perfect savior for people who are suffering from low back pain, especially when they are doing core exercises. This is because when you use an exercise ball aka stability ball, you put less weight on your back muscles and focus more on the muscles that you want to work on.
How to use an exercise ball for ab:
The exercise ball is also known as a yoga ball, a stability ball, a fitness ball, or a Swiss ball. The key to getting the maximum benefits out of this exercise is to find the right size of the ball based on your height.
Now, if you have been hitting the gym regularly or if you are a fitness enthusiast, you will know that while doing any kind of core exercise, sucking in the belly is no way to do it. You have to tighten your core muscles and brace your core. In doing so, you are building strength in your pelvis, back, and abdominal muscles. Thus, building your six-pack muscles.
Here are some of the basic ab exercises which can be done with the help of a stability ball.
6 Ways to use an exercise ball for abs:
- Let’s crunch it up!
Crunches are the most basic kind of exercises that anybody can do on the floor. When it comes to practicing it with an exercise ball, it becomes a bit of a balancing issue, but slowly you will get the hang of it if you start slow.
So, lie on the ball with your lower back touching it, with your face staring at the ceiling. Now, remember to keep the feet on the floor. They should be hip-width apart and your hands should be behind your ears.
As mentioned earlier, brace your core, tighten your muscles and slowly raise your head upwards, raise your shoulder off the ball and tuck your chin to your chest. Once you do that, then slowly and gradually return to rest.
- Oblique crunches with exercise ball:
Similar to the above-mentioned exercise, start by facing the ceiling and touching your lower back to the ball. Tighten your core muscles, pull in your belly towards the spine, and tighten your glutes.
Once you do this, then slowly raise your head, lift your shoulder blades and raise your upper body with the help of your core towards the right side. Then, slowly come back to rest and prepare this drill towards the left. This is one rep of the exercise.
- Tuck in the stability ball:
Now, this exercise is a little bit complicated because it requires a bit more balancing than other exercises. So, in this one, you begin with a high plank, but make sure that your wrists are under your shoulders. Now, with your core engaged and the top of your feet resting on the ball, slowly use your core muscles to pull the knees towards the chest, and roll the ball toward you.
Once you do that, stay in that position for 30 to 60 seconds and then gradually return to rest.
- Pike It Up With The Exercise Ball:
This exercise is similar to the above-mentioned exercise, but it is a bit more difficult than the previous one. Start with the high plank as you did in the previous exercise. Remember, to engage your ab muscles, tighten your glutes and use your core muscles to pull the feet towards you.
However, this time you will do a pike, that is you will raise your hips towards the ceiling and use your core muscles for balancing with the stability ball. Then, you can use the push the ball and lower your hips and come back to the rest position.
- Thrust your hips with the stability ball:
To do this move, lie face-up on the floor, that is, your face should be staring at the ceiling with your legs straight. The heels of your leg should be resting on the ball and your hips should be lifted off the floor. Your arms should be resting on the sides of the ball.
Now, you know the drill before getting into any exercise. Engage your core, tighten your glutes and then pull the ball towards you. However, when you pull the ball towards you your hips should not touch the floor. They should be thrust towards the ceiling.
While doing this exercise, you will squeeze your glutes, your hamstrings while still keeping your ab muscles tight. Then, return to rest.
- Pass the ball from your hands to feet:
This is one of the best ways to use an exercise ball for abs, which are surely going to make you feel the burn in the lower abdomen. To do this exercise, lie faceup on the flower with your legs extended and your arms should be stretched overhead carrying the ball.
Now, crunch your legs and arms together, while maintaining the core muscles and glutes tight. As your arms and legs are lifted, pass the ball from your hands to your feet. When you do that, you are also using and squeezing your thighs. So, this is a great exercise for your thighs as well.
Now, with the ball between your feet, lower your legs and stretch your hands overhead. You can repeat this drill by crunching up again and passing the balls from your feet to your hands.
These are some of the best ways to use an exercise ball for abs. You can pick any of these exercises and add them to strengthen your cardio or strengthening workout. You can do 3 to 4 sets with 10 reps to see quick results.