By Valerie Rush
If you're looking for a new way to work the abs using an exercise ball, knee tucks are great for targeting balance, stability and, core strength. The arms and torso help stabilize your body as you crunch the knees in then, at the end of the movement, you get your abs involved by squeezing them as your knees come towards the chest.
To get the most out of this move, try not to collapse the back as you roll the knees in.
1) Lie on top of the ball. Tighten your abs & slowly walk your hands forward until your things/shins are resting on the ball. This will resemble a push up position. You will want the ball either under the shins/ankles (easier) or with the tops of the feet (harder).
2) Bend the knees and roll the ball in towards the chest, contracting the abs (Exhale) With abs tight, exhale as you tuck your knees into your chest.
3) (Inhale) Return to the starting position.
4) Do 3 sets of 10-15
Tip:* Make sure you keep your body aligned (legs, hips, spine, neck) and your shoulders pushed back throughout this exercise.
*Stability Ball pikes are a more advanced version of the knee tucks and involve using the abs to pull your body up into a pike position all while keeping the legs straight. You should feel very comfortable using the stasbility ball before you try this version. A great way to incorporate both is to alternate a knee tuck with a pike. 3 sets of 10-15
Stability Ball Pikes
These are an advanced version of the stability ball knee tucks. You can always modify the move by keeping the knees slightly bent or by shortening the range of motion and only lifting the hips a few inches, only lifting higher as you get stronger.
The key to making this move challenging is to use the abs to draw the hips up, rolling the feet on top of the ball.
1. Get into a pushup position with the ball under the thighs/shins (easier) or the tops of the feet (harder).
2. Make sure the body is straight, back flat and the abs engaged.
3. Squeeze the abs and lift the hips up towards the ceiling, rolling the feet on top of the ball.
4. Keep the legs straight for more of a challenge, ending in a straight-leg pike with the toes on the ball.
5. Return to start
6. 3 sets of 10-15
More about Valerie Rush:
Valerie Rush is a nationally certified fitness professional and owner of Vertical Fitness Studio. Valerie teaches Pole Fitness classes, Cardio-Strength classes as well as Aerial Hoop/Lyra. Her website is http://www.VerticalFitnessStudio.com.
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