A push up plank on a stability ball combines the arm strengthening motion of a push up with the abdominal workout of the plank position. This exercise will work your triceps (the muscles underneath your upper arms) and your pectorals (the muscles that lie under breast tissue) as well as your core abdominal muscles. This exercise is also easy to adjust for different ability levels, from beginner to more advanced athletes.
How to Perform a Push Up Plank on a Stability Ball
You should try to have the right size stability ball for this exercise. Measure the ball by sitting on it, and placing your feet flat on the ground in front of you. If your knees are at a right angle, the ball is a suitable size. Make sure the area you use the ball in doesn’t have any sharp objects and that your ball is anti-burst.
- Kneel with the ball behind you. Put your hands flat on the floor around shoulder-width apart and shift your weight onto them, straightening your arms. Carefully lift your legs onto the ball and, if necessary, roll it back until your legs and back are fully extended and the ball is under your ankles and shins. You should look like you are about to do a normal push up, with the ball under your legs, your arms straight and your hands directly under your shoulders.
- Keeping your back and legs straight, lower your chest toward the ground. Keep your stomach muscles tight and your head down so you are facing the ground.
- Raise yourself back to your starting position and repeat. Remember to do this exercise slowly and smoothly, keeping your back as straight as possible. It can be tempting to try and use momentum to make them easier, but that reduces the effectiveness of the exercise and can cause you injury.
How to Increase and Decrease the Difficulty of a Push Up Plank
If these are too advanced, try them with the ball situated under your hips and pelvis. Remember to keep your legs straight, and the muscles there tense, as they will be sticking out behind the ball. You can also reduce the amount you bend your arms. As you grow stronger, roll the ball further back to your thighs, and then knees and finally the shins. For increasing the difficultly continue rolling the ball back, although you should keep your feet flat, and not try to rest your weight on pointed toes.
To make it easier to balance on the ball you can set it against a wall with your ankles resting on it, but this decreases the effect the exercise will have on your abdominal muscles. You can increase the difficulty or target different muscles by moving the position of your hands so that they are more widely or more closely spaced than shoulder width. Placing them so your thumbs are touching (with fingers spread) concentrates on the triceps.