Forget dumbbells! This 6-move stability ball workout sculpts strong abs

a photo of a woman doing a plank on a stability ball
(Image credit: Getty/LordHenriVoton)

Are you ready to take your core strength to new heights? If yes, then it’s time you considered incorporating a stability ball into your next workout, and this advanced-level stability ball workout designed by renowned fitness coach Aubrie Edgington is the perfect place to start. 

The challenging circuit targets your abdominal muscles and promises to sculpt a rock-solid core. Performing this dynamic routine will help you to enhance your stability, improve your balance, and unleash the power of your abs. 

Edgington does label this as an "advanced level" abs workout in her video so if you’re new to training your core, it’s important for beginners to establish a base level of core strength first with some simple floor-based ab exercises. Even if you’re a seasoned ab blaster, everyone attempting this workout should prioritize proper form and technique to minimize injury.

Build your core with this six-move stability ball workout 

With a minute of rest between each round, you'll engage your core muscles in a continuous flow, pushing yourself to new limits. The inclusion of a stability ball in this circuit adds an element of instability, forcing your core muscles to work harder to maintain balance. Just try it and you’ll see what we mean:

Here's a list of the exercises involved and the number of reps/duration required for each move:

  • 10x pike ups
  • 20x mountain climbers
  • 30-second pike hold
  • 20x tucks
  • 10x circles (5 each way)
  • 10 single-leg lifts

While many fitness enthusiasts may be familiar with traditional mountain climbers, incorporating them into a stability ball workout offers added benefits that take the exercise to a whole new level. The instability of the ball requires your core muscles to work harder to maintain stability, intensifying the strengthening and toning effects on your abs, obliques, and lower back. 

To perform one, start by placing your hands on the ball and assume a plank position with your feet resting on the ball. Engage your core and maintain a straight line from your head to your heels. Then, alternate driving your knees towards your chest in a running motion while keeping your upper body stable.

Incorporating tucks into the stability ball routine provides an advanced variation that increases the range of motion and challenges your core muscles in a dynamic way. By placing your feet on the ball and rolling it towards your chest, you engage your lower abdominal muscles effectively, enhancing their strength and definition. Again, the instability of the ball requires balance and control, intensifying the overall benefits of this exercise for your core stability and sculpting your abs.

What are the benefits?

Engaging in this stability ball workout offers a multitude of benefits for your overall fitness and core strength. In fact, one study published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation journal found that performing single-leg holds and press-ups on a stability ball led to a significant increase in activation of the rectus abdominis muscle, which is located in the abdominal region.

The rectus abdominis muscle is a paired muscle located in the anterior (front) abdominal wall. It is commonly referred to as the "abs" or "six-pack" muscle. It plays a key role in trunk flexion, where the spine is brought forward, as well as in stabilizing the core during various movements and activities. When well-developed, the rectus abdominis contributes to a defined and toned appearance in the midsection.

Additionally, this style of workout can benefit your functional fitness. Building a strong core is essential for everyday movements and activities. A robust core not only enhances your athletic performance but also improves your overall functionality in daily life. Another study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science found that core strengthening exercises can be great for supporting our bodies as we grow older. They help recover postural control and increase the range of motion in the elderly, making them suitable for addressing age-related bodily changes.

Incorporating Edgington's stability ball workout into your fitness routine can pave the way for a stronger, more stable core. Remember, consistency is key when aiming to achieve your fitness goals, and visible abs are the result of a low body fat percentage. Stay dedicated, push yourself that little bit more when you feel like you can give more, and watch your abdominal muscles transform.

More from Tom's Guide

Jessica Downey
Fitness Writer

Jessica is an experienced fitness writer with a passion for running. Her love for keeping fit and fueling her body with healthy and enjoyable food quite naturally led her to write about all things fitness and health-related. If she isn’t out testing the latest fitness products such as the latest running shoe or yoga mat for reviewing then she can be found writing news and features on the best ways to build strength, active aging, female health, and anything in between. Before then she had a small stint writing in local news, has also written for Runners World UK (print and digital), and gained experience with global content marketing agency, Cedar Communications.

Born and raised in Scotland, Jessica is a massive fan of exercising and keeping active outdoors. When at home she can be found running by the sea, swimming in it, or up a mountain. This continued as she studied and trained to become a PPA-accredited magazine journalist in Wales. And since working and living in London, she splits her time between weight training in the gym, trying new fitness classes, and finding scenic running routes. Jessica enjoys documenting this on her fitness-inspired Instagram page @jessrunshere where she loves engaging with like-minded fitness junkies.

She is a big fan of healthy cooking and loves learning more about this area with expert nutritionists she has met over the years. Jessica is a big advocate for building healthy relationships with food rather than building restrictive attitudes towards it. When she isn’t eating or running she also enjoys practicing yoga in her free time as it helps her to unwind and benefits her performance in other sports.