A core exercise ball also known as a stability ball or balance ball is very important for training your abs. The following are 4 reasons to use a stability ball for ab workouts.
1. Target Important Core Ab Muscles
Perhaps the biggest benefit to using an exercise ball is how effectively the core is targeted.
Core muscles are essential for improving stability and posture.
It's important to improve your posture if you want six pack abs.
Taking your abs into greater ranges allows for a stronger eccentric muscle contraction.
An eccentric contraction is basically allowing the muscle to contract while it's lengthening. Eccentric muscle contractions help you achieve absolute tensions and have the advantage of developing much stronger abs.
Since muscles tend to be resistant to lengthening, eccentric contracts lead to increased strength and rock hard abs.
2. Balance Balls are Inexpensive
Since an exercise ball usually around $20, just about anyone can afford to purchase a ball and workout on there own.
3. Workout at Home
You don't need much space when using an exercise ball. Also, exercises can be done at home.
4. Many Different Exercises are Possible
An exercise ball is usually a really good investment because you will be able to do many different types of exerises targeting many different muscle groups.
For example, it's not just your abs you'll be working. Also workout your shoulders, chest, back, legs, and arms.
1. Abdominal Crunch on Ball
3 sets of 20 reps
Lie on the ball with your lower ball planted firmly. Place your hands behind your neck for support.
Lean shoulders back slowly while contracting your ab muscles. Movement should be slow and deliberate while your lower back remains in contact with the ball the entire time.
As you lean back, you should be feeling a stretch in the abominals. This is the eccentric contraction that will set your abs on fire.
To make the exercise more difficult, add resistance such as holding a plate or medicine ball on your chest. You can change variables such as increasing reps, decreasing rest periods, and decreasing the speed of movement.
2. Ball Jackknife
2 sets, 15 reps
Start with your shoe laces on top of the ball, knees bent, and hands on the ground. You're basically in a push up position with hips bent to 90 degrees.
Keep your abs tight. While keeping your upper body steady, pull the ball towards your chest firing the lower abs. Back should be flat maintaining a straight line from the hips to back to head.
Hold the contraction for 1 second then roll the ball back out to the start position. As you get stronger, increase the reps and also increase the time of holding the contraction.
3. Plank on Ball
Start in a plank position with arms out in front of you on the floor with legs on the ball. Elbows and shoulders stay bent at 90 degrees.
Tightening your abs and hold the position for as long as you can with perfect form. If your technique suffers, shorten the time.
Make sure you don't slump or arch your back. Perfect technique is critical. If you slack off on technique you aren't getting the benefit of training.
Figure out how long you can do the plank then set goals to increase the length of time. For example, if you can make it 40 seconds the first workout, then aim for 45 seconds the next workout. Gradually increase the time for each workout.