Exercises for the Stability Ball
There's one cool tool you could be using to fight flab all over, but chances are you're not. "The stability ball is an underrated piece of equipment because people think it's good only for doing crunches," says Nedra Lopez, a coowner of Studio by Remorca Fitness in New York City. Try her game-changing toners on the next page and you'll be so pumped at the results that you may never hit the mat again.
Targets abs, obliques
- Place ball about 2 feet in front of a wall. Lie faceup on ball with lower back on its center, knees bent 90 degrees, feet flat on wall, calves parallel to floor. Lie back on ball so arms hang behind head toward floor. MAKE IT EASIER: Touch hands lightly behind head, elbows bent out to sides.
- Curl shoulders off ball and reach hands toward feet.
- Reverse motion back to start.
- Do 3 sets of 20 reps.
Targets butt, hamstrings
- Stand facing a wall with feet hipwidth apart. Bend left knee behind you with foot flexed and place ball between calf and butt; place hands on wall. MAKE IT EASIER: If ball feels too big to stay put, squeeze a rolled-up towel behind your knee.
- Press left foot up 1 to 2 inches toward ceiling while squeezing ball with leg.
- Do 20 to 25 reps, switch sides and repeat. Do 3 sets.
Targets chest, triceps, abs
- Get in full plank position with hands on center of stability ball under shoulders, thumbs and forefingers touching and feet slightly wider than shoulder-width on floor.
- Slowly bend elbows 90 degrees as ball rolls forward and rest forearms on top of ball.
- Roll ball in toward chest as you straighten arms to return to start.
- Do 3 sets of 15 reps.
- With your back to a wall, lie facedown on ball with hips on its center; place soles of feet against wall, legs extended and toes on floor for support, then drape upper body over ball so arms reach toward floor.
- Lift torso off ball, extending arms overhead until body forms a straight line from hands to feet. Lower.
- Do 3 sets of 20 reps.
Targets shoulders, back, hamstrings
- Stand on left leg with right knee bent 90 degrees behind you, holding ball in front of chest with both hands.
- Hinge forward from hips, extending arms overhead as you straighten right leg until body is parallel to floor.
- Reverse motion back to start. MAKE IT EASIER: Place right foot on floor between reps.
- Do 20 reps, switch sides and repeat. Do 3 sets.
Originally published in FITNESS Magazine, October 2012.