The exercise that will tighten your abs and help with posture, balance

To complete a Knee Tuck, your position will resemble a Pushup with legs elevated. CONTRIBUTED
To complete a Knee Tuck, your position will resemble a Pushup with legs elevated. CONTRIBUTED

Stability Ball Knee Tucks strengthen many muscle groups, including the abdominals, low back, legs and arms. Along with the larger muscles responsible for basic movement, many smaller stabilizing muscles are also targeted.

Adding stability exercises to your workout has significant benefits, very importantly, helping to improve posture and balance.

Execution: Place a small- to medium-size stability ball on the floor in front of you and kneel next to it. With your stomach positioned on the ball and keeping hands in contact with the floor, very slowly begin walking forward using your hands, until your feet leave the floor and shins are resting on the ball, wrists under your shoulders. As shown in photo 1, this position will resemble a pushup, although the legs will be elevated by the ball. Maintain a rigid torso and straight arms, and engage the lower abdominals, to avoid sagging of the low back.

Next, slowly begin bending your knees, bringing them toward your chest, being mindful not to round the back, as shown in photo 2. This move will require you to focus on keeping your balance as the stability ball rolls toward you.

Stop at the point where your knees are pulled in to their furthest range of motion, hold briefly and then return to starting position. Avoid shallow breathing. Try instead to take in a good breath at the start of the exercise, and then slowly exhale as you roll the ball toward you.

Advanced: Perform the exercise as shown, but continue tucking the knees until they are under your torso and then lift the hips upward toward the ceiling. This position resembles a partial handstand, with the arms straight and wrists directly under shoulders. Do not attempt unless you already have established strength and balance capabilities.

The most challenging part of the Stability Ball Knee Tuck is maintaining balance on the ball as your body is moving. For safety, move in a slow controlled manner, and use a spotter, or work with a qualified fitness professional who can help you master the exercise. Individuals with medical conditions or joint problems should check with their doctor before attempting any new exercise.

Begin with one to three sets of Knee Tucks, ending the set when you have fatigued the muscles. This exercise can be performed every other day, although this depends on current fitness level and must take into account other exercises in your routine.

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