The media today is very much into appearances, styles and latest looks. Once this only applied to women but today men too face the pressure of living up to the movie star status. I’ve tried various forms of abs exercises over the years and I find that the best abs exercises are the ones which use the exercise ball. Sit-ups are not good. Many people use this form of exercise but I don’t. I find that it puts an excessive amounts of stress on your lower back which can lead to serious back problems. There people who feel abdominal crunches are also stressful for the lower back – I disagree. Yes you do use your lower back when doing an abs crunch but it is not as intense as a sit-up. It is safer for your lower back doing a crunch even with a history of lower back problems. I would like to know what form of abs exercises one can do without the use of your lower back? It’s impossible to engage your abs muscles without engaging your lower back muscles also.
I have found that abs exercises using an exercise ball is the best form of abs training for the stomach. Not only are you suing your core abs muscles, but you are also working, therefore strengthening, your core stablising muscles of your mid section. By improving your stabilising mid section muscles you will correctly align your posture and help strengthen your lower back.
Exercise Ball Crunch – This exercise is similar to a floor crunch but done on an exercise ball. You’ll notice that once you start to do this exercise you will realise just how unstable your core muscles are even though you have been doing abs crunches on the floor. You’ll be amazed at how effective this exercise is and how well it works your core muscles especially your abs and lower back. Sit on the middle of the ball with your feet shoulder width apart and flat on the floor. Walk your feet away from the ball so that your roll onto your back on the ball. Stop just before your shoulder blades touch the ball. In this position place your hands behind your ears and raise your head, pointing your chin to the ceiling. Then back down. That’s one cruch. Repeat this for 15-20 reps.
Exercise Ball Mountain Climber – This is a harder exercise but will work wonders for your abs. This exercise targets your abs and stabilising muscles of your mid section as well as your arms and shoulders. Place both your hands onto the exercise ball with your toes on the ground. You want to be in a press-up position but with your hands flat on the exercise ball and your feet shoulder width apart. It is important that you keep your arms extended straight and your body straight. While maintaining a straight body position, gradually bring one knees up to your chest then back down and then do the same for the opposite knee. That will be one rep. You must keep control of the ball. Go for 10-20 reps. To increase the intensity of the exercise, once your stabilising muscles are more developed, do this exercise with your feet together.
These are a few exercise ball ab workouts to get six-pack and are great. But remember, to show off ripped six pack abs you’ve got incorporate intense cardio and interval weight training exercises and a good diet to shed excess body fat and produce a lean toned body. These type of workouts you can use to swap an exercise program that uses sit-ups or floor crunches.
I have strong feelings about crunch type exercises where you round the back as I think over the time they can lead to serious back damage plus I just don’t think they work the abs that effectively. If you have back issues then get away from crunches and start using the exercise ball.
That said the exercises discussed here are fairly advanced so if you are just starting out then I would do some more regular isometric exercises on the floor to build up core strength before attempting any of these workouts.
But, if you are ready to move forward in your ab training and make everyone at the gym stop and stare, try out this exercise ball ab workout.
Exercise Ball Knee Tuck – his exercise is harder to learn, but you’ll be glad you did, since it really works wonders on your abs. Get into a high plank position with your hands on the floor by rolling over the ball and resting your shins on it. Then, while maintaining a straight body position, gradually bring your knees up to your chest, while rolling the ball towards you. Do this as long as you’re able to keep control of the ball. When you’re done, return to the starting position. Keep your hips as flat as you can in order to maintain the tension on your abs. Go for 10-20 reps depending how advanced you are.
Exercise Ball Plank – This is quite possibly the best exercise to start with when beginning exercise ball training. There are two versions of this exercise. In one, you place your arms on the ball instead of the floor, and hold your body in a straight position. Ensure that your chest does not rest on the ball in order to give your abs a tougher workout. Another option is to put both hands against the floor as you you are doing a regular floor plank, then place both of your shins on the exercise ball straight out behind you, keeping your torso horizontal to the floor with your back straight. You may find this a bit difficult; if so, you can place your arms on a bench. Attempt 30-60 seconds whatever variation you go for.
Exercise Ball – Torso Twist: Start in high plank position with your hands on the floor shoulder width apart and your feet gripping either side of the ball. Your body should be completely straight. Then slowly roll the ball to the left then over to the right. Continue twisting side to side at a pace that you can handle. Focus on rotating through your torso and keep the abs tight. Maintain straight body alignment throughout the movement. As you get stronger you can twist further so your feet touch the floor and add more pace. Again one that does take a little bit of practice but when done correctly will give you great results
Finally, keep in mind that doing an exercise ball ab workout to get six-pack abs is great, but for maximum results, you need a good diet, too and perform lots of intense cardio and weight training routines. These type of workouts should really just be adding the finishing touch to your body once your body fat levels are low enough.