I remember the first time I saw a demonstration utilizing the physio ball for rehab. The movements seemed elementary, until I got my dumb ass on the ball. Initially it felt obviously different, but the balance issue can be learned quickly. If you’re new to one of these little marvels, a few sessions will do. Learning proper foot and body position while on the ball can be mastered while providing a serious alternative to your normal abdominal routine.
The selection of ball is limited to what’s available and my suggestion is to avoid the typical ball at the corner sporting good store, unless you want to hurt yourself with the usual collapsing, not so puncture resistant ball. For your sanity and safety, the Duro Pro ball or Sissel ball that has an inflated capability to support a 250 lb male holding a pair of 250 lb dumbbells will more than suffice for most mortals. Now, some starting exercises that can build a good starting foundation can be…
Basic Crunches – Because you have to stabilize your body while performing the crunches, this staple core exercise becomes more challenging and in turn, much more effective. Simply lay down on the ball on your lower back and lift your shoulders and chest up and perform crunches as normal. You will feel the effects immediately and see exactly why exercise balls are such a cherished piece of exercise equipment.
Back Extensions – Again, a simple exercise made more effective by the aspect of the extra stabilization needed to balance yourself while performing the exercise. Simply get on your knees and rest your upper body on the ball. Then, raise your entire upper body a few inches into the air using the muscles in your lower back making sure to stabilize your abs while you breathe continuously.
Elevated Pushups – Don’t think pushups hit your core? Try this version using the exercise ball. Put your feet up on the ball and your hands on the ground and push out a set of 15-20 pushups. If you want to stay balanced on that ball you can bet your core, from your upper thighs, to your lower back, to your abdominals will be working. At one time pushups just hit the triceps chest and shoulders, but by adding the exercise ball, you incorporate your entire core.
Knee Tucks – While in the elevated pushup position, move back so your thighs are resting on the ball. Now, tuck your knees into your chest by rolling the ball towards you. This one simply movement will tax your abs immensely and give you a core workout you won’t soon forget.
Keep in mind, this is a very abridged version of all the exercises you can do using the exercise ball. This handy piece of equipment will allow you to perform an incredible core workout and do it safely at the same time. So, grab a ball and a pump and get to work utilizing one of the most effective abdominal and core workout devices developed in the last 50 years.