Most Effective Ab Exercises With a Swiss Ball (Top 3)

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Let's find out Top 3 the most effective ab exercises with a swiss ball

Let’s find out Top 3 the most effective ab exercises with a swiss ball

There are a lot of people wasting time and energy doing ineffective exercises.

Crunches and sit-ups are great examples.

I am not saying they are worthless exercises. They definitely have their time and place.

But what I am saying is they are not the most effective ab exercises out there though. Especially if you do them over and over again.

I would agree that it is better to do something than nothing, but don’t you want to get a BANG for a time you invest in your workouts?

Wouldn’t you want to…

  • develope great abs faster,
  • burn more calories,
  • and enhance core development and stability as a bonus

…investing the same amount of time?

If so next time you do train abs, try Swiss ball ab exercises.

They will help you not only to blast your abs better than traditional ab exercises, level up your core strenght, improve stability, but also shred off stubborn belly fat as well.

There are hundreds of different exercises with the Swiss ball to choose from to incorporate in your ab workout routine.

Which Are The Most Effective Ab Exercises You Ask?

Great question. Let’s see.

First, accoring to this research there is greater core muscle activation during Swiss ball than traditional abdominal exercises like crunches and sit-ups.

The more muscles you activate the more calories you burn during your workout. And energy expenditure matters a lot if you are looking to get lean and get abs. Because you need to have an energy (caloric) deficit to lower your body fat percentage.

Although looking at research report crunches and sit-ups seem pretty useless in a comparison, not all Swiss ball exercises tested were splendid either.

So how about skipping the part talking about inadequate exercises to the title of this post and highlighting the most effective ab exercises instead.

Here Are TOP 3 Superstars…

Each of these exercises individually are awesome. Once combined, you get one powerful workout routine for your abs, core and fatloss.

Each exercise emphasises different parts of abdominal muscles and as a result you get ab whopping wokrout for your lower, upper and side abs. This is what I call a complete abdominal workout.

Ok, enough talking. Check these bad boys into a real life action:

As you may hunch to perform these exercises you will need a Swiss ball (aka stability ball / fitness ball). This won’t be a problem if you go to a commercial gym as there should be at least couple of them.

If you don’t see one in a weight room, don’t panic! First check the rooms where airobic classes take place. They usually sit there. Just in case you can’t find it anywhere in your gym, leave a suggestion to your gym manager to get some balls (I mean Swiss balls) as other members will appreciate that too.


get one for yourself. Imagine your personal Swiss ball noone else sits their sweaty ass on and which you can use wherever and whenever you like. You won’t regret it. At least I haven’t.

Swiss ball is a great asset to own because you can incorporate it into your workouts in sooo many ways, especially if you do work out at home.

Demonstration and Instructions:

#1 Exercise – Pike

This excercise will work all the areas of Rectus Abdominis (your six pack muscle) with a special ephasis on a lower part of the particular muscle. As a bonus your arms, shoulders, back, legs also will get their share. In other words the whole body from head to toes will work.

This is starting position for one of the most effective ab exercises - PikeBefore you start get in a push-up position with your legs on the swiss ball. If you are doing this for the first time, it can be challenging enough just to keep the balance.

Hold your arms in shoulder width or little wider for a better balance. Keep your feet close. Try to keep your body in a straight line. Keep your abs tight and don’t drop hips out of the alignment hyper extending your lower back.

This is middle position for one of the most effective ab exercises - PikeTo begin the exercise, bend your hips and lift your bottom up while keeping your legs and back as straight as possible.

When you reach mid position pause for 3 seconds and then in a controlled movement slowly return to the starting position.

Seriously, don’t rush throughout the exercise. Ab muscles consist more of slow twitch muscle fibers which means they respond better on slow contractions.

If the exercise is too tough for your current fitness level try an excercise called Knee-up (also known as Knee tuck) where you bring your knees as close to your chest as possible while bending your legs. Accoring to the research mentioned before Knee-up came the second one on the effectiveness for engaging core and lower ab muscles.

When training abdominal muscles breathing is very important to get the maximum benefit of each contraction. That said fully exhale when going from starting to middle position and inhale when you return.

#2 Exercise – Roll Out

This one is insidious. Although between all 3 excercises this one is the easiest one, it looks much simplier than it actually is. Roll outs will work more the upper part of your abs.

This is starting position for one of the most effective ab exercises - Roll-outGet on your knees shoulder width and lift your feet from the ground. Place the swiss ball in front of you and lean on the ball with your arms straight.

Keep your shoulders, hips and knees in an alignment. Keep your palms/fists seperate and close to each other at all times.

Never join your hands. The only exception would be if you can’t perform the exercise with your arms seperated and you need to make the exercise a level lighter.

The farther in front you will place the Swiss ball the challenging the exercise will become. This is another factor you can manipulate to adjust the difficulty of the excercise.

Additionally, if you need to make more stable position, put your feet on the ground and/or increase the distance between your knees. On the other hand if you want to reduce the stability put your knees closer to each other and keep your feel elevated.

