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
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?