Stability balls are a great piece of equipment to have in your fitness arsenal. You can use them for so many different exercises, but my favorites target the abs. Today's workout is circuit style, meaning you'll go through the 5 different exercises in a circuit, 3 times. This workout not only targets the transverse & rectus abdominals (deep ab muscles and those "6-pack" abs respectively), but also your internal and external obliques. That's a full ab workout right there! So grab your stability ball and get moving today, or save this one to that ab workout Pinterest board for later.
Stability Ball Abs & Obliques Circuit Workout
What You'll Need: a stability ball, an exercise mat, and some floor space
What You'll Do: go through the workout doing 10 reps of each exercise, trying not to take breaks between moves. Repeat 3 times through for the full workout.
10 Forearm Circles (each direction) - start in a plank with your forearms balanced on the stability ball, abs engaged to keep your spine neutral (i.e. no sagging back) and chest off the ball. Maintaining a plank position, slowly circle your forearms in one direction for 10 circles. Without stopping, immediately switch directions for 10 more circles. Trainer Tip: to make this easier, you can do these from your knees. Just remember to keep your spine in a straight line and lean on the ball instead of keeping it directly underneath you.
10 Plank Leg Lifts (each leg) - hold a plank on the stability ball, either a full plank on your feet (harder), or from your knees (easier). From here, while maintaining the plank position, lift one leg up as high as you can, then bring it down and tap your toe to the floor. Do 10 lifts on one leg, then immediately switch to the other leg without stopping.
10 Pike Ups - start in a plank with the tops of your feet elevated on the stability ball, core engaged, spine aligned, and shoulders over your wrists. From here, keeping your legs straight, engage your abs and pike up. Do 10 reps. Trainer Tip: to make this move easier, bring your knees into your chest in a tuck position instead of a pike. Easier still, drop down to a regular plank on the ground and alternate bringing each knee to the opposite side of your chest.
10 Slow Sit Ups (4-count up & down) - start lying face up with your legs straight, heels on the ball, and arms extended straight above you. Keeping your legs as straight as you can, do a full sit up slowly rolling up for a count of 4, touch your toes (or shins) and roll back down for a count of 4. Continue the slow sit ups for 10 reps, going slowly, and focusing on using your abs to lift you (not momentum from your arms). Trainer Tip: if the ball is too much, get rid of it and drop your feet to the floor. Remember to go slowly on the way back down, too.
10 Opposite/Opposite Shin Holds - lie down on your back, left leg extended straight up in the air and right hovering over the floor, like an L. Hold the stability ball between your left leg and right arm (left arm out to the side). Squeeze the ball between your right hand and left shin to hold it firmly in place, which will engage your abs. Hold that position, squeezing the entire time, for 10 seconds. Then immediately switch to the other side by bringing your left arm and right leg up to the ball, hold, and extending the other arm/leg out to the side. Squeeze and hold for another 10 seconds. Keep alternating sides for 10 reps (5 each side) of 10-second holds.
Repeat the moves 2 more times for the full workout.
Readers: chat with me! Do you use stability balls in your regular fitness routine? What are your favorite ways to use them? Favorite exercises for your abs? How was your weekend?