Core Strength: 5 Epic Ab Exercises You Can Do with an Exercise Ball
There’s no skirting around the fact that most of us are looking for the “best” core moves so that we can work on revealing that coveted “six pack.”
But aside from the fact that achieving a slim, shredded stomach requires a strategic, total-body approach to fitness (aka, it takes a lot more than doing hundreds of reps of ab exercises every day), it’s also important to remember that building a strong core is essential not just to your overall fitness, but your health, too.
As the director of the Spine Biomechanics Laboratory at the University of Waterloo and author of Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance Dr. Stuart McGill puts it, “Every health system depends on movement, and every movement depends on core stability. Your bones, your digestive system, even your cardiovascular system.”
So, for several different reasons, building a strong core is definitely a good thing, and the stability ball is an excellent tool for doing so.
Ready to increase your abdominal strength? Use a stability ball at home or in the gym to incorporate the following five core moves into your regular workout routine.
-Stability Ball Moves for a Stronger Core-
1. Stability Ball Knee Tuck
Begin on all fours with the stability ball behind you and near your feet. Rise up into a high plank position and then slowly, one foot at a time, place each foot (face down) on top of the stability ball. (At this point you should be in the position pictured in the photo at the top of this page.) Once you feel stable, slowly begin to bend your knees, dragging the ball towards your torso. Tuck your knees forward until you can’t move them forward anymore and then slowly return to the starting position. Repeat for 10 to 20 reps.
2. Stability Ball V-Up
Begin lying flat on your back, legs extended fully with the stability ball between your feet and arms extended over your head. Clutch the ball between your ankles and keep your core tight as you simultaneously and slowly lift your legs and torso up off the ground to form a “V” shape. Grab the ball from between your feet and then slowly roll back down to the starting position. Repeat the movement for 10 to 15 reps, alternating between holding the ball with your hands and feet each time.
3. Stability Ball Plank
Begin on all fours with the stability ball behind you and near your feet. Rise up into a high plank position and then slowly, one foot at a time, place each foot (face down) on top of the stability ball. (See photo at the top of this page.) Hold this position for 30 to 90 seconds (depending on your level of fitness).
4. Stability Ball Pike
Begin on all fours with the stability ball behind you near your feet. Rise up into a high plank position and then slowly, one foot at a time, place each foot (face down) on top of the stability ball. (See photo at the top of this page.) Once you feel stable, use your core to slowly draw the ball towards your torso, keeping your legs straight so that you end up in a “V” or pike position. Hold for one breath before slowly returning to the start position. Repeat for 10 to 20 reps.
5. Stability Ball Bridge + Leg Extension
Begin lying flat on your back with the stability ball near your feet. Slowly, one foot at a time, place each of your heels on top of the stability ball. Tighten your core and lift your hips off the ground. For some, this alone may be challenging enough, but if your fitness level allows, while keeping your legs straight, you can alternate between slowly lifting each leg up one at a time. Hold the bridge for 30 to 90 seconds or repeat for 10 to 20 leg lifts.