It’s time for a little gratitude. Every time I do one of this week’s core exercises, I am intensely grateful that I am not doing planks. Even when the moves are hard, it’s OK, because at least they aren’t boring.
Perhaps my favourite moment of the Lifehacker fitness challenge so far was the day that we were done with the plank challenge. I hate planks. Luckily, it’s possible to work out your core without having to do a single plank.
So today we bring you some moves you can do with an exercise ball (stability ball, Swiss ball, whatever you want to call it). Most gyms have a ball, or a few, and if not it’s a cheap investment and a handy thing to keep around. If you have small children, they will try to knock each other over with it. Up to you if that’s a plus or a minus.
So here are a few things you can try, starting with the hardest:
Stability ball pike
This starts in what looks like a plank position (hands on the ground, body flat) but the tops of your feet are on the ball. Then you raise your butt into the air, keeping your legs straight, and your feet on the ball. This is hard. It hurts, you might fall over, and it’s also basically handstand practice. (Remember when we did handstands?) So naturally this one is my favourite even though I can barely do it.
Stability ball knee tuck
This is the easier version of the above, and if you want to do the pike someday you should master this first. Start in the same position, but keep your back flat the whole time. Bend your knees to roll the ball underneath you, then extend your legs to go back to the starting position.
You can do this without the ball, but it’s more fun to do it with. Squeeze the ball between your feet while you lie on your back. Keeping your legs straight, lift the ball in the air and grab it with your hands. Lie down again. Then pass the ball back from your hands to your feet, and repeat.
Side ball lift
Here’s another move you can do with the ball between your legs. Lie on your side, and squeeze your obliques to lift the ball (and your legs) off the floor.
Oh yeah, if you just want to do crunches, you can do them on the ball. Just drape your upper body over the ball, and you’ll find that crunches are now much harder. That means you can get to that ab-burning feeling with a set of, say, 10 instead of 50.
So those are some ideas for this month. Let us know if you try them! And definitely tell us your favourite exercise ball core exercises that we missed.