Abs & Obliques Stability Ball Circuit Workout (+ A Bonus Exercise!)

Happy Monday!  Let's start your week off on the right foot with a quick little workout to target those abs and obliques.  This workout is one I made up on the fly at the gym on Friday morning.  I had gone to the gym super early with my boyfriend, but we got there later than we'd liked and had only about a half hour to get in our training.  So, while he turned to the machines for some upper body work, I naturally turned to the equipment I know and chose a stability ball to work my abs.  With a 5 minute cardio warm up and about 3-5 minutes of stretching afterward, it took me about 20 minutes to complete this workout (I did it 4 times through).  Ready to make those abs burn?!  Keep reading!

Abs & Obliques Stability Ball Circuit Workout

Abs & Obliques Stability Ball Circuit Workout

Equipment needed: a stability ball and some floor space. 
Go through at least 3 rounds of the 5 exercises and try to move from exercise to exercise with no break (only take a quick break between rounds).  If you want to really challenge yourself, go through the circuit 5 times.

10 Slow 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).  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 (R & L) - hold a plank on the stability ball, either a full plank on your feet, or from your knees.  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 Knees to Chest (or pike) - 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, bring your knees to your chest, rolling the ball in and out.  If you want to make this harder, try keeping your legs straight and pike up.  Do 10 reps.  Trainer Tip: if the ball is too much for you, 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 (feet on ball) - start lying face up with your legs straight and heels up on the ball.  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.  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 Supine Holds - lie down on your back, one leg extended straight up in the air and the other hovering over the floor, like an L.  Hold the stability ball between the extended leg and the opposite arm (other arm is out to the side).  You should have to squeeze the ball between hand and foot to really hold it in place, which will in turn engage your abs.  Hold that position, squeezing the entire time, for 10 seconds.  Then immediately switch leg/arm to the other side.  Squeeze and hold for 10 seconds.  Keep alternating sides for 10 reps of 10-second holds. 

Go through this circuit 2 more times for the full workout, and a total of 5 times if you really want to challenge yourself.  

If that still isn't enough, here's a fun little bonus exercise for you to try.  I did this one in an abs & core circuit class I took at my old studio this past Saturday, and it was a killer!  (Note: I'd only recommend trying this exercise if your abs are strong and you have good balance.)

Bonus Exercise: Stability Ball Bicycles - start lying face up with the ball under your lower back, hands/fingertips down on the floor behind you.  Lift your legs and pedal them slowly like regular bicycles.  You'll really start to feel it in your abs after a while due to the instability of the ball underneath you and having to keep your legs elevated.  Try to aim for 30 seconds to a minute of pedaling. 

Readers: chat with me!  How was your weekend?  Did you get any workouts in?  What about other activities?  What's your favorite exercise to do with a stability ball?  Did you try the bonus exercise?

5-Minute Do Anywhere Ab Blaster Workout

Happy Wednesday!  As I mentioned earlier in the week, I'm in super busy packing mode now.  I don't have time for a full blown workout at the moment what with packing up 2 apartments and moving to a new state (!), but I thought I'd put up this quickie ab workout for you all today.  Seems like everyone is short on time almost ALL the time these days, but there are always ways to fit in a little muscle work.  If you have just 5 minutes, even right when you get up in the morning, or before bed, fit in a little exercise and your body will thank you. :)  Here's a good place to start!  The best part about this workout is it's easy to do anywhere you find yourself because you don't need any equipment.  So let's get moving!

5-Minute Do Anywhere Ab Blaster Workout

5-Minute Do Anywhere Ab Blaster Workout

Set your timer for 5 minutes and do each exercise for 1 minute.  Feel free to do more rounds for a longer, more intense workout, or keep it a short 'n' sweet 5 minutes if you're low on time. 

Standing Side Crunches + Reach (30 sec. each side) - start standing with one hand behind your head and crunch to the side bringing your knee to meet your elbow.  Lower your leg back down lightly tapping the floor with your foot, while also reaching over your head to the other side.  Alternate crunch + reach for 30 seconds on one side, then switch for the next 30 seconds.

Feet-to-Hand Mountain Climbers - regular MC's with your hands either on the ground or propped up on a chair/bench.  Bring your feet all the way to your hands (or the bench/chair), engaging your abs to pull them in.  Continue the "climbing" for 1 minute.

