Targeting your core muscles -- the muscles of your pelvis, lower back, hips and abdomen -- is essential for much more than a good shape for your bikini. While a slim and toned waistline is a bonus, strong core muscles play a role in everyday activities, contributing to better balance, stability and posture. While many core exercises do not require equipment, the use of a balance disc draws more focus to the muscles in the core.
Similar to a stability ball, the balance disc -- also known as a balance cushion or wobble cushion -- increases instability to encourage greater activation of the muscles in your core. When your body feels imbalanced, these muscles kick in to stabilize the body and keep you upright. In addition to its effectiveness in a targeted training program, the balance disc can also be used as a seat cushion to improve core strength while you work.
Basic Balance Disc Training
Because the balance disc provides an unstable surface, things like standing, sitting and kneeling become core exercises. Standing on a balance disc engages the core muscles and focuses on balance. To increase difficulty, try balancing on one leg or add hand weights while standing. Alternate lifting the weights over your head while you work to maintain balance. When placed in your office chair, the balance disc changes regular sitting into active, or dynamic, sitting. In addition, the average balance disc has small bumps on one side. Sitting on these small bumps increases circulation when you sit for long periods, according to San Diego Sports Chiropractic.
When you add a balance disc to traditional crunches, your core muscles must also work to keep you from falling over. The form is similar to traditional crunches except your tailbone and upper back rest on the balance disc. In addition, your core muscles must remain engaged from the starting position in order to keep your shoulders off the floor.
Plank and Mountain Climber
The plank and mountain climber exercise with the balance disc targets the hips and core muscles. Begin in a pushup position with your hands centered on the disc. Slowly lift your left knee toward your right elbow. Slowly return to the starting position. Repeat for eight to 10 repetitions and then switch to the right leg.
Before starting a new exercise program, consult a health care provider. Because the balance disc offers an unstable platform, take some time to get used to it before jumping into complicated exercises. If you are performing standing exercises on the disc, use the back of a chair to assist in balance until your core muscles become strong enough to maintain balance alone. Do not add hand weights to a balance disc workout until you are comfortable with balancing.
- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images