So now that I’m pregnant (oh hey, did you know I was pregnant?) I am once again working extra hard to strengthen my core and avoid the dreaded diastasis recti, or abdominal separation by doing ab exercises that minimize the risk. Namely, the plank – everyone’s favorite, yay!
So why is the plank one of my absolute favorite ways to work my abs, ESPECIALLY during pregnancy? There are a myriad of benefits and reasons but the top reasons why planks rock my socks (and burn what’s left of my abs) are:
- Not only do they work every abdominal muscle, they work your upper body, obliques, AND your lower back. When you have a strong core, you have a strong lower back and vice versa. The two go hand in hand.
- Teaches your abs to stay contracted and engaged when standing allowing for better posture.
- They’re one of the best ways to begin building strength for pushups or even for forearm stands in yoga.
- They work your inner most abdominal muscles (transverse abdominal) so you’re bringing your stomach in, and not bulking up the outer muscles.
- Planks stretch and strengthen your spine to prevent lower back injury and provide better stability in other movements such as weightlifting and yoga.
So when the kind folks over at Sportline asked me to review one of their products, I immediately picked out the weighted resistance ball because the first thing I thought was how fun it would be to challenge my planks and bring them up another level.
Yes, I actually thought that. And yes, I can be a sadist when it comes to exercises. Just ask any of my old clients ;)
So here’s that ab workout I ended up doing complete with a bunch of progressive planks:
1. Ab Windmills
To perform this move: Start on your back with your arms stretched to your side. Raise your legs and then place the medicine ball or weighted ball between your legs. Start moving your legs into a slow circle for 5 counts, then a large circle for 5 counts. End with tapping your legs on the ground to your left and right 5 times each.
2. Sit up with Twists
To perform this move: Lay flat on your back. SLOWLY lift yourself up keeping your back straight and not pulling your neck forward while holding the ball out in front of you. Then, tap the ball to your left and then to your right. This is one rep. Do this for 10 counts.
3. Wide-legged crunch with weave (aka a move that almost resembles giving birth)
To perform this move: Start with your legs spread and while laying down holding the ball out in front of you. Lift yourself up and tap the ball to your left, the middle, to the right, then back to the middle, and then make your way down as slowly as possible. This is one rep. Perform this for 10 counts.
4. Plank with Knee lifts
To perform this move: Place your hands on the ball and hold a regular straight arm plank. Then bring your right knee to your chest, then bring your knee out to the side. Do the same on the left. This is one rep, perform this for 10 counts.
5. Crunches with Side Reach
To perform this: Lay flat on the ground, lift your legs holding the ball in between. Perform a crunch and reach to your left, then to your right. Do this for 1o counts on each side.
6. Walking Planks
To perform this move: Start in a regular straight arm plank position. Place one arm on the ball, then switch to the other arm, walking your arms to the ground and then to the ball. Do this for 10 counts on each arm.
7. Plank Hold with Leg Lifts
To perform this move: Start in regular straight arm plank position. Place one arm on the ball. Hold for 10 seconds (or longer if you can) while pulsing one leg up. Switch to the other side and repeat.
And if you’re interested in trying the workout for yourself, here’s something to make it a little easier on you:
Well, before I started I thought 5lbs was going to be a walk in the park. Oh how wrong I was! I completely underestimated just how effective using a weighted resistance ball was to bring my ab workouts up a notch…or six. This workout was BOSS and I was dying by the end of it! But I’m so happy I chose the weighted resistance ball to review because I really loved how simple and portable it is, yet it still managed to bring an extra challenge to my ab workout that I wasn’t expecting.
The weighted resistance ball could also be used for a full body workout so if anyone wants a post on that, let me know. Yup – you heard me, it’s such a versatile workout tool and can be used as a stability ball, a core ball, and a medicine ball (which is how I used it for this particular workout). I love multi purpose workout gear!Finally, one of the most notable things I noticed about the ball was that it was incredibly tough. It held up very strongly against my weight (and all of the extra weight I’m carrying) and not once did it feel like I was sinking into the ball and that it was going to pop soon. The outer shell is super thick, durable and burst resistant. This is especially important for people like me who likes to beat up on their gym gear all in the name of a good workout.
So yes, these are definitely some high quality balls! (my inner 12 year old is dying right now)
It’s also one of those most affordable items you can purchase if you’re looking to start your own home gym. Since it can be used for almost everything, you’d definitely get the most bang out of your buck. So if you’re interested in snatching one of these balls up, you can purchase them here.
Now for the part where I don’t make your abs cry, a GIVEAWAY! YAY!
Remember when I posted about how to spoil your favorite fitness fanatic? One of the items I mentioned was the Hydracoach interactive water bottle and now the amazing creators at Sportline want to give one of these nifty babies away to a lucky Lift Love Life reader!
Can I get a fist pump!?
This is seriously one of the coolest, most useful tools you can ever have in your arsenal of healthy living tools. Staying hydrated is so SO important for aiding in weight loss, physical efficiency in sports, and eliminating toxins from the body. And if you’re a fellow knocked up momma like me, don’t even get me started on why it’s so important to stay hydrated!
So here’s what this baby does:
- Calculates your personal hydration needs
- Tracks your fluid consumption through the day
- Paces you to ensure hydration goals are met
- Motivates you to stay properly hydrated
And here’s what you need to do to take this sweet thang home:
And that’s it! Giveaway ends on the 19th so make sure you enter ASAP and spread the word. You can also check out more info on the Hydracoach Interactive Water Bottle here. Good luck!
*Disclaimer* I was not compensated for this review or giveaway. All opinions are definitely my own!