Abs On The Ball

Abs On the Ball: A Pilates Approach to Building Superb Abdominals

Colleen Craig
Healing Arts Press (2003), 192 pages
Approximately $12

The author of Pilates On the Ball has written a new book to focus deeper on abdominal training. In the introduction, she justifies the need for this book in the chapter entitled “Why Another Book on Abdominal Conditioning?” She claims that this book is a response to the recent influx of crunch-heavy “core training” programs that aren't necessarily beneficial to the abs and explains some of the disadvantages of traditional abdominal workout programs.

She builds her case using the implications of the latest research, explaining the benefits of Joseph H. Pilates' method of abdominal work and core strengthening, and describes how using the exercise ball can provide for a great abdominal workout. All of these elements and more make this book recommended reading for professionals in the field let alone interested exercisers.

Colleen Craig begins by explaining the fundamentals of Joseph Pilates' method of abdominal workout and how his principles can be applied to the exercise ball. She outlines the proper breathing techniques, body alignment, proper posture and form, and even covers all of the different body parts and how to work those muscles.

Following the general overviews and outlines of the Pilates-based abdominal workout on the ball, Craig directs the reader through a number of ball exercises leveled as beginner, intermediate, or advanced. 150 black and white illustrations outline exercises for both the Swiss ball and the Gymnic Overball. Each exercise is clearly explained in simple to understand terms so that even those with limited fitness knowledge will be able to follow the program. A series of 15 and 30 minute routines are provided that incorporate the exercises of the previous chapters in various orders.

One important thing to keep in mind is that the exercises require the use of both a Swiss Ball and a Gymnic Overball. The Gymnic Overball will probably be hard to find in your local fitness store and may need to be purchased online. The nine inch Overball is used for 3 different types of exercises: As a Magic Circle for core strength and toned inner thighs, as a small ball for balancing, and as a tool to provide feedback and support for a variety of different exercises. Most of the exercises use the Overball while mostly-deflated and so it would be beneficial to have a couple of these balls for your workout.

It may also be beneficial for those who have never done any kind of Pilates workout before to gain some experience through a couple instructed Pilates classes before attempting this workout. It would just help to make the Abs On The Ball workout program more manageable.

Abs On The Ball is an innovative book and Colleen Craig has come up with a number of creative new exercises to be completed on the ball, and truly work every core muscle of the body.

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