Body balls are training tools that are made out of durable rubber and they get inflated to various diameters. Training on a body ball can help you achieve results because your body is forced to contract multiple muscle fibers to stay balanced. When you want to specifically target your abs, you need to execute strict form. Aim for 15 to 20 reps and three to four sets of your exercises.
Alternating Arm Swings
Alternating arm swings are performed with light dumbbells. Lie face-up on the ball with your head and shoulders resting comfortably on top. Lift your hips up to form a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Hold the dumbbells straight above your chest with your palms facing your knees. Maintain a slight bend in your elbows as you lower your right arm behind your head and lower your left arm down to the outside of your left thigh in a smooth, sweeping motion. Stop when both arms are parallel to the floor. Reverse the move so your left arm is behind your head and your right arm is by your right thigh. Keep going back and forth in a smooth motion. Although this exercise seems like it works your shoulders and arms, your abs have to contract forcefully when you move the dumbbells back and forth.
Leg lifts are intense lower ab exercises, and you need a weight bench to perform them. Lie face-up on the ball with your head and shoulders slightly elevated. Reach back and grab the bench with both hands. Raise your legs off the ground to get them level. Lift them straight up until you form a 90-degree angle with your body, lower them back down, and repeat.
Oblique twists on the ball are executed with a medicine ball. Lie face-up on the ball with your shoulders and head slightly elevated. Hold the medicine ball behind your head with both hands. Lift your body up and rotate to your right side. As you are doing this, move the ball over your body and down to the outside of your right thigh in an arcing motion. Reverse the move to go back to the starting point and repeat going to your left side. Keep alternating back and forth.
Abdominal Side Pull-ins
Abdominal side pull-ins are performed from a face-down position. This exercise works your whole abdominal area with a focus on your obliques. Place your lower shins on the ball and place your hands on the floor, straight below your shoulders. Lift your hips and keep your back straight as you roll the ball towards your head. Pull your knees up towards the right side of your chest and squeeze for a second. Roll the ball back out and repeat to your left side. Keep alternating back and forth.
Passovers, also called exchanges, work your upper and lower abs simultaneously. Lie face-up on the floor with the ball behind your head and your legs straight. Grab the ball and raise it over your body as you simultaneously lift your legs. Pinch the ball with your lower legs and lower it toward the floor as you lower your upper body toward the floor. Stop your arms and the ball before they make contact and reverse the move. Keep bringing the ball back and forth over your body.
Long Lever Crunches
Long lever crunches are performed from a face-up position on the floor. Place your heels on top of the ball with your knees bent. Extend your arms back behind your head and curl your body up off the floor. Squeeze your abs forcefully, lower yourself back down and repeat. Do not let your arms move forward when you do this exercise.
The idea of seated balances is to do everything in your power not to move your body. Sit on the ball with your feet on the floor and a table nearby. Place one hand on the table and slowly lift your feet off the floor. When you feel comfortable, carefully remove your hand and balance with no floor contact. Feel your abs working to hold you upright.
About this Author
Kevin Rail has worked in the fitness industry since 2001 and has been writing since 2004. He has professional experience as a certified personal trainer, wellness coach, motivational engineer and freelance fitness writer. He currently writes a monthly column for Ron Jones High-Performance Health. Rail has a bachelor’s degree in sports management: fitness and wellness from California University of Pennsylvania.