BY: MICHAEL WITTIG
PHOTO CREDIT: JUSTIN GREIMAN
Stability balls are a great tool not only for the gym, but the home as well. They are inexpensive and can be used in place of a bench for many situations. Also known as the Swiss Ball they are often utilized by physical therapists to aid in rehabilitation for low back-related issues. Physical therapists and chiropractors frequently recommend the use of exercise balls for workouts because of the spine support they can provide. The added bonus of using stability balls is the extra core activation required to keep your balance. A strong core can help maintain the natural curve of your spine and relieve some low back pain. Now that you have the basics let’s get into some challenging and fun Ab work using the Stability Ball. This is a 5 exercise ab circuit that will torch your core in under 10 minutes and can be done anywhere you choose to bring your stability ball.
Do each movement back-to-back without rest for one round. Do 3-4 rounds total with no more than 60 secs between rounds.
- Ball Crunches: 20 reps.
Execution: Lay face up with your upper back supported on a stability ball. Place your hands gently by your ears and avoid pulling on your neck during the exercise. Place your feet close to the ball. Allow yourself to lay back as far as possible so you fully stretch your abdomen wall then crunch up as you blow the air out of your lungs until the abs are fully contracted.
Add-on: Incorporate a twist at the top and/or hold the weight close to your body.
2. Ball Pike: 12-15 reps
Execution: Get into a pushup position with your feet placed on top of a stability ball. In starting position your shoulders-to-heels should be in a straight line. Keep your core tight. While keeping your hands firmly in place pushing down on the floor roll the ball in towards your upper body with your core allowing your hip to rise up in the air. You are basically folding your body inward and making an upside-down V.
Add-on: Do a push-up between each pike.
3. Ball Pass V Up: 12-15 reps
Execution: Lay flat on the floor with your arms straight back behind your head and legs straight out in front. Place a stability ball between your feet and add inward pressure. Slowly raise your arms and legs upward straight above your torso and grab the ball with both hands then slowly lower both arms and legs to the starting position. Repeat the movement and continue to alternate passing the ball from hands to legs each repetition.
4. Ball Side Planks: 30-60 seconds each side
Execution: Perform a standard forearm side plank on a stability ball. Your body should be straight from shoulders to heels. Keep your core contracted throughout the entire hold. Do this for time. Be sure to match times held on each side. Work to hold even a few seconds longer each workout.
5. Ball Planks: 30-60 seconds
Execution: Hold a standard forearm plank on a stability ball. The body should be straight shoulders-to-heels. Don’t allow your hip to sag or raise up in the air. Tuck your hip slightly to keep your core tight and contracted. Do this for time and challenge yourself.
Add-on: While holding the plank alternate bringing each knee towards your elbow spidey style.
Michael Wittig, ISSA CPT
IPE PNBA Natural Pro 6x Champ
Master World Champion
All socials: @WittigWorks