An ab ball, also referred to as an abdominal ball, balance ball, crunch ball, or stability ball, is a piece of fitness equipment used for exercising the abdominal muscles. The ab ball is a large, inflatable plastic ball designed to withstand the heavier weight of a person. They are sold in most fitness stores or online, and are a very popular piece of fitness equipment to take an ab workout to the next level of difficulty.
An ab ball may come in various sizes, but most are approximately 2 feet (.6 meters) or larger in diameter. There are many different ways to use an ab ball that go far beyond simple crunches, and can work the muscles in the entire body. One of the main benefits to working out on an unstable surface such as this type of fitness ball is that body is constantly readjusting to keep itself balanced and prevent falling off. These small adjustments work muscle groups that are rarely used in everyday life or when working out, and they can help to improve balance, posture, and coordination.
In addition, many people find that working out on the soft surface of an ab ball is more comfortable and gentler on the spine than when exercising on a hard floor. The stability ball also works all of the abdominal muscles in the front, sides, and back of the body, which can be difficult to do with a more traditional ab routine. Finally, the abdominal ball offers greater extension and stretch in the muscles that is simply not possible on the floor.
This happens because the spine can bend backward when doing a crunch on the abdominal ball, which helps to stretch the muscles. It also takes more strength and energy to return from the stretched, extended position, which helps to strengthen the abs. Keep in mind then doing crunches on an ab ball that the feet should rest flat on the floor, with the knees bent and the middle of the back resting on the ball; keep the arms and hands up behind the head. Take care not to stretch the neck and hang the head back; try to keep the head in line with the spine.
Aside from just doing crunches on an ab ball, there are other options for exercising as well. Push-ups and side planks can be done with a stability ball, though it might be best to use a smaller stability ball for side planks. In addition, some trainers recommend a type of modified push-up in which the ball is rolled forward with the feet, causing the user to bend his or her knees while doing a push up. Search online for directions for exercises to be done with an ab ball.