A strong abdominal region (abdominal, lower back and hip muscles) stabilizes your spine and acts as a link in the transmission of power between the upper and lower body. The Ballast ball, forces the body to adapt to unusual positions and creates a manageable surface on which to train. The stability-ball exercises recruit many stabilizing muscles, which aids in the enhancement of muscular strength and endurance.
With 2.5 pounds of movable ballast (a granular-like substance) and measuring 65 cm, the Ballast Ball provides a surprising degree of challenge.
The Ballast ball staying in place—is particularly good for older adults, anyone new to stability ball exercise or when you’re using the Ball as a bench or chair
- Curl-Up: With the stability ball centered beneath your lumbar spine (the lower back just above the tailbone) and your feet flat on the floor. Exhale as you contract your abdominal muscles, causing your trunk to slowly curl up until your shoulders and upper back are lifted off the ball. Pause briefly, then inhale as you return to the starting position and repeat. Maintain your neck in a neutral position, about a fist’s width between the chin and upper chest, throughout the movement.
- Reverse Curl-up: Lie on the floor on your back with arms extended out along the floor at a 45-degree angle and palms down, for support. Grip the stability ball between your heels and the back of your thighs. Keep your lower back flat as you exhale and contract your abdominal muscles causing your hips to be pulled two to three inches off the floor. Pause, then inhale as you return to the starting position, making sure the stability ball does not touch the floor, and release tension from the working muscles.
- Russian Twist: Start on your back with your shoulder blades centered on the stability ball, keeping a strong bridge while holding a medicine ball directly in front of you. While keeping your hips up and your core tight, roll over onto your shoulder and contract your obliques. Return to the starting position and repeat the action going the opposite way.
- Jump Squat and Slam: This exercise comes from no other than Keli Robert, an ACE-certified Gold Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor and a Fitness Hall of Fame 2007 inductee. Hold the ballast ball in your palms straight in front of you. Holding on squat, touch the ball to the floor making sound with the ball and then rise back lifting your arms overhead with the ball. Repeat this. You can lift the ball overhead and slam the ballast against the inside of the ball to increase the intensity. Since the ball does not bounce, when slamming it on the floor, squat low to ‘catch’ it.
- Hand-to-Foot Ball Pass: Lie on the floor with your feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Your legs should be placed far enough apart to comfortably place the ball between your legs. You’ll be lifting the ball with your legs to “pass” it to your hands, so grip the ball with the sides of your shins and feet. Keeping your back straight and your shoulders aligned extend your arms straight above your head on the floor. Lift your legs up off the floor, holding the ball firmly between them. At the same time, lift your arms off the floor, curling your body upward to reach for the ball. Your body should be aiming for a “V” or pike position. Your arms and legs should be straight. When your hands and the ball meet at the top of your pike position, pass the ball from your feet to your hands and lower yourself slowly back to the floor. This should not be a quick, jerky movement, but rather a slow and measured folding of the body. Feel the muscles of the abdomen working hard to achieve your position.
- Wood Chops: This exercise works the muscles in yourcore, back and arms. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the ball straight in front of you with both hands. Sweep your arms downwards and diagonally across your body to your left side. Sit your hips back in a squat position. Stand up straight while sweeping your arms across and upwards to your right side. Repeat for three sets of 15 on each side.
- Ball Crunches: The Ballast ball is great, as it supports your back and you use more muscle to keep the ball still. To do a crunch on a ball, lay across the ball with the small of your back on the ball. Now you tighten your abs and raise your shoulders, reaching towards your knees with your arms. Only raise your shoulders slightly and lower, keeping the abs tight. Start with as many reps as you can comfortably do and work up to 20 reps. Then you can add another set of 20 reps.
Take your abs to next level of fitness with these exercises.