Thursday, March 18, 2010

Stability Ball Ab work

Next to Pilates, I think that abdominal work on the stability ball is THE most effective and beneficial to overall core health. I've tried Pilates on the ball and haven't found that mix to my liking. But I love traditional ab work and more innovative ab work on the ball. My very favorite stability ball exercise is the pike, pictured above. I like to do it with a knee tuck in between. I'll share share a few of my favorite stability ball ab workouts, each featuring the pike.

Tracie Long Productions - Core Foundations -- I just highlighted this workout in my post about Tracie Long, but I'll mention it again because it is the most complete stability ball core workout I've tried. Jeanne Anne Copleston, who was a previous background exerciser in some of the older FIRM workouts, leads this tough and creative 45 minute core workout. She uses the stability ball, a medicine ball, and a paper plate to challenge the whole abdominal region. There are some moves in this workout that I had to work up to when I first tried it -- the pikes, the tick-tocks, and the one-legged plank work. But I grew to be able to do most everything after just doing it a few times. I'd start out doing it 2 or 3x a week, then would just do it once a week after mastering the moves. Jeanne Anne is a delight because she's genuinely cheerful and down-to-earth. Some complain about the set -- it's not lovely, but it works just fine. With a ball workout like this, you're working so hard that you don't notice the set much anyway. The music is good, the sound goes up a few times when the microphone gets closer to Jeanne Anne because she's tucking her chin, but other than that, it's pretty much a perfect ab workout. Here are some reviews from if you'd like to learn more.

Cathe Friedrich's Pyramid Upper Body -- In Cathe's Intensity Series, she created two strength training workouts that compliment each other. Pyramid Upper Body and Pyramid Lower Body challenge the muscles by increasing in weight (and decreasing in reps) for each set up the pyramid and decreasing the weights (and increasing in reps) in further sets going back down the pyramid. By the time you are back at your lightest weights with the least amount of reps, your muscles are quivering. She ends each workout with a stability ball segment. These segments are my favorite stability ball add-0ns of all. Sometimes I combine them for a tough quick 21 minute challenge to my legs and abs. The ab work on Pyramid Upper Body is just 13 minutes long, but it is PLENTY to challenge your abdominals. It includes traditional ab work that you might normally do on the floor without the ball and some tough plank & pike work. If you advance the following video to 4:28 into the clip, you'll see a sample of the exercises. The pikes are at 5:43.

Cathe Friedrich's Kick Punch & Crunch -- This kickboxing workout has a short 7 minute stability ball segment to work the abs at the end. This morning I slept in, so I just did the 30 minute pre-mix of kickboxing combinations, then added on the ab work at the end. The pikes kept my heart rate up from the cardio and my heart was pumping good by the time I got to the stretch. The ab work is 4:38 into the video clip, pikes at 6:08.

Quick Fix Stability Ball Abs
-- Keli Roberts leads this workout and another one of a very similar title (Quick Fix Pilates Abs). Both are great, but don't confuse the two if you're looking for stability ball work. In Quick Fix Stability Ball Abs, there are 3 segments, one for the abdominals, one for upper body (arms and back) and one for lower body (legs and glutes). In many of the Quick Fix or 10 Minute Solution workouts, the exercises are geared to beginner or intermediate exercisers. Not in this abs section! (Not in the Pilates QF either -- it's tough!) If you have enough time to do all 30 minutes, challenge yourself by using heavier weights than you might usually use for the upper and lower sections and you will challenge your core throughout. Keli is a pleasure to workout with too. This is a really brief clip of the workout and most of it is from the upper and lower body segments. Here are some reviews if you're a review junkie like I am :).

1 comment:

  1. Hi Renee, just found your blog by accident & love it! I'm a huge tracie long fan too. Have you ever tried the core w/o called Corecuts w/ Kimberly sprain & rob flick? If so, what do you think about it? Tia belle :)