The Swiss ball, a piece of exercise equipment, is a large, rubber ball that comes to a height approximately at the midpoint of your knees and thighs. Incorporating this piece of equipment into your abdominal and core routine is a great way to shake up your workout. For the best results, be sure to find a Swiss ball that is relatively sturdy and can support your weight when used to sit upon. Here are three exercises to engage in with the help of a Swiss ball:
1. Diagonal Crunch
One of the best exercises that you can perform with a Swiss ball in order to increase muscle tone in your abs and core is the diagonal crunch. Unlike the traditional crunch, which typically only focuses on the abdominal muscles, the diagonal crunch also incorporates the oblique muscles, which are located on the sides of your torso, over the ribcage. Increasing tone in these muscles leads to a greater degree of overall stability to the core, thereby preventing back pain and contributing to calorie burn.
To perform the exercise, start by sitting on the swiss ball with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lace your fingers behind your head with your elbows pointed out towards the sides. Your spine should be straight, with your head reaching towards the sky. Take a deep breath and exhale. As you do so, lower your back towards the floor. As you inhale, lift your chest towards the sky. Rotate slightly from the waist, bringing your right elbow towards your left knee. Lower your body back towards the ground, and as you raise, bring your left elbow towards your right knee. Continue performing this exercise until you have done 10 repetitions on each side. Rest and do one more set.
The plank is another great exercise that targets several muscle groups of the core. To perform this exercise, bring your elbows on the center of the swiss ball and your knees on the ground. You should look like you are praying. Carefully lift your knees off the ground, and step your feet back slightly so your body is in a straight line from your feet to your shoulders. Hold this pose for 20 seconds and rest. Do one more set of the exercise for best results.
3. Leg Drop
The leg drop is an exercise that incorporates the swiss ball and can be used to strengthen the abdominal muscles, as well as the hip flexors. To perform this exercise, start by laying on your back, holding the ball between your feet. Carefully lift your legs towards the sky with the ball still between them. Ideally, the ball should be kept as straight as possible. Exhale a deep breath, and slowly lower your legs towards the ground until the bottom of the ball slightly touches the ground. As it does so, inhale your breath and raise your legs and the ball back to their starting position. Do 10 repetitions of the exercise and rest. Perform one more set of 10 repetitions of leg drops for best results.