Stability balls are great for core training: they require your muscles to work much harder than they would on a stable surface, and in turn you get a better workout in a shorter amount of time. I also like them for my personal training clients who have lower back issues because the ball does not put the same type of pressure on the spine that mat work on the floor can. Stability balls come in several sizes, and you’ll want to choose which on to use based on your height. If you are under 5’7 you’ll generally want to use a 55cm ball. If you are over 6’2 you’ll want the 75cm ball. In between those heights a 65cm is usually best.
Check out this video for a short, but effective ab circuit:
Complete the circuit 2-4 times
8-15 ball passes
20-40 crunches or one leg crunches
20-20 mountain climbers on ball or maximum plank
Considering that over 20,000 people will be participating in the Kaiser Permanente Great Aloha Run on President’s Day this February, I’d be willing to bet that many of you who come to my site are currently training or considering registering. While you could just wake up on race day and do this 8 mile run, it will be a lot more fun for you (and your body) if you train in advance. There is an official (free!) training taking place in Kapiolani Park Sunday mornings at 6:45am to take care of some of your mileage, but if you really want to train for and complete the race with the smallest risk of injury and least amount of aches and pains, not to mention the best time you can muster, you’ll need to do a little more than run. You’ll be able to complete this strength training workout with equipment and time, but if you commit to it 2-4 times a week, you’ll definitely notice a big difference in your runs, especially as you increase your mileage. As an added bonus, strength training will also increase your metabolism, strengthen your bones, improve your balances, raise your HDL cholesterol levels (the good kind), improve your posture, and elevate your mood! Oh yeah, and it will help you look good too!
I tried a new format with the videos here, so please leave me a comment if you have any feedback!
You can also print this workout and have a handy reference sheet when you perform your exercises.
To download this image, simply right click on the photo below and click save image as.
Crunches are certainly not the only exercise for abs training, but they are the default option for many people. Not only can doing endless crunch repetitions be boring, but this lack of variety in your routine can stall your progress and even cause or aggravate lower back problems. Check out some core strengthening exercises you can add to your next ab workout this video I shot in Kapiolani Park this past weekend. What are some of your favorite ab moves?