Embrace instability with this challenging circuit that forces your core to stay strong – all you need are a pair of dumbbells and a gym ball.
The foundation of any home gym set-up should be a set of dumbbells and a gym ball. You can target any body part in a variety of ways, increasing your chances of losing fat and gaining muscle.
Dumbbells allow you to fatigue your muscles easily within your desired rep range, helping to build new muscle. The fact that you hold one in each hand gives you balanced muscle growth and develops your stabilising muscles because you’re forced to control their movement.
A gym ball is excellent at increasing the instability of an exercise, which will improve your core strength. The greater the instability, the harder the exercise. For that reason, a gym ball is a great tool to use in conjunction with a set of dumbbells, because you’ll struggle to complete your sets of unstable exercises, even if your heaviest dumbbell is 10kg.
- Complete 12-15 reps of each exercise.
- Once you’ve completed the reps for one exercise, move onto the next with minimal rest.
- Once you’ve completed the final exercise, rest for 90 seconds.
- Do the circuit a total of 4 times.
1a. Gym Ball Crunch
- Touch your fingers to your temples and lean as far back as you can on the ball.
- Contract your abs to curl your chest towards your knees, keeping your lower back in contact with the ball.
- Pause at the top of the move to squeeze your abs, then lower slowly to the start.
1b. Side Plank with Lateral Raise
- Hold your body in a straight line from head to heels, and position your elbow directly under the shoulder.
- Hold the plank position while slowly raising and lowering the weight.
- Use a light weight to maintain perfect form.
1c. Gym Ball Jackknife
- Rest your instep on top of the ball with your body in a straight line and your hands directly beneath your shoulders.
- Roll your feet over the ball to draw your knees in to your chest.
- Try to avoid raising your backside as you move the ball.
1d. Russian Twist
- Keep your back straight, your body at 45 degrees to the floor and your knees bent at 45˚.
- Hold the dumbbell in both hands to one side of your body.
- Twist your torso to one side, but keep looking straight ahead.
- Twist your torso to the opposite side, using your abs to control the momentum.
1e. Gym Ball Dumbbell Twist
- Start with your shoulders resting on the ball, your body in a straight line and a dumbbell at arms length above your head.
- Twist your torso to one side until your arms are parallel to the floor.
- Twist back to the opposite side, looking towards the dumbbell.
1f. Gym Ball Oblique Crunch
- Jam your feet against a support.
- Lie sideways and curl your body around the ball.
- Use your obliques (‘side abs’) to crunch up sideways, hold for a second at the top of the move, and lower under control.
1g. Gym Ball Pass
- Lying on your back, hold the ball behind your head.
- Keeping your arms and legs as straight as you can, pass the ball from hands to feet at the top of the move.
- Lower slowly with the ball clasped between your feet.
- Return the ball to your hands on the next rep.
Photography: Tom Miles