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Stretching exercises and abdominal exercises are two of the most common ab ball exercises. With a little creativity, however, some other exercises can be modified for the ab ball, such as push-ups or plank exercises. Ab ball exercises are primarily focused on improving core strength, while improving balance and posture. Variations of crunches are some of the most common exercises.
One of the simplest and most frequently used ab ball exercises is a crunch on the ab ball. The user lays with his or her back pressed against the ab ball, with the knees bent, and the feet pressed flat on the floor. Crunches are then done normally, without coming all the way into a sitting position but simply contracting the abdominal muscles. This engages not only the abdominal muscles in the front of the body, but those on the sides as well, because one must work to prevent the ball from rolling to either side.
There are many variations of crunches that can be used as ab ball exercises. Side crunches laying on the ab ball are one example. Other ab ball exercises may be done while laying flat on the floor; for instance, one might place the ab ball between the knees and do knee raises, or hold the ab ball in the hands above the head and do crunches that way, while raising the ball with each crunch. This helps to strengthen other areas of the body and engage different muscle groups. A type of reverse crunch while laying facedown with the stomach on the ball is a terrific way to strengthen the back muscles.
Using the ab ball in a push-up position is another great way to modify exercises. Place the feet on the ball, and then do a push-up as normal. Another option is to lay in a push-up or plank position and rest the feet slightly on either side of the ball, then gently roll the ball from side to side. In addition, ab ball exercises that use the ball to deepen a stretch are very effective as well.
Again, one may lay with one's back on the ball and stretch the legs straight out with the arms overhead; this is a great way to stretch the ab muscles and the lower back. Laying on the floor with the feet up on the ball, then gently raising and lowering the hips, is a good way to stretch the hip flexors. The ab ball is a versatile piece of fitness equipment that can be used in many different ways; search online for examples of specific exercises.