If you’re working out at home right now and looking for ways to mix up your routine, consider adding an exercise ball into the mix. (If you don’t have one, they’re a little easier to come by than a set of dumbbells.) Often underestimated, exercise balls are an extremely versatile piece of equipment that can come in handy for many types of workouts, especially for abs.
“A stability or exercise ball is a great piece of equipment you can use to create a dynamic workout virtually anywhere,” says , instructor at Barry’s Bootcamp and cofounder of the . “Because of the ball’s soft, bouncy quality, when you exercise with it, it will challenge you to maintain proper alignment, stability, and strength when performing movements. It’s like taking your basic abs moves and kicking it up a notch.”
It makes sense that you’d want to up the intensity of your core workouts, since targeting all those muscles helps maintain your position on the bike and power you up hills.
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That’s why Clayton came up with this six-exercise circuit that’ll work your abs and incorporates just an exercise ball, so you can reap all of its unique benefits and switch up your regular routine to build a strong core—no gym required.
How to use this list: The exercises below are all demonstrated by Clayton herself so you can learn the proper form. Perform as many reps as possible of each for 1 minute before moving on to the next. Rest for one minute between rounds. Compete 3 rounds.
Squat With Ball Overhead
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and hold exercise ball overhead. Send hips back and bend knees to lower down as far as possible while keeping your chest lifted and core engaged. Press through heels and continue to engage core and glutes to return back to the starting position. Complete as many reps as you can for 1 minute.
With the exercise ball in front of you, start in plank position with your elbows resting on top of the ball and core engaged so your body forms a straight line from head to heels. Draw right knee in toward chest, then return to starting position. Bring left knee in toward chest, then return to starting position. Continue to alternate legs as fast as possible for 1 minute.
Start in a high plank position with shoulders over wrists, but instead of placing your feet on the floor, rest your shins on an exercise ball. Bend your left elbow to your left forearm to the floor. Lower your right forearm to the floor. Extend your right arm, then your left arm back to starting position. Continue to repeat, alternating which arm you start with each time, for 1 minute.
Plank to Pike
Start in a high plank position with shoulders over wrists, but instead of placing your feet on the floor, rest your shins on an exercise ball. Engage your core to lift hips straight up as you roll the ball forward to your toes. Return to starting position. Complete as many reps as you can for 1 minute.
Start by sitting on the exercise ball with your feet flat on the floor. Lean back while walking yourself out along the ball until your shoulders, upper back, and lower back touch the ball. Place fingertips behind ears. Engage core and keep chin lifted as you perform as many sit-ups as you can for 1 minute.
Jackknife Ball Pass
Lie faceup on a mat, holding the exercise ball overhead, legs straight out in front of you. Engage core to lift head, neck, and shoulders off the mat as you bring the ball over your chest, draw your legs toward hands. Pass the ball from hands to feet at the top of the move. Lower legs slowly with the ball clasped between feet. Return the ball from feet to hands on the next rep. Complete as many reps as possible for 1 minute.
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