The exercise ball, also known as the stability or Swiss ball is a great tool to utilize when you’re looking to tone and chisel your abdominals. As stated by the American College of Sports Medicine, you should choose a ball size that allows you to sit on the ball with erect posture and your hips and knees at 90 degrees based on your height and leg length:
• 30-35 cm if < 4’10” tall
• 45 cm if 4’10”-5’5″ tall
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• 55 cm if 5’6″-6’0″ tall
• 65 cm if 6’0″-6’5″ tall
• 75 cm if >6’5″ tall
• 85 cm ball if heavier or long-legged exerciser
After selecting the appropriate exercise ball, it’s time to get down to business. Begin your workout with a 5-10 minute warm up of your choice- this could include a brisk walk, utilizing an elliptical or other piece of cardio equipment to get the blood flowing and get your muscles warmed up!
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The workout consists of completing 2 sets of the 8 exercises described below. Each exercise will be completed for 45 seconds and has a period of up to 30 seconds rest between exercises. Complete as many repetitions as possible for each exercise. Get ready for an intense core workout that is sure to carve your abs!
1) Plank/Pike crunch
The Plank Crunch is an excellent exercise to activate the core and increase balance. Lift one leg at a time, placing your feet on an exercise ball. From the plank position, pull your knees in toward your chest, crunching your abs and pulling the ball toward you. Push the ball back out to extend your legs.
For added intensity, try the Pike Crunch! From the plank position with your feet on the exercise ball, jackknife your body (hips up) towards the sky, bringing the ball in toward your hands. Keep your legs straight and try to get your hips as close to over your shoulders as you can.
2) Ball rotation
Lie face up on with exercise ball under your lower back. Hold a medicine ball or dumbbell and place your arms straight up over chest. Hold your body in a straight line from hips to knees, with the knees at a 90 degree angle.
Tightening your glutes and abs, slowly twist your upper body to one side, until your arms are parallel to the floor, then return to the starting position & repeat on the other side. Keep your hips straight towards the sky (don’t turn them when you turn your body) and abs pulled in.
3) Ball exchange
Lie face up on your mat with the exercise ball between your feet. Next, raise your upper and lower body while your arms are fully extended in the air towards each other.
Grab the exercise ball with your hands to make the initial exchange and slowly bring your body back to an extended position with the ball now in the hands. Make sure the hands and feet stay off the ground. Repeat the exchange from the hands to the feet to complete the repetition.
4) Windshield wipers
Lie face up on your mat with the arms out to the sides. Squeeze the exercise ball between your feet. Lift your legs toward the ceiling so they’re over your hips. Keeping your right shoulder pressed to the floor, let your extended legs lower toward the left as far as you can.Use your core to pull the ball back to the starting position and repeat to the other side.
5) Dead bug
Lie face up on your mat with the exercise ball balanced between extended arms and legs to the sky. While balancing the ball with your finger tips and feet, extend the right arm and left leg parallel to the floor in a slow, controlled movement. Bring both back to the ball and repeat using the left arm and right leg.
6) Steer the ball
Lie face up on your mat with the exercise ball between your feet. Lift your legs toward the ceiling so they’re over your hips. Place your arms by your side. Rotate the ball with the feet back and forth (with a small clockwise and then counterclockwise movement) while simultaneously lowering the legs towards the ground. When the ball almost touches the ground reverse the movement back to the starting position.
7) Crunch under ball
Lie face up on your mat with the exercise ball between your feet. Lift your legs toward the ceiling so they’re over your hips. Bring the shoulders off the ground, extend the arms and place one hand on top of the other. Crunch through extended legs and under the ball with the arms extended.
8) Back extension
Lie with your hips and lower part of the torso resting on the exercise ball, hands behind your head, elbows out, with your toes planted firmly on the floor. Squeeze your glutes and slowly lift your chest away from the ball until your back is slightly hyperextended. Hold for one or two seconds, then slowly return to the starting position.
Concentrate on proper form and don’t forget to breathe! You can write down how many reps you do for each exercise and then try to beat that number during the second set or even subsequent sessions! After you complete both sets, cool down & stretch!