When it comes to toning your midsection, forget complicated or expensive equipment. A simple stability ball is all you need to give your core muscles a hard-core workout. Your core is made up of several muscle groups including the abs, back and pelvis. Conditioning your core will not only help improve the look of this area, but it can also help ease back pain. Plus, strengthening your core will improve your balance, making day-to-day activities easier.
Choosing a Stability Ball
Stability balls come in a variety of shapes and sizes so you'll want to choose one that matches your body type. Taller people will want to choose a ball with a larger diameter. Heavier people may also need to choose a larger size that offers more resistance. To test if its the right size, sit upright on top of the ball with your feet flat on the floor. Your hips should be level with your knees or slightly below them if the ball is the proper size. However, if you have a history of back problems or other health conditions, you may want to consult your doctor before trying any stability ball moves.
Lie on top of the stability ball face down so the ball is under your stomach and hips. Place your hands and feet on the floor. Make sure your legs are together. Slowly walk forward with your hands so your feet come up off the floor. As you are moving forward, exhale to tighten your abs. Stop when the ball is under your thighs. If you're looking for more of a challenge though, move forward until the ball is under your knees. Inhale and slowly walk your hands backward until you return to the starting position. Repeat this move up to 12 times. Aim for two or three sets.
Lie on your back on the floor and extend your legs out so your calves and feet are on top of the stability ball. Squeeze your abs and glutes as you pull your hips up off the ground. Keep your legs straight. Hold this position and take three deep breaths. Slowly return to the floor. Repeat this move up to 15 times.
Abdominal Ball Raise
Lie on your back on the floor and rest your calves and ankles on top of the stability ball. Your knees should be bent and placed hip-width apart. Gently squeeze the ball between your legs by pushing your calves toward your thighs. Contract your abs as you raise the ball off the floor with your legs. Hold this position and take three deep breaths. Return to the starting position with the ball on the floor, and repeat up to 15 times.
Elizabeth Peterson has been a reporter since 2005, working in television, radio and online. Specializing in health and environmental coverage, she has contributed to MSNBC and several local affiliates. Peterson earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism.