In the ongoing battle against stomach bulge, the Swiss ball has emerged in recent years as a favorite weapon. The ball is relatively inexpensive, easy to use, and, unlike those complicated-looking exercise machines, there's nothing terribly intimidating about it.
"(The Swiss ball) is one of the hottest pieces of exercise equipment in the fitness industry," said Dr. Charles Inniss, a physical therapist and personal trainer.
Oblique crunches (obliques)
Begin the exercise by sitting on the ball, and shift your body forward until your hips are off the ball, with your lower back supporting your weight. Place your hands behind your head with your feet shoulder-width apart.
Keeping your lower body and hips still, crunch forward. Half way up, twist your torso to one side, and hold the position for one second. Then untwist your body, and lower yourself back down. Continue to work the same side, before switching and working your opposite oblique muscles. Aim for at least eight repetitions per side.
Abdominal crunches (abdominals)
Sit on the ball. As you did with your oblique exercise, move forward so that your hips are just off the ball and your weight is placed mainly on your lower back. Place your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands behind your head.
Crunch forward, lifting your shoulder blades off the ball. Hold the position at the top for one second, before lowering yourself back down and repeating the movement. Aim for at least eight repetitions.
Hip rolls (obliques and lower abs)
Lie on the floor with your feet together atop the ball. You should be close enough to the ball so that it touches the back of your thighs.
With your hands placed palms down at your sides, rotate your hips to the right, squeezing your abs in the process. Return to the start position, and repeat the movement. After you've completed eight or more repetitions, switch directions and rotating your hips to the left. Complete another set of eight repetitions.
Abdominal rolls (abdominals)
Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat against the floor. Rest the ball on your thighs and place your hands on the ball to keep the ball in place.
Raise your shoulder blades off the floor and roll the ball to your knees. Pause for one second, and repeat the movement. Complete at least eight repetitions.