With everything that you've got going on in your life, taking time to tighten your core is probably not a high priority. Sure, you'd love to have tight abs, and you exercise when you can, but your core could definitely use some more attention.
An easy way to incorporate core strengthening into your exercise routine is to work the following exercise ball moves into your routine. As with other exercises, make sure you warm-up before using an exercise ball.
When performing these exercises, keep your back straight, avoid locking your knees, and remember to breathe properly. The size of ball you use should be based on your height and weight. When sitting on a ball, your thighs should be parallel to the ground. Lastly, choose dumbbell weights based on your fitness level.
#1: Ball Push-Up
A great way to work your chest, triceps, upper pectoral, and core muscles is the ball push-up. Rest your upper thighs on the ball and place your hands on the floor shoulder width apart. Lower your upper body toward the ground until your arms are bent at 90 degrees, and then lift back up. This inclined position really targets your chest.
#2: Ball Sit-Up
Using the ball for sit-ups works your abdominal, core, and hip muscles. Sit on the top front of the ball and place your hands behind your head. Lie back until your back is touching the ball, and then slowly sit back up straight, lifting with your abs and not your neck.
#3: Ball Arm-Leg Extension
Alternating arm-leg extensions using the ball targets just about all major muscle groups—especially the buttocks, hamstrings, and upper and lower back muscles. Get on all fours with the exercise ball placed under your abdomen. Simultaneously lift and straighten your left leg and right arm. Extend them away from the body's center while keeping your hips stable and balancing on the ball. Finally, bring your leg and arm back toward the ball. Perform eight extensions before switching sides.
#4: One-Legged Ball Squat
To work your quadriceps and buttocks, ball squats are a great option. Stand up straight and place your right ankle on top of the ball behind you so your weight is on your left leg. Slowly lower your body until your left leg is bent at the knee at 90 degrees and your right leg extends behind you. Rise back up and lower again. Alternate sides after 10 squats.
#5: Lying Ball Squeeze
Targeting your inner thighs, back, and buttocks, the ball squeeze is performed by lying on your back and holding the ball between your lower legs. Squeeze the ball while lifting your buttocks off the floor and squeezing your thighs together. Lower your back down to the floor and repeat.
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