Every time I go into my gym, the treadmills and elliptical machines are being occupied, and there seems to be a never-ending line at the weight benches. While these pieces of equipment are all fantastic and should be included in your workout, I must bring attention to a simple piece of equipment that always appears to be forgotten, the stability ball. Stability balls are a wonderful way to shape and strengthen your core. They force all of your abdominal muscles to work to perform the exercise, thereby giving you a complete core workout. Too often, sit ups or crunches only touch on some of the abdominal muscles, which only cheats you of the fitness and health goals you want. Benefits of a strong core include better balance, more energy, better posture, and less risk of injury. Here are four stability ball exercises to fire up your core now:
1) Leg Tuck: With this exercise, you work your lower abs. Put your hands on the floor and toes on ball like you’re in an elevated push-up stance. Roll the ball to your chest by bending your knees and then roll it back. Feel free to roll diagonally to work the obliques.
2) Around the World: Sit on the stability ball with your feet to the floor. Circle your torso to the left and then back to the starting stance. Repeat on the right side. This will work your obliques as well.
3) Ball Sit: Lean against the wall with the stability ball separating you. The stability ball should be against your lower back. Go down so that your legs make a right angle. Hold for a minute. This will work your glutes and core.
4) Ball Sit-Up: This is a sit-up on the stability ball. Sit on the ball and put your feet out so that your knees make a ninety degree angle. Place your hands behind your elbow and lie all of the way back. Squeeze your abs and come all the way up. Fall back and repeat.