6 Physioball Moves That’ll Tone Your Core

Looking for the perfect piece of equipment to get a tight core this summer? The Physioball, also known as a Swiss ball or an exercise ball, is a great addition to any workout. Here are 6 of my favorite exercise moves that’ll tone your entire lower body—especially your legs and butt.

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The Move: Physioball Crunches

What it works: Abdominals


How to do it:
Lay supine, positioning the Physioball under your lower back.  Position your feet firmly on the floor in front of you and place both hands behind your head. Allow yourself to go into spinal extension so that you are leaning all the way back on the ball. As you exhale, contract your core muscles to crunch upwards to a neutral spine. As you inhale, lower your body all the way back down. Perform 20-30 repetitions.

Safety tip: Keep you chin slightly tucked and allow the weight of your head to drop into your hands so that you are not straining from the neck.  Keep elbows wide.
The Move: Knee Tucks


What it works:
Abdominals and shoulders

How to do it: Begin in a push-up position with the tops of your feet on the ball. On an exhale, engage your core to tuck your knees in, rolling the ball towards your hands. As you exhale, extend both legs behind you, rolling the ball back out. Perform 8 repetitions.

Safety tip:  Keep your shoulders and triceps engaged to prevent yourself from caving in your mid and upper back.
The Move: Jack Knife


What it works:
Abdominals and shoulders

How to do it: Begin in a push-up position with the tops of your feet on the ball. As you exhale, engage your abdominals to lift your hips up into the air, allowing the ball to roll on the tops of your feet creating an upside down V-shape with your body. On an inhale, extend the legs back behind you to return to a push-up position. Perform 8 repetitions.

Safety tip:  If you feel a strain in your back, first begin with knee tucks and advance to a jack knife as you become more comfortable with the exercise.

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The Move: Physioball Push-Ups


What it works:
  Chest, shoulders, triceps, and abdominals

How to do it: Begin in a push-up position with your feet on the Physioball and your hands flat on the ground, slightly wider than shoulder width. On an inhale, lower your chest down towards the ground to perform a push-up.  Exhale to press back up to straight arms. Do 10-15 repetitions.

Safety tip:  Keep your neck extended to prevent any crunching in the cervical spine.

The Move: Physioball Roll Outs


What it works:
Abdominals

How to do it: Begin in a plank position with your forearms on the Physioball.  Keeping the abdominals contracted, roll the ball from your elbows to your fist and back.  This is a very small movement but should feel very intense in the abdominals. To work into the obliques, roll the ball slightly to the left and then to the right. Perform 10 repetitions.

Safety tip: Keep your body lifted up and off of the Physioball by pressing your forearms into the  ball. Maintain a neutral spine with a contracted core and long neck.
The Move: Physioball Wall Squats


What it works:
Hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps, and calves

How to do it: Begin by placing the Physioball between yourself and a wall, positioned at your lower back. Walk your feet out approximately 6 inches in front of you, hip width apart with toes pointing forwards. Lean your weight into the ball as you bend at the hips and knees to lower your body down into a squat position. Keep lowering down, until your thighs are parallel to the ground, and your knees are bent at 90 degrees. To return to standing, drive your heels into the ground and lean into the Physioball as you extend the legs. Perform 15-20 repetitions.

Safety tip:  Maintain contact between your entire back and the Physioball throughout the exercise.  You may also extend your arms in front of you to help with balance.

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Jennifer Lutz is a certified personal trainer and yoga instructor. Every other Wednesday she writes “KnowMore Moves,” a column that focuses on a different piece of fitness equipment and shows you how to safely do 3 to 5 moves that will get you the results you want. She trains private clients around New York City and at Equinox Fitness. It’s her goal to help women live healthier, happier lives. Follow her on Twitter at @JLutzFitness.

 

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