If you have ever been to a decent gym, you may have spotted those large soft exercise balls. They may look like something that belongs in a child’s indoor play area, but if you know how to use them properly they can be a very effective exercise tool. The size of the ball that you use should depend on your height, and using them is great for your core strength and stability.
What Is An Exercise Ball?
The exercise ball is not a brand new concept, it actually dates back to 1963 when it was invented by an Italian plastics manufacturer called Aquilino Cosania. It is a large inflatable ball made with strong PVC, plastic or solid foam rubber. They are used by personal trainers, athletes and Physiotherapists and generally come in about five different sizes.
How To Use An Exercise Ball For Abs
There are lots of benefits to using an exercise ball, such as building core strength, weight training and rehabilitation exercises. Using an exercise ball is a great way to improve your posture and balance, as well as being a very effective tool when it comes to strengthening and developing your abdominal muscles (abs). Using an exercise ball is more effective for working your abs than just doing crunches or sit ups on the floor, this is because your abdominal and back muscles are constantly engaged and have to work harder. Your body has to work hard just to maintain balance and posture, even just sitting on the ball at a desk or watching television will be good for core strength, balance and posture.Lets look at some excellent exercises that you can do with the exercise ball to develop your abdominal muscles: –
Exercise Ball Crunch
The legs are not as involved when doing crunches on the ball, giving your abdominal muscles a really intense workout.
1. Lie on the ball with it positioned on your lower back, your legs should be bent with your feet flat on the floor.
2. Place your hands in the normal crunch position, behind your head or at your temples.
3. Contract your abs and lift your torso off the ball, as you pull yourself up make sure the ball does not roll.
4. Lower your back down and repeat 10-12 times.
Oblique Ball Crunch
A great way to work your Obliques, these are the muscles at the sides of your chest and stomach.
1. Start in the same crunch position as above.
2. Lift forward as if you were performing a regular crunch and when you get halfway, twist to one side and hold for a second.
3. Untwist your body and lower, you can then repeat going to the same side for a set or alternate to the other side.
The Russian Twist
This exercise requires great flexibility and works your whole trunk.
1. Position yourself on the ball in a position slightly lower that the regular crunch position, your should be looking straight up at the ceiling.
2. Raise your arms into a straight position, pointing at the ceiling with your palms flat together.
3. While keeping your arms straight and your hips as stationary as possible, rotate your body to one side forcing your shoulder to lift of the ball. You should then repeat the move on to the other side.
An exercise ball will also keep your workouts fresh and exciting. So now that you know how to use an exercise ball for abs, go ahead and strengthen those abdominal muscles.