Who doesn’t love sit-ups? They’re such a great way to get your core in shape! What’s that? You don’t like sit-ups? Maybe you’ve been doing them wrong, because they can be part of a quick, intense, and highly effective core workout.
Consider alternating between this workout, and my no-equipment core workout.
What You Need
– a stability ball (~26inches diameter)
– some space
– a reasonably non-slip floor
– a 30-second timer that beeps
The Exercises (there are four of them)
1) Stability ball crunches
Lie with your back molded to the ball; aim to have your lower back centered on the top of the ball; let your back arch slightly so that your shoulder-blades are resting on the ball, with your feet firmly on the floor, and your arms straight up. Contract your stomach muscles, so that your belly button is pulled towards your spine; maintain this contraction throughout this exercise. This is the starting position.
Reach your hands directly up towards the ceiling, roughly 6 inches, til your shoulders are more or less level with your lower back. Hold for a second, then return to the starting position.
2) Stability ball bridge
From the previous exercise, roll forward, so that your shoulders are centered on top of the ball, your body is horizontal to the floor, and your knees are bent at ninety degrees with your feet flat on the floor. Relax, and lower your butt about 6 inches. This is the starting position.
Raise your butt to horizontal, and squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement. Hold for a second, then return to the starting position.
3) From the previous exercise, roll back almost to the starting position for exercise 1. This time, your mid back (behind the belly button) is centered on top of the ball, and you keep your spine fairly horizontal, with your knees bent, feet firmly on the floor, and arms raised, with elbows bent and forearms touching each other. Again, contract your stomach muscles for the duration of the exercise. This is the starting position.
Reach your right elbow about 3 inches higher, while simultaneously rotating your upper body slightly so that your elbow is above your belly button. Hold for a second, then return to the starting position.
Repeat, but with your left elbow.
4) Plank / shoulder blade squeeze
Get into a plank position on the stability ball, with the ball below your knees, or shins (if balance is too much of an issue, you can do this on the floor instead). This is the starting position.
Lower your body slighly (while keeping both your arms and your body straight) by drawing your shoulder blades together. Squeeze for a second, then raise your body slightly, so that your back is slightly arched between your shoulders.
Before starting on this core workout, try each of the exercises on its own, to make sure you’re clear on exactly how they should be done.
– do exercise 1 for 30 seconds
– take a brief break while getting into position for the second exercise
– do exercise 2 for 30 seconds
– take a brief break while getting into position for the third exercise
– do exercise 3 for 30 seconds
– take a brief break while getting into position for the fourth exercise
– do exercise 4 for 30 seconds
– take a brief break while getting into position for the first exercise
– repeat all four exercises a second time
Try this three times a week, and you’re certain to start seeing (and feeling) results in no time!