When it comes to stability ball ab workouts, not all exercises are created equal, and you might be wondering where to start. Whether you’ve invested in a stability ball for yoga, and want to add it to your ab workout routine, or you’ve spotted someone using it in the gym and want to give it a go yourself, I’ve got you covered.
Rather than focusing on exercises like Russian Twists, which only target your abdominal muscles, and can put your lower back under a lot of pressure, the exercises in this 10-minute workout hit your abs and glutes. You can do it from home, or in the gym, and all you’ll need is your bodyweight, a stability ball, and a wall.
As a reminder, if you’re new to exercise, or you’re returning to exercise following an injury or pregnancy, this might not be the right workout for you and your body. It’s always a good idea to check with a medical professional before taking on a new workout routine, and if you’re unsure, always ask a personal trainer to check your form to avoid putting yourself at risk of injury.
What is the workout?
The 10-minute workout, created by MadFit on YouTube, has five different exercises. Each exercise is performed for 45 seconds, followed by a 15-second break, and you’ll do two rounds of the circuit in total.
Ready to get started? Here are the exercises involved:
Stability ball squats
For this exercise, place the stability ball against the wall behind your lower back, and lean your body weight against the ball. Step your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, and squat down, rolling the ball down the wall, then straighten your legs to stand back up.
Stability ball crunches
For this exercise, start on the ground with your lower back pressed into the exercise mat, and your legs outstretched. Hold the stability ball with both hands, with your arms outstretched towards the ceiling. Engage your core, and lift both legs up to the ceiling, then place the ball between your legs, and lower your arms and legs back down to hover a few inches off the ground. After a couple of seconds, lift the ball again, and take it with your hands, this time lowering the ball behind your head as you drop your legs down.
Stability ball hamstring curls
Place the stability ball on the ground and dig both heels into the ball as you raise your hips up to the ceiling with your legs straight. From here, roll the ball in towards your glutes, keeping them raised to the ceiling and your hips steady, and then roll the ball back out to your starting position. Move slowly and with control.
Stability ball knee tucks and pike
For this exercise, you’ll need to start by getting into a high plank position on the stability ball. To do this, place your feet on the stability ball, and engage your core to hold a high plank position. From here, tuck your knees into your chest, roll the ball underneath your body, and then reverse the movement so you are back in a high plank position. Then complete a pike, raising your hips up towards the ceiling and raising onto your toes on the stability ball, before lowering back down to a plank.
Stability ball frog pumps
To do this exercise, start by lying on your back, with your knees bent, and place your feet on the ball so that the soles of your feet are facing each other and your knees are pointing out to the side. From here, raise your hips towards the ceiling and squeeze your glutes. Hold this for a couple of seconds, before lowering your hips back down to the exercise mat. Don’t let your glutes touch the floor throughout the exercise.
What are the benefits?
The clue to the main benefit of adding a stability ball to your workouts lies in the name — exercising on, or with the ball challenges your stability, and forces the muscles in your core to work harder to keep you steady. A strong core is much more than just an aesthetic goal — it can help you lift heavier weights, run with better form, sit and walk with better posture, and protect your spine from injury.
However, this workout doesn’t just use the muscles in your midsection — your glutes get a workout here too. The glutes are the largest muscle in the body, but if you spend a lot of time sitting down, you might find they are pretty lazy during your workouts. Strengthening your glutes has several benefits — it can help you avoid injury to your lower back, improve athletic performance, and improve your posture and balance.
Finally, using a stability ball helps you work on your mind-body connection and balance in your workouts. As you wobble on the ball, you’ll have to really think about the muscles you’re trying to engage to complete the exercise, improving this connection in the body. You’ll also work on your front-to-back balance, which can come in handy when lifting weights. So grab that yoga ball and give this workout a try!
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Jane McGuire is Tom's Guide's Fitness editor, which means she looks after everything fitness related - from running gear to yoga mats. An avid runner, Jane has tested and reviewed fitness products for the past five years, so knows what to look for when finding a good running watch or a pair of shorts with pockets big enough for your smartphone. When she's not pounding the pavements, you'll find Jane striding round the Surrey Hills, taking far too many photos of her puppy.