Flat Stomach Exercises Using A Swiss Ball
Have you got one of those big Swiss balls at home? Pump it up because here are three great exercises runners can do for a flat stomach.
These three Swiss ball exercises are suitable for beginners, intermediates and advanced strength training runners, so select your exercise by fitness and strength level.
It’s worth remembering that ab exercises alone will not give you a flat stomach: you need to eat a sensible diet with consistent meals of reasonable portion sizes. Other top tips for a flatter stomach:
– drink plenty of water
– avoid fizzy drinks
– try to reduce stress (cortisol, the stress hormone, promotes belly fat)
– get enough quality sleep
– include lots of fibrous vegetables in your diet
Swiss Ball Crunches
Lie on the floor with your legs bent at the hips and knees (so your hips and knees are at right angles). Rest your calves on the ball and have your bottom close to the ball’s edge. Perform a sit-up, starting the movement by contracting your abs and thinking about reducing the distance between your ribs and pelvis. Hold at the top of the movement before lowering down. There’s no need to do lots: 3 sets of 12-15 is plenty.
This is a little trickier, but becomes easier once you get your balance. Using a bench or other flat surface (the same height as the ball), rest your elbows and forearms on the surface and face yourself downwards towards the bench. Keep your spine straight and aligned. Put your shins on the ball behind you, with your legs outstretched. Bending the knees, pull the ball in towards the bench with your abs. You will end up forming a “hedgehog” shape as you crunch in, and your shins will come off the ball as it rolls along your legs to your feet. Extend the ball back out to the start position for one rep. These are tough so try 3 sets of 8-10 at first.
The toughest of the lot but suitable if you have a strong core. Start in a plank position with your hands on the floor, shoulder-width apart. Your feet are on the ball, behind you. Pull the ball in towards your hands, bending at the hips in a jackknife shape, keeping your back straight and your legs straight too. The movement is at your hips as you pull the ball in (and your bottom goes up in to the air) and then as you extend the ball back out behind you, so your body and legs are in a straight line. The shape you make is similar to a diver performing a pike. This should feel tough all across your abs but particularly on your lower abs.
Let us know if you start incorporating any of these moves in to your home or gym workout! Strong abs are important for runners.