For a truly great set of abs that are not only firm, but functional and strong, you have to work the entire core. The core is made up of multiple muscles, not just your abdominals. This includes your lower back, obliques, and deeper muscles like the transverse that help “cinch” your waist.
A strong core supports your entire body, prevents lower back pain, and helps you perform other exercises correctly. One of the best ways to train your core is through balance movements.
Using a core balance disc during any exercise is a great way to challenge your muscles in far greater ways than you can through standard exercises like crunches or planks.
If you’re not quite sure how to use a balance disc, here are five great exercises to get you started. Be sure to keep you core tight throughout the exercise (think of pulling your belly button toward your spine), which will help you maintain balance and support your lower back.
CORE EXERCISE ROUTINE
- Kneel on balance disc with upper body straight (forming a 90 degree angle at the knees), toes lightly touching the floor.
- Keeping your body tall and chest lifted, cross your arms in front of your chest.
- Rotate your torso and head slowly to the left as far as you can while maintaining a straight back.
- Return to start position, then rotate to your right side.
- Do 3 sets of 10-15 reps on each side.
To advance, lift your toes up off the floor and/or hold a dumbbell or medicine ball straight out in front of you, keeping arms straight as you rotate.
Sit-Ups (not pictured)
- Lie on the floor with balance disc under lower back and hips, knees bent with heels on the floor.
- Place arms behind your head for support, or extend at your sides to make the crunch slightly easier.
- Contract abs, crunching up toward knees keeping chin lifted.
- Then lower toward floor until back is almost straight.
- Do 3 sets of 15-20 reps.
- Sit on the center of the disc, knees bent with heels on the ground, and extend arms out to your sides.
- Slowly lift one leg up off the ground, keeping it bent. Once stable, lift the other leg up until both are at approximately 90 degrees.
- Hold in this position as long as you can, up to 30 seconds.
- Repeat 2 more times.
To advance, extend legs out straight in front of you, lifted to about 45 degrees.
- Step onto the balance disc with the other leg slightly bent in front of you so it’s off of the ground.
- Tighten core, then slowly hinge forward at the hip and reach your arms out in front of you and extend your lifted leg straight behind you.
- Your body should now resemble the letter T.
- Hold for 5 seconds, then slowly lower back to your starting position to complete set before switching to the other leg.
- Do 3 sets of 8-10 reps on each leg.
- Rest bent elbows and forearms on the balance disc, elbows directly under shoulders and palms facing each other.
- Extend legs behind you with only toes touching the ground so your body forms a straight line.
- Keep core tight and don’t arch or sink at the hips or lower back.
- Hold for 30-60 seconds, and repeat 2 more times.
To advance, lift one leg off the ground and/or place hands on the disc in a push-up position, maintaining the same straight body position as long as you can.
Give this workout a try and comment on how it goes! Or post a photo of you doing this workout on Instagram and tag us @prosourcefit
Want to workout more than your core? Check out our blog on how to use the Balance Disc for a full-body workout.
Certified Personal Trainer & Nutrition Coach
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