Sit on a ball. Big or little. Seems funny, but it’s a great way to strengthen your core.
With a little ball, sit on the ground, with the ball almost under your tail bone as in the picture on the right. Sit up tall and lean back over the little ball. Let your abs turn on, and keep your lower back turned off. Tilt back over the ball as if you are doing a sit up, except on top of the ball so you have much more range of motion and challenge. Experiment with your arms over your head, moving through the sit up or holding still. If your core is shaking, you are doing it correctly.
With a big ball, roll slightly forward from a seated position with the ball supporting your lower back, while your feet are flat on the floor. Put your hands behind your head, and just find your center of balance. Enjoy the unstable horizontal position — it’s fun! Plus it activates your core. Be sure you have no tension in your back. Experiment with all the interesting ways you can sit on the ball.
Once you find your balance, keep your feet on the floor, and try crunching your chest up and down as if doing a traditional “crunch”. Now turn on your side and do it again. Try the other side. You’ll suddenly remember where your obliques are and how they lift you sideways! Put your belly on the ball and lift your chest up and down to strengthen your lower back, glutes and hamstrings as in the picture on the left.
Now stand up and play. Big ball, small ball – think of the zillion things you can do! Pass it around your hips, under your legs, over your head, back and forth with your child; squeeze it between your knees and jump; create ball dance routines like in the Olympics; bounce it around the house; and then see who can throw it the highest, fastest, farthest, curved, in the air, to a target, or into a basket. The list is truly endless. Get on the ball and play!