Muscle group: The abdominal muscles
Trained muscle: All parts of the abdominal muscles
Focused muscle: Rectus abdominis (straight abdominal muscle)
Type of training: Own body weight exercises
Abdominal exercises are very popular and exist in many different variations and intensity levels. Basically, we can distinguish between abdominal crunches and sit-ups, leg lifts, stabilization exercises like planks, and ab exercises with equipment. The following article explains the workout for the stomach using a ball.
Abdominal exercises with ball
Abdominal exercises with ball are very intense. They all represent versions of the abdominal crunch what trains the straight abdominal muscle (musculus rectus abdominis) as well as the obliques decently. The training with a ball (or other tools) gives more variety, increases the motivation, and distracts us from the real nature of exercising, which is work.
Especially for the training in groups, like in sports clubs or classes at the gym, abdominal exercises with ball are very suitable. The basic execution and form is similar to the abdominal crunch (please read this article first). Keep the head straight in extension to the trunk, press the lumbar spine (lower back) onto the ground, keep the belly tensed at any time, and avoid press breathing (exhalation against closed airways).
Abdominal exercises with ball in hands
Examples for abdominal exercises holding the ball in your hands can easily be realized. You could perform straight crunches with the arms stretched to the back, overhead, or to the front. Also twisted crunches are possible. Work out with stretched arms switching from one side to the other. You can also rotate your legs within the movement.
We can also practise isometric crunches passing the ball from one hand to the other either directly or rolling it on the floor. Choose to pass it under your head or under the buttocks.
Also pass it behind your legs or between them. Or cross one leg on top of the other and pass the ball between.
Abdominal exercises – ball switches between hands and legs
In another abdominal exercise the ball can switch between the hands and the legs. Start the straight crunch holding the ball in your hands. Your legs are raised. In the end position you should be able to reach your feet and place the ball between them. In the following repetition you pick up the ball again with your hands and start over. Alternatively you could roll the ball up and down on your lower leg.
Also train with bent legs. In the end position you would place the ball on your lower leg and pick it up again in the following repetition.
Abdominal exercises with ball between legs
Another isometric abdominal exercise would be holding the ball between your hand and legs. Here, the legs have to pull closer toward the body. Please do not practise this version if you have complaints in your cervical spine.
Also place the ball between your bent knees and perform the twisted crunch as described above. Or move your legs up and down. Your heels approach the floor and your knees remain bent. Feel free to have your arms support on the floor.
With the ball between your feet you could stretch and bend your legs alternately. Also have your arms support on the floor if necessary. Please be careful with your back and work against a hyperlordosis (hollow back).
There certainly are many more variations we can choose from in our stomach training. But most important is to have fun in your workout in order to stay motivated in the long run. More abdominal exercises can be found under the following link: abdominal exercises
Antagonist: Lower back muscles
Stretching: Abdominal stretches