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How To Do Plank on the Exercise Ball

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Updated July 09, 2010

plank on the ball

Plank on the Exercise Ball

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Plank on the exercise ball is an interesting variation of plank on the mat. Part of what I like about plank on the ball is that the difficulty level is adjustable. The other thing I like about doing plank on the ball is that it really drives the work of the exercise into the core.
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: 3 min.

Here's How:

  1. Begin.

    With the ball in front of you, place your belly on the ball and walk your hands out so that your body rolls along the top of the ball. At a certain point you will be able to lift your legs away from the mat. Center the ball under the middle of your thighs.

    * This is where you can adjust some of the difficulty of the exercise. The further out you walk your hands, the harder the exercise will be because more weight will shift to your upper body, and it will be harder to stabilize yourself the ball. Ultimately you will be able to walk out to your shins.

  2. Stabilize Your Shoulders

    Roll your shoulders back and down away from your ears as you center your hands under your shoulders. Fingertips point forward.

    It's tempting to let your weight fall into the shoulders. Instead, keep your chest wide and press evenly down into your hands to stay lifted. Put some attention on the backs of your arms, not just the front.

    An alternate arm position is to place the forearms on the mat with the elbows under the shoulders.

    Learn about shoulder stability in Pilates exercises.

  3. Engage Your Core

    Send your tail bone down toward the ball, and pull your abdominal muscles in and up. This is where you want to focus the attention for control of the exercise.

    With your belly lifted, make your spine as long as you can. Send energy out the top of your head and out your heels. Your legs are together and reaching behind you.

  4. Your Body is a Long Line

    You will be on a diagonal, but you want your body to be in a line from your ankle to your ear. To do that, and to keep from rolling off the ball, you have to keep your spine long, your belly lifted and your legs extended.

    On the ball, you don't have as much weight on your legs as you do with plank on the mat, but you still have keep your legs and butt engaged. Part of being stable on the ball is to keep the sit bones and inner thighs hugging in to the midline of the body.

  5. Breathe

    Take a few deep breaths, extending the line of your body as you do.
    If you are wondering how to breathe deeply with your abs pulled in, read, Lateral Breathing.

    Release and repeat 3 - 4 times.

Tips:

  1. Make sure your ball is the right size. Read, How to Size an Exercise Ball.

  2. A natural extension of this exercise is to move on to pike on the ball.

  3. Advanced Note: This is a great position to feel the connection between the triceps and the lats.
  4. There are good visual cues for this exercise in the Before and After Plank on the Reformer tutorial.

What You Need

  • An Exercise Ball

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