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What Is an Ab Balance?

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  • Written By: Kelly Ferguson
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 16 November 2016
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An ab balance is an exercise that works out the abdominal muscles, which may help tone and tighten the midsection. An ab balance exercise can be performed with or without extra equipment such as resistance bands, a balance ball or disk, or a weighted medicine ball. Additionally, an ab balance exercise can incorporate movement such as situps or it may just require stationary balancing.

The most common way to do an ab balance exercise is to sit on the floor, or on a balance disk or ball if available, with the feet flat on the floor in front of the body and the knees bent. From this position, lean back until the abdominal muscles are engaged. At this point, the feet might be raised off of the ground to increase the difficulty and turn the exercise into a true balancing exercise, or the feet may remain planted on the floor or wedged under a heavy object to keep them steady in place during the rest of the exercise.

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With the legs raised, a bicycling motion with the legs and feet can increase the intensity of the ab balance exercise and bring the obliques into the workout. Alternatively, the legs can remain straight and be slowly raised and lowered to work the full range of the abdominal muscles. Also, the upper body can be lowered to the floor and lifted back up in a situp motion. Lowering both the upper body and the legs to the floor at the same time and then raising back up into a balancing "V" shape is another good way to intensify the exercise. A slight twisting motion through the torso can be used to work the obliques, but this should be done cautiously to avoid injuring the spine.

Using equipment can help maximize results and improve comfort during the exercise. Sitting on a soft balance disk or ball can provide more cushion than sitting on the floor while also stabilizing the hips so the ab muscles are isolated and worked, as opposed to the hip flexor muscles. To add a high level of intensity to the exercise, resistance bands can be looped around an object or held by an assistant and used to resist the movement and pull either the upper or lower body back toward the floor. Holding a weighted medicine ball to the chest also adds a large amount of resistance, especially when performing a situp motion.

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