Ab workouts on the floor are effective for getting six pack abs, but bringing in an exercise ball increases the difficultly to get you a sexy abdomen faster. You can feel the challenge as soon as you rest on the ball, but it’s helpful to understand why the exercise ball makes obliques exercises harder.
The obliques are the criss-crossing muscles toward the sides on your abdomen. They contract to twist your spine and bend your torso sideways, but they also assist with stabilizing the spine. Any time you stand up, your core muscles, including the obliques, stabilizing your back. If you stand on one leg or walk on an uneven surface, like sand or a bumpy hiking trail, your core muscles work harder to keep you upright. Since an exercise ball is unstable, exercising on one requires a greater degree of abdominal work.
Side-lying Hip Lifts
Take one of the well-known obliques exercises like the side-lying hip lifts and move it from the floor onto an exercise ball, and suddenly this obliques exercise just got significantly harder. Instead of lying sideways on the floor, you’ll lie sideways with your bottom arm resting on the ball. If you start on the right, your right forearm is on the ball and positioned below your ribs and shoulder.
Starting Position: Lie on your right side with your legs straight, left on top of right. Place your left hand on your hip. Hold your body in a line with your spine straight. Look forward.
Action: Inhale as you bend your torso at the waist to lower your right hip a few inches toward the floor. Exhale and press your hips toward the ceiling. They should lift slightly higher than they were in your starting position. That is one repetition. Perform 6 to 12, and then roll onto your other side and repeat.
Important Exercise Tip: To compensate for the instability of the exercise ball, people sometimes twist their pelvis or move it backward. Your pelvis should be stacked with the top in line with the bottom. Your hips should remain in line with your shoulders, not back behind you.
Ball Crunches With a Twist
Lying on the floor and doing crunches while twisting side to side is a classic obliques exercise. Performing the exercise with your back on an exercise ball recruits more abdominal muscles, getting you one step closer to those six pack abs with every twist.
Starting Position: Sit on the ball and walk your feet forward, leaning back and letting the ball roll under it is under your middle back. Look at the ceiling and place your hands behind your head, fingertips touching the backs of your ears.
Action: Curl upward first and then twist to the right. Exhale as you do so. Then, slowly lie back down in the starting position. Repeat with a twist to the left. Take a deep breath in every time you lie back on the exercise ball. Do 10 repetitions, which is 5 on each side. Work up to as man as you can safely do.
These two exercises show you how to incorporate an exercise ball into ab workouts with the obliques exercises you already know, at least the ones that are performed face up or on your side. Remember though that if you want six pack abs, you’ll also need a low body fat percentage. You must burn more calories than you eat to lose fat. This may mean eating less, moving more, or both. Talk to a health professional about a healthy way to lower your body fat percentage, and don’t attempt these exercises if you have back or neck problems, poor balance, or haven’t been cleared to exercise.