Group fitness participants regularly request ab workouts, but it can get boring to do the same crunches and sit-ups each class. One of my favorite ways to add variation is to do ab workouts using equipment that’s normally collecting dust in the corner. We rarely use stability balls, because they take up a lot of room during class and most gyms only offer a limited supply. If you choose to teach ab workouts and you’re using a limited supply of stability balls, you can ask participants to pair up, or incorporate stations.
Here are four stability ball ab workouts and tips on how to cue each one.
Stability Ball Ab Workouts #1: The Rainbow
Ask your group fitness members to lay on their back and place the ball between their calves and ankles. Depending on the size of the individual, the ball may take up more or less space between their legs. And if participants want to modify, they can also put the ball lower between their knees for a shorter “lever”.
Then, participants will keep their legs straight as they lower their feet towards the floor. At the same time, lower your hands towards the floor. After, raise the feet and arms back towards the ceiling, and grab the ball. Then, everyone will do the reverse, holding the ball as it lowers towards the floor and bringing feet towards the ground.
Stability Ball Ab Workouts #2: Sit-ups w/ the Stability Ball
You can easily transition participants from The Rainbow into this next exercise. Ask participants to hold the ball in their hands, lying flat on the ground. Notice that the ball is directly over their shoulders. Then, members will sit straight up, and hold the ball over their shoulders once more. From there, they’ll come back down to the floor.
As participants improve, their goal is to keep their legs on the ground the whole time, arms and backs straight.
Stability Ball Lower Back Workouts #1: Modified Superman
It’s important to keep in mind that we always want to balance our exercises. If we do a lot of abdominal work, we’ll want to turn over and exercise our lower backs, as well. These next two exercises are not “ab workouts”, but they will help balance out our core by strengthening our lower backs.
Have participants lower themselves onto the ball so that their lower tummies and hips are resting on the ball, legs are extended out behind them. If they’d like, they can press their feet against the corner of a wall to help stabilize them. From there, place your hands by your face, with elbows out towards the side walls, and lift your chest and head a few inches higher by squeezing your lower back muscles.
You’ll want to think of your body like a “V” instead of a “U”, so don’t think about curving your lower back and pulling it towards your gluts. Instead, think about raising your head toward the ceiling.
Stability Ball Lower Back Workouts #2: Superman
Once you’ve mastered the Modified Superman, then you can progress to the traditional Superman. It’s the same thing, except this time your arms are extended out in front of you like Superman. Ask participants to straighten their arms as much as they can.
There are so many different ab workouts you can do with a stability ball. Check back in on Wednesday for more ideas.