The stability ball pike is an advanced exercise that will work your abs safely and effectively. The “pike” action works the abs through a wider range of motion than many typical abdominal exercises. The stability ball helps isolate the core muscles to take pressure off of the lower back and hip flexors – both of which tend to take over in many core-strengthening exercises.
The unstable surface of the stability ball recruits more muscle fibers throughout the entire core. It’s important to pick one that’s appropriate for your height when using a stability ball. Typically, 5’4” and under should use a 55 cm stability ball; 5’4”-5’11” should use a 65 cm stability ball; and 5’11”-6’7” should use a 75 cm stability ball.
Mastering a stability ball pike can also be a great total body exercise. You’ll get the added benefit of strengthening your shoulders, chest and arms.
Get into a push-up (plank) position, with your hands under your shoulders and your back flat, but with a ball under your legs. The ball should be beneath your shins and the top of your feet, with your toes pointed. Engage your abdominals so that your hips do not drop down toward the floor.
1. Use your abdominals to pull your body upward as your hips and glutes rise up toward the ceiling. Keep your feet pointed, so that the ball comes under your toes as your hips rise. At the top of your lift, the ball will be held under your pointed toes and your back will nearly be in a straight line with your arms. Your shoulders should remain above your hands or slightly behind them—never in front.
2. After a brief pause at the top, slowly lower your hips as you press the ball back carefully with your feet. Control the ball with the tops of your feet as you return to the starting position. Do not allow your hips to dip below a flat line with your shoulders and feet.
Repeat for a set of 10-15 pikes.