It’s a good idea to put something under your knees. The regular yoga mat or even a towel will work perfectly.

This is middle position for one of the most effective ab exercises - Roll-outTo begin the excercise lean with your arms on the ball and roll forward.

Roll out as far as you can while keeping your back and arms straight. Stay in a control so you do not extend forward past the point where you can maintain a proper alignment.

Strongly contract your abs to prevent sagging and hyper extending your lower back. Pause for 3 seconds in the middle position and enjoy the burn before you come back.

Remember the importance of breathing. Inhale while going from start to middle position. Exhale when pulling back to the starting position.

#3 Exercise – Skier

Skier will put stress on your obliques (your side abs) the most which is great as previous exercises already hit our upper and lower portion of abs.

This is starting position for one of the most effective ab exercises - SkierStarting position is similair to Pikes. Get in the push-up position and put your legs on the ball. Keep your legs close.

Don’t let your back to hyper extend. Try to keep your body in a straight line. Your arms and shoulders have to stay strong and stable throughout the whole exercise.

This is middle position for one of the most effective ab exercises - SkierTo begin the exercise bend your legs and drive both of your knees in towards your left elbow. Try to touch your arms with your knees.

When you reach mid count to 3 position and return to starting position. Repeat the movement on the other side. Keep alternating sides until you reach repetition count of your goal or until you hit a failure.

Breathing is similair to previous exercises. Exhale when going from start to middle position. Inhale when going back.

Most Effective Ab Exercises In A Workout

There are many variations of how you can incorporate these ab exercises into your workout routine. Here is one challenging and super effective Swiss Ball ab and core workout:

  • Pike 10x
  • Roll-out 10x
  • Skier 10x (5 to left side, 5 to right side)

…and repeat 3 times.

Ultimately aim for 3 rounds in one workout without resting periods between exercises and rounds.

If I had to evaluate the difficulty of this ab workout routine I would say it’s Level 4 out of 5. After all these are one of the most effective ab exercises. But there still are more advanced ab excercises out there.

Don’t worry if you can’t get through the whole workout yet. You will get there. Start slowly and progress step by step, rep by rep, round by round.

Take some rest period between rounds or exercises. Do less reps per round or less rounds if you need to. Just make sure the workout is enough challenging every time you do it to keep progressing.

If you are a beginner master regular floor planks, planks on a swiss ball first before you perform these type of exercises.

It is a good idea to warm up your core, especially your lower back, before performing these type of excercises. I would suggest to warm up your wrists as well. I didn’t warm up mine and ended up performing the last exercise on my fists.

If you feel the unpleasant pain or discomfort in your lower back when performing these exercises, STOP! First review your form. If it’s not the problem forget about these exercises for a while whilst you focus on strenghtening your lower back which is an important ingredient to develope rock solid abs.

Once you are able to get through the whole workout while maintaining a good form know that you are in an amazing shape!

Are These Really The Most Effective Ab Exercises?

What do you think? Research is research, real life is real life, right?

Let me know in comments if you agree that these are the most effective ab exercises with a Swiss ball or maybe you know more effective ones that the previously mentioned research did miss?

Haven’t got a Swiss ball? No worries. Get one here now >>

For Further Reading...

About Matiss Bartulis

Sweets and pizza addict. Online and real-life fitness coach. Author of the "From Fat To Six Pack" E-mail training course. You can find him on Google+ and Facebook.

  • Congratulations with your first video, Matฤซss, pretty awesome to hear you speaking English!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Really kick-ass video, I am afraid to ask how much time it took for you!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Matiss

      Thanks man!

      Glad to recieve a good feedback on a very first video. To be honest I am not sure how much time exactly did it take to create the whole video as I did it with multiple takes.

      One thing is clear I could have deliverd it much sooner. I have planned to make a new video each or every other week from now on.

      Ask me this question how much time it takes to create one video after few weeks ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Definitely a big fan of the skier! Great challenging exercise that really activates those abdominals in ways that simple situps just don’t!

    • Thanks for stopping by, Kelly! I totally agree with you. Skiers are great and fun exercise that definitely deserve a place in an ab routine.

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  • I started these 3 swiss ball exercises today (3 sets of 10 each) along with 5 sets of 20 swiss ball ab crunches. At this moment MY SHOULDERS are complaining much more than my abs!

    • Thanks for your comment.

      First, I want to let you know that it’s totally okay to feel it in the shoulders. Especially if your shoulders haven’t been used for functional training. Shoulders are doing a LOT of work here. Also it might be a good indicator that your shoulders might benefit from some functional strengthening. We should do more stuff that is challenging for our bodies.

      Other thing. To make it feel more in your core, you need to engage your abs deliberately and put them REALLY to work. And the more work you will do with your core, less stress there will be on your shoulders. Very often people just do the movement for the sake of doing the movement. Try to perform these exercises in a slower pace focusing more on feeling how your abs are shortening and stretching.

      Hope this helps. And good luck!