The all-powerful stability ball may be just your ticket to ending the belly bulge once and for all. Certain abdominal exercises with the ball, combined with a proper diet and cardiovascular training, can burn stomach fat and increase overall health. Choose a ball appropriate for your size and weight to safely and effectively target your core and melt that fat away.
The Correct Crunch
Finding the correct body position on the ball is key for the correct crunch. Begin by lowering the body down the ball until the shoulder blades are off and the feet are shoulder width apart. With your hands behind your head, engage the core until the shoulders and hips form a straight line. Initiate the crunch movement with the rib cage trying to bring the ribs closer to the hips. As you lower back down, find the same straight start position being sure not to arch the back over the ball. Perform 15 to 20 repetitions.
Begin by rolling your body over the ball until your hands reach the floor, the ball is under your shins, and your body is in a straight line. Press your shins into the ball and bend you knees as you start to roll the ball under your hips. Be sure to keep the arms straight and engage the core as much as possible as you move. Return the feet back for one complete repetition. Continue for 10 to 15 repetitions.
Lie on a mat with the ball between your ankles, and your toes turned out to the sides. Place your hands behind your head and press you lower back into the mat as you raise straight legs overhead. Curl your upper body so your ribcage begins to move down and in toward your hips. While holding the curl lower your legs until you feel your lower core engage. As you lift your legs back up think about pressing the inner thighs into the ball and crunching just a little higher to really feel the burn. Perform eight to 10 repetitions.
Rotation of the rib cage is the best way to slim the obliques, or side abdominals. Lie on a mat and place the exercise ball between your thighs and your feet raised off the floor making a 90-degree angle. Place your arms out to the sides and press your shoulder blades into the mat. With a firm grip on the ball, begin to lower your knees to one side while keeping the opposite shoulder firm on the mat. As you return to the start position, engage the core and keep the knees over the hips. Repeat on the other side performing eight to 10 repetitions.
Vicki Vara has been a fitness professional for more than 15 years, working in health clubs, studios and schools. She is certified as a personal trainer, group fitness instructor, holistic nutrition consultant and Pilates instructor. Vara holds a bachelor's degree in exercise science from the University of Delaware.