I have another core exercise for you for this weeks Home Exercise of the Week.  It’s called a Jackknife and it’s one of the more challenging ab exercises but once you get the hang of it you will feel how effective it is!

The Jackknife works all areas of your core as well as your hip flexors and at the same time it isometrically works your upper body muscles.  This exercise can put a lot of strain on your lower back if not done correctly so let’s take a look at the key points to doing it properly.

  • getting on the stability ball can be challenging so the best way is to put your hands on the floor and one leg up on the ball first then put your other leg up.  Your shins should be resting on the ball.
  • it is very important to keep your abs contracted by pulling your belly button in towards your spine.  This will help keep your hips from sagging down which will put a lot of pressure on your lower back.
  • once you have stabilized yourself, pull your knees slowly in towards your chest squeezing the abs and then return slowly to the starting position
  • if you find it hard to do this exercise with your hands on the floor, try using a bench to rest your arms on.  This raises you up a bit and can take some of the pressure off your upper body

So there you have the key points to doing the Jackknife effectively.  Add this to your routine and you will be well on your way to a strong and toned core!  If you want an extra challenge and some extra upper body work, try adding a pushup in between each roll in.  You can also do a side roll to target your obliques more but that is a video for another day! 🙂

Stability Ball Pushup

I have a challenging exercise for you today for the Home Exercise of the Week!  If you’re a fan of pushups, the Stability Ball Pushup will add something new to your routine.  If you don’t like pushups, well then you’re probably thinking wow I didn’t know they could get any worse than they already are!

Whether you like pushups or not, the Stability Ball Pushup is a great exercise that will work your chest, shoulders, and triceps.  Since you are doing this exercise on a ball, you will also be working on your balance, core muscles, and all the little stabilizer muscles to keep you from flying off the ball.

If this is your first time trying the exercise, I recommend placing the ball against a wall which will make it easier to balance.  As you get more comfortable with the exercise you can place the ball freely in the room.  Also, you can start with a modified pushup from your knees if needed until you get stronger.

Some tips when performing the Stability Ball Pushup:

  • grab the ball on the sides and squeeze it as you move down to increase the contraction in your pectoral muscles
  • make sure your hands are in line with your chest throughout the movement
  • keep your ab muscles tight at all times by pulling your belly button in towards your spine
  • a wide foot position will increase your stability and if you feel that’s too easy then bring your feet together to work your core and stabilizers even more (at this point you’re probably thinking “yeah right Craig, let’s start with getting on the ball first!”)
  • at the top of the movement, stop just before your arms are fully extended to keep tension on your pectorals throughout

So there you have the Stability Ball Pushup!  Add this great exercise to your routine and you might impress people so much with your acrobatic feats that you get asked to join the circus!