5 ways to tone your abs with an exercise ball

Here’s how to get a core of steel

While this year has placed a huge emphasis on getting your booty in shape (and we have more than a handful of red carpet and Instagram celebrities to thank for that, such as Jennifer Lopez and Khloe Kardashian), we’re all for toning the rest of your body, too. One area that requires just as much focus and practice is your core - Jenna Douros, Master Trainer and Technogym Wellness Ambassador, shares with us five exercises, from easy to hard to tone the area. All you need is an exercise ball.

#1 / Stability ball sit-ups

If you find that you strain your back when you do normal sit-ups on the floor, then adding a ball could take the pressure off.
Difficulty level: 1/5
How to do it:
1. Lie with the small of your back resting on the stability ball and your hands behind your head with your elbows open.
2. Move your upper body up towards the roof in a sit-up position then lower yourself back down in a controlled motion.
3. Focus on keeping your back pressed against the ball, your chin off your chest and your elbows open.

#2 / Leg raises

This one is totally rewarding as you’ll be strengthening your core as well as your leg muscles. Complete it slowly to reap its rewards.
Difficulty: 2/5
How to do it:
1. Lay on the ground with the wellness ball situated between your legs.
2. Grasp the ball tightly between your calves, engage your core and lift your legs up in the air.
3. Slowly lower your legs back down and repeat 10 times.

#3 / Push-ups

This exercise may seem easy, but adding a ball into the mix will engage your core, and you’ll transfer more weight to your hands and thus increase the resistance for your chest and shoulders.
Difficulty level: 3/5
How to do it:
1. Start in a plank position with your feet on the ball.
2. Place your hands shoulder width apart – make sure you don’t hyperextend your back and keep your core strong.
3. Lower your chest to the floor and push up.
4. Hold tension in your core and keep your body in alignment.

#4 / Stability ball pike with push-up

This is an advanced core workout that targets the abs, shoulders, arms and chest, and it may leave you breathless. However, these exercises aren’t meant to be easy!
Difficulty level: 3/5
How to do it:
1. Start with the ball behind you.
2. Move into a plank position with your hands firmly on the ground and lift your feet up onto the ball with your toes pointing down on the ball.
3. From the plank position and while keeping your legs straight, push your hips up towards the roof into full extension. Your head should be looking at your thighs. Hold for a second and then level your body back out to plank position.
4. Add an upper body element by incorporating a push-up.

#5 / Toe taps

This exercise will definitely take a bit of practice to get right, but the results are worth the hard work.
Difficulty level: 4/5
How to do it:
1. Starting in a plank position with your feet on the ball, make sure your core muscles are engaged and your body is stable.
2. Move one foot off the ball to the side and tap the ground. Bring your foot back onto the ball. Repeat with the other foot.
3. For a more advanced workout, complete a toe tap, then once the foot is back in the general plank position bring the knee to your elbow and back to the ball again. Swap legs and repeat.

For more tips on getting fit this season, try Michelle Bridges’ exercises to workout your bum, or read up on our review of Barre Body.

Main image credit: Instagram @taylor_hill

Iantha is BEAUTYcrew's Beauty Editor, and has been part of the team since the site launched in 2016. Besides pinot noir, she has a healthy obsession with fake tan smell, wispy false lashes and CND Shellac in the shade Romantique. Her words and styling can also be found in previous issues of SHOP Til You Drop, Cosmopolitan and Women’s Health.