Superman Lifts + Hold - lie down on your stomach, arms extended overhead and legs out straight.  Simultaneously lift your legs and feet off the floor for 10 slow lifts, then hold the extended position for 10 seconds.  Alternate 10 lifts/10-sec. hold for 1 minute.

Side Plank Knee-to-Elbow Crunches - start in a side plank position (either high on your hand, or low on your forearm), other hand behind your head.  From here, while holding the plank position, "crunch" to the side to bring your elbow and top knee up to meet each other.  Continue the crunches for 30 seconds each side.

Slow Bicycles + Pulse - lie down on your back, hands behind head.  Alternate bringing your opposite elbow to opposite knee slowly, keeping your feet hovering over the floor.  Do 10 seconds of slow bicycles, then pulse to one side for 10 pulses.  Go back to 10 more seconds of slow bicycles, then 10 pulses on the other side.  Keep alternating for 1 minute.

Remember, if you want a more intense workout, feel free to go through these exercises a few more times!  Your abs will thank you!

Readers: chat with me!  What are your favorite quick ab exercises when you're short on time? What about other quick workouts - do you try to fit them in when you can?  How has your week been going? 

Wednesday Warmup 3/11

Here's another Wednesday warmup for you!  I missed the boat with the Motivation Monday this week, so I hope this more challenging workout makes up for it!  Remember you can pin these workouts to a Pinterest board or repost them to any social media site to spread the love!  Enjoy!

Click the "PIN IT" Button to pin the image, or right click and hit "save as" to save to your mobile device.

WEDNESDAY WARMUP 3/11

Complete each round 3x through, then move onto the next

ROUND 1 (x3): UPPER BODY

Pushups - I think you all have these down by now.  Remember, you can drop down to your knees for an easier modification if you need to.

Tricep Dips - find a sturdy chair or bench, put your hands on the edge and legs out straight (or bent at a 90˚ angle).  Dip yourself down as low as you can, working the backs of your arms.

Alternating Side Planks - from a full plank position (on your hands), alternate lifting one arm up to the ceiling while turning your head and body with it.  You can stack your feet on top of each other as you turn (harder) or leave them planted on the floor (easier).  Trainer Tip: for an easier time on your shoulders, drop the plank position to your elbows.

ROUND 2 (x3): LOWER BODY

Side Lunges - start standing, and step out to the right, lowering yourself down into a side lunge position (all the weight should be on your right leg, and your left leg should be relatively straight).   Push yourself back up to start, bringing your feet back together.  Complete all reps on one leg before switching sides.

Sumo Squats - like a regular squat, but widen your stance so your feet are a little wider than hip width and turn your feet outward slightly.  Squat down as low as you can, keeping your back flat (think of sticking your butt out).  Come back up to start.  Keep that squat form going.

Reverse Lunges - also known as step-back lunges.  Start in a standing position, and step backward into a lunge.  Remember to keep your front knee in line with your ankle and if you can, bend those legs until you reach a 90˚ angle.  Step back up to standing.  You can either alternate legs as you go, or complete all reps on one leg before switching.

ROUND 3 (x3): CORE

Slow Bicycles - lie down on your back, hands lightly behind your head.  Bring your legs up off the floor.  Alternate touching opposite elbow to opposite knee.  Think of pedaling your feet as you switch your legs, and try to keep your shoulder blades off the floor the entire time.  A lot of times bicycles are done quickly, but I want you to try to slow them down.  Count 2 seconds between each switch.

V-up Hold - sounds just like what it is: try to form a "V" with your body as best you can, keeping your arms overhead (i.e. angled with your upper body, not touching your feet).  Hold this position for 20 seconds.  Trainer Tip: if you have lower back issues, or if it starts to get sore, place your hands underneath it for support.

Low Plank - get into a plank position on your elbows and concentrate on holding it steady and strong.  Think about bringing your belly button in toward your spine; keep your spine neutral from head to toe (or rather, from head to tail bone).  Trainer Tip: I want to emphasize proper form over duration here - so only do this for as long as you can hold the plank with proper form.  If you feel yourself start to sag in the middle, or your shoulders are giving in, stop.

Enjoy the workout today!  Get your friends, your family, and even your coworkers involved with this workout today!  I hope this gets your heart rate up a bit and your muscles working to energize you for the day ahead!  Let me know how it goes, too.  You can get in touch with me using the social media links to the right of this post (or at the bottom if you're on a mobile device), or feel free to leave a comment here on the blog!  Can't wait to hear how it goes. :)