Awesome Abs on the Ball

Melissa Walker
Year Released: 2002

Categories: Abs/Core , Balance/Medicine/Mini/Stability Ball

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In this challenging workout, instructor Melissa Walker uