It’s Vegan Fitness Friday and today I’m sharing the top five effective stability ball exercises I recommend for strengthening your core!
1. High Plank Hip Extension: Start in a high plank position with your hands on the floor and the top of your feet on the ball. Make sure your hands are directly underneath your shoulders. Engage your core so stabilize your body, and using your right glute muscles, raise your right leg off the ball about 6 inches. Hold the position for a few seconds before gently placing it back down and performing the same movement with your left leg. Make sure to keep your leg straight (do not bend at the knee). Repeat until you reach failure.
2. Plank to Pike: Start in a high plank position with your hands on the floor and your shins on the ball. Make sure your hands are directly underneath your shoulders. Engage your core and stabilize your shoulders. Pull your bellybutton in and up toward your spine in order to lift your hips up into the air above your shoulders and only your toes are in contact with the ball. With control, allow your hips to lower back to the start position. Repeat for 10-20 reps or until failure.
3. Supermans: Position the ball under your hips and stomach, with your legs stretched out straight behind you, toes on the ground. It helps to also have your feet against a wall. Stretch your arms straight out, elbows by your ears. Lower your upper body until your hands touch the ground. Using your back muscles, raise your upper body, as far as up as you can, arms staying as straight and close to your ears as possible. Lower with control and repeat 15 reps or until failure.
4. Full Range of Motion Sit-Up: Sit on top of the ball, securing your feet under a stable object. The further back on the ball your butt is, the more challenging this exercise will be. Bend your arms positioning your hands by your ears. Engage your core, and slowly roll your back down the ball one vertebrae at a time. Starting with your chin moving toward your chest, use your abdominal muscles to roll back up one vertebrae at a time pulling your bellybutton in toward your spine throughout the entire movement. If you feel any pain in your lower back stop and position the ball further up on your back so you have more support. If it’s too easy on the other hand, stop and move the ball further down under your butt to make it more difficult. Repeat 15-20 times or until failure.
5. Russian Twists: Start with the stability ball positioned under your upper back. Adjust your feet and lift your hips so that your knees are bent at a 90 degree angle. Arms stretch straight toward the ceiling, hands together. Engage your abs and twist at your midsection, lowering your arms to one side. Alternate, doing a total of 20-30 reps or until failure. Make this exercise more challenging by holding a dumbbell or medicine ball.