Stability Ball

Abdominal Roll Outs

From the kneeling position, place the wrists onto the ball in a “karate chop” and begin rolling it away.

On the extension, keep the same angle at the shoulder as you have at the hip . . .

. . . until you are extended as far as you feel comfortable.

To return, draw the elbows back at the same time as the hips to return smoothly and evenly.

Back Extensions

Lay slumped over the ball with your feet braced quite wide apart against a wall.

Begin the exercise with the cervical (neck) region by lifting the head; then the shoulders and arms are lifted up to begin the thoracic spine extension, all down the back to the tailbone.

The last area to fire up is the glutes (buttocks).

To return, move through the above sequence in reverse, bending back first at the tail bone, then up the small of the back and spine and the last thing to come to rest is your head.

Throughout the manouevre try to feel your spinal column, and every vertebrae in it, move one piece at a time.

Abdominal Curls

Lay back on the ball, with feet wide apart for balance and comfortable angles at the knee and hips.

Ready your arms as if to “dive” into the ceiling, and brace up the tummy as if pulling the tummy button back to meet the spine.

Curl off the ball one vertebrae at a time, pushing your hands and arms up into the air. Lower yourself back onto the ball under control to finish the exercise.

Try not to let the ball roll back and forth; it will stay pretty much motionless if the coreect abdominal muscles are being used.

Hand Stand Jack-knife

Adopt the press-up position with your feet and lower shins on the ball.

Engage the hip flexors until the backside starts to rise in the air. Keep the legs straight and you come to . . .

. . . a half-body handstand. Great training to build your upper body up for hands stands – good for gymnasts and capoeira enthusiasts – while the hip flexor action makes it suitable for most team sports as a strength builder.

Oblique Twists

Lay back on the ball, with feet wide apart for balance and comfortable angles at the knee and hips.

Place your arms wide with fingers at temples, and brace up the tummy as if pulling the tummy button back to meet the spine.

The curling action is similar to standard ab curls, but put a really good twist in, and you’ll feel the obliques – the core rotation muscles – kick in powerfully.

Remember the exercise lies not in the curl but the twist.

Straight Jack-knife

From the press-up position with feet raised on the ball, begin drawing the ball forward . . .

. . . keep the knees together and the arms straight, and maintain a strong back for good results.

When returning to the first position, look for stability and control to maximise your results.

Back Bridge

As with the calisthenic version, this requires the knees to be “locked” at around a ninety degree angle to get the most out of the glutes.

Here you can see the arms held out wide for support and balance. To progress the exercise forward in terms of balance training, simply fold your arms.

Hamstring Curls

From the raised Back Bridge position, straighten out the legs to get the supine plank position, but don’t let your knees lock.

For an incredible hamstring exercise, flex the knees with the hamstrings back the ninety degrees of the Back Bridge, and keep the hips rigid and straight as the ball rolls back in.

Hip Flexor Raise

A really good core exercise that’s a lot harder than it looks. From sitting on a ball with weight spread evenly across both feet, raise one foot three inches off the ground, hold it there for 5 seconds and return.

OK, now do it facing a mirror, and do it without moving any of your body other than the leg. JUST THE LEG!

Core Balance Training – Box

A nice trick for cooling down from strength training, anywhere in a proprioception or endurance phase and just because it’s fun, try standing with feet shoulder width apart and roll a ball against your shins.

Place your hands on the ball and bring your whole bodyweight onto those four points of contact evenly spaced around the ball: youe two hands and two knees.

Core Balance Training – Kneeling

A step on from the box is kneeling on a stability ball.

Try doing three continuous minutes of this after a heavy legs workout!