How to Use a Balance Ball During Ab Workouts

4 Balance Ball exercises for better abs

Though it may feel awkward at first, a Balance Ball is a great addition to your ab workout. With the use of one inexpensive prop, you can do exercises that tone both your abs and your supporting core muscles. By adding just a few of these ball exercises to your daily routine, you'll start to see a difference in the strength of your core muscles in a short time.

Whether you want to whittle down your waist or strengthen your core muscles, a Balance Ball can help.

By combining a variety of ball exercises, you can target different ab muscles and tone up the surrounding core muscles at the same time. You might feel a little awkward when first starting out with an exercise ball, but that instability will go away as your core muscles get stronger.

Remember to breathe steadily while exercising. Slow deliberate movements that focus on using the proper form will get the job done more effectively. It's also a good idea to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine, especially if you have any medical problems. Try just a few of these fitness ball exercises each day and increase the length of your ab workout as your muscles get stronger.

Exercise 1: Basic abdominal crunch

This is an essential move for exercise ball ab workouts.

  • Sit on the exercise ball with your legs about hip-width apart and your feet on the floor.
  • Cross your arms over your chest and tighten your ab muscles, keeping your back straight.
  • Lean back on the exercise ball as far as you can without losing your form.
  • Hold that pose for a few breaths and slowly return to the sitting position.

Start with five repetitions and gradually build up to more.

Exercise 2: Crunch and twist

This move works your obliques.

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor.
  • Hold the exercise ball above your body with a hand on either side of the ball.
  • Tighten your abs and lift your upper body off the ground, holding the exercise ball up and over your bent knees.
  • Slowly twist your upper body to bring the ball out to your side.
  • Return to the center and slowly roll back to the floor.

Repeat and twist to the other side.

Exercise 3: Plank pose

Adding this move to your workout will strengthen several core muscles.

  • Lay face down on the exercise ball, with the ball under your stomach and your hands and feet touching the floor on either side of the ball.
  • Walk your hands forward until the exercise ball rolls under your upper thighs and your legs are straight.
  • Tighten your abs to keep your body in a straight line and hold for several breaths.

If this is easy, make it harder by walking your hands forward until the exercise ball rolls under your shins.

Exercise 4: Reverse crunch

When you are more comfortable using an exercise ball, add this more advanced move to your ab workouts.

  • Begin as if you are doing the "Plank pose" in Exercise 3. Walk your hands forward until the exercise ball is under your thighs and your hands are centered on the floor under your shoulders.
  • Tighten your abs.
  • Dig your knees into the ball and pull them toward your chest, rolling the ball forward so that you are kneeling on the ball.
  • Roll your knees back to "Plank pose" and repeat.

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