A stability ball adds a whole new dimension to exercises you're already familiar with. The stability ball has also been called a balance ball, because your body goes through numerous involuntary muscular contractions to maintain your balance while using the ball. These involuntary muscular contractions required to maintain your balance while using a stability ball add a level of intensity to any workout. One workout that benefits greatly by the addition of a Stability Ball is the old standard, the crunch.
Step 1: Beginning Position
Clear your exercise area and place your Stability Ball on the floor. Lean back on your Stability Ball so that your lower back is supported by it. You can use a stool or a cushion to elevate your feet just a bit to make yourself more comfortable. Place your hands on the side of your head and you're ready to begin the exercise.
Step 2: Lift Your Upper Body
Contract your core group muscles, the upper and lower abdominals and raise your upper body as much as you can. Don't use your hands to 'pull' your head and shoulders up; use only your abdominal muscles to obtain the greatest benefit from this exercise.
Step 3: Perform the Workout
Each time you lift your upper body and lower it back down is a single rep. A full workout will begin with 10 sets which each consist of 10 reps.
Increase the Intensity of the Workout
The easiest way to obtain more benefit from this workout is to perform more reps and sets. Instead of 10 sets of 10 reps each, increase it to 15 sets of 15 reps each. You can also add some intensity to the workout by increasing the range of motion. Instead of starting from a straight body position, arch your back around the exercise ball. Add a twist as your raise your upper body to bring your lateral obliques into play. Another way to add a good deal of intensity to this exercise is to perform a double leg lift as you perform the crunch.
Muscle Groups Targeted
This exercise is a core group exercise. This means that it targets your abdominals, both the upper and lower abdominals. Adding a twisting motion to the exercise will cause your lateral obliques to be worked also.
Exercise Injury Free
Properly warming up your muscles prior to a workout and cooling them off after is vital to exercising injury free. Perform a set or two of two-touches and windmills prior to performing a full set of stretching exercises, both before and after beginning your daily exercise routine. A full set of stretching exercises will help maintain your flexibility and the elasticity of your muscles.
If you're just embarking on a new exercise regimen, you should consult with your physician to ensure your body is ready to begin exercising.