Out of all the ab training devices and equipment that have come out in recent years, the Swiss Ball has to be the most effective. The Swiss Ball allows you to exercise in natural positions and allows you to fully stretch the back and abs more than you would if you were lying flat on the floor. This gives you a much greater range of motion and works not only the core abdominal muscles, but the stabilizer muscles (small muscles) which in turn contribute to overall strength.
Swiss Ball exercises and workouts help with the development of the upper, lower and oblique ab muscles. You’ll see below just a few exercises, more are featured in the Members Only Area
Reverse Twist (Intermediate Exercise to work the Obliques) To start with sit down on the Swiss Ball just like you’d sit on a chair. Your feet should be shoulder width apart. Take a step forward with your right foot and then your left, while you slowly lean back. The ball will roll forward just enough that you will be positioned comfortably with your shoulders and hips touching the ball as seen above. Placing your hands together and pointing towards the sky, focus here on the oblique muscles (side abs) as you twist your arms almost 90 degrees to the left. As you twist you’ll feel your right shoulder lift off the swiss ball, pause and flex the ab muscles on your left side as hard as you can. Hold the position for two seconds before gently returning to start position. Be sure to work both sides by alternating the position so that you work both the left side and right side. View an animation of Reverse Twist
Lift and Twist (Intermediate Exercises to work the Obliques) First sit on the Swiss Ball and get your balance. Then take a step forward with your right foot and then your left, while you slowly lean back. With a heavy object or medicine ball in your hands extend as far behind your head as possible as shown opposite. Tighten your abs on the side you are going to twist toward. With the ball in your hands lift your upper body forward and to the side of your choice. As you twist your abs you’ll feel both shoulders lift off the bal until your upper body is upright, but with the ball still extended out. View an animation of the Lift and Twist
Side Oblique Crunch (Intermdiate Exercise to work the Obliques) Sit down on the ball and get your balance. Take a step forward with your right foot and then your left foot as you slowly lean back onto the ball. With your feet shoulder width apart, rotate your hips to the right so that your feet are facing that direction, but your torso is twisted and your shoulders are still facing upward. Now, place your hands firmly clasped behind your head. Slowly begin to contract the muscles on your left side while you begin to breath out and move your left elbow upward and forward. Continue to curl your upper body toward your left hip. View Animation of Side Crunch
Hip Rolls (Beginner Exercise to work the obliques and lower abs) Simply lie on the floor with your feet firmly positioned atop the swiss ball. Your knees should be bent at a 90 degree angle. Place your hands on the ground. Once you are comfortable with your position, rotate your hips to your right, you’ll feel the ball move slightly. As you roll your hips be sure to squeeze those abs and obliques in the process. Return to the start position and repeat. After one set, you should then assume the position and perform the exercise to the opposite direction. View Animation of the Hip Roll
Scissor Leg Reverse Curl (Advanced Exercise to work the Lower Abs) Begin the exercise with your back firmly positioned on the floor. With your hands by your sides for support rest the ball in between your legs as shown opposite. Your right heal should be touching the ground, whilst your left heal should be touching the top of the ball. Your left leg should be bent at a 90 degree angle. Once you are fully balanced, lift the ball upwards towards the sky. As you lift you will feel your buttocks lift slightly off the floor. Ensure you contract your lower abdominals throughout the movement. For added intensity, push your hands into the ground harder and lift higher. After a set, change the position with your feet to work the opposite side. View Animation of Leg Reverse Curl
Chest Press (Beginner Exercise to work the entire midsection) First sit on the Swiss Ball and get your balance. Then take a step forward with your right foot and then your left, while you slowly lean back. This is a simple exercise for beginners that can help get you used to balancing on the swiss ball. Simply raise your arms up and down as if you were performing the chest press exercise with a barbell or dumbbells. View Animation of the Chest Press