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An abdominal exercise ball is an inflatable ball, usually made of rubber or a similar material, that is used during exercise. The most common type of ball is generally large enough for an adult to sit on comfortably and is about two feet (61 cm) around. Another type of abdominal exercise ball is slightly smaller than an average sized basketball or soccer ball. Both are used for the same purposes, although the larger model is generally more versatile in the types of exercises that can be completed.
A large abdominal exercise ball is usually used to lie across while doing crunches and other workouts like back bends and leg lifts. The main benefit of doing these moves on an exercise ball rather than on a flat surface is that the person doing them must use his or her abdominal muscles to balance while he or she is also engaging in strength building exercises. This requires someone to work harder and burn fat faster. Even while doing other exercises, the abs are helping to hold the person steady, thus making nearly any exercise an abdominal exercise.
The smaller type of abdominal exercise ball is generally placed behind the back while the person lies on the floor. He or she can then do crunches as usual while on top of the ball. The benefit of this type of ball is that rather than going back to being flat on the floor like with regular crunches, he or she is able to tilt backward slightly while balancing on the ball. This works additional muscles in order to provide a more complete workout.
Both abdominal exercise ball options may be found in department stores, sporting good stores, online, or at certain gyms. They are generally reasonable in price, especially compared to traditional weight machines and other expensive exercise equipment. Use of an exercise ball is also highly recommended by many doctors and nutritionists not only for losing weight, but also to improve balance.
There are children’s version of the abdominal exercise ball which can be used for exercise, or for physical therapy and balance improvement. They are generally of the larger variety, only instead of being completely round, they usually sit on top of a base to prevent injuries. These may be found in some sporting good stores, toy stores, or children’s specialty shops.