A stability ball (also called an exercise ball, gym ball or Swiss ball) is one of the best pieces of equipment for core training. Even just sitting on a stability ball has a training effect on the abs, as the core stabilising muscles have to work to compensate for the instability of the ball.
Buying a stability ball
When stability balls first started being widely used, there were a few problems with injuries from balls bursting. All stability balls from reputable suppliers are now anti-burst. This doesn’t mean that your ball won’t ever get a puncture and lose air, but that if it does it will go down slowly.
For comfort, safety and best training results you should choose the right size ball for your height:
Stability ball challenge
Before you do this challenge, please read these general exercise guidelines. Please also be aware that static exercises like the plank hold are not suitable for anyone with high blood pressure. This is because holding muscles in a static contraction can cause blood pressure to rise.
Using a stability ball makes the standard curl up more challenging and engages the deeper core muscles as well as the 6-pack muscles.
- Position yourself with your feet flat on the floor, about hip distance apart and your lower back in contact with the ball.
- Put your hands behind your head to prevent neck strain. You should just be supporting your head, not pulling on it. Keep your elbows relaxed out to the side.
- Tuck your chin in slightly.
- Engage your abdominal muscles and curl your upper body towards your legs.
- When you have lifted about 6 inches from the ball, reverse the movement and then repeat.
- Kneel on the floor with your forearms on the ball with your hands clasped.
- Engage your core and lift your knees so that your body weight is supported on your toes and your body is in a straight line.
- Hold for the given time, then lower your knees under control.
This exercise works your glutes as well as your deep abdominal muscles.
- Lay on the floor with your lower legs close together on the ball.
- Engage your core and your glutes as you lift your hips off the floor, so that your weight is resting on your head, shoulders and upper back. Your body should make a straight line as shown in the picture.
- Lower under control and repeat.
Doing the challenge
The chart shows the number of repetitions/hold time in seconds for each day. You can get a printable copy e-mailed to you using the form below.
Get a printable copy of the chart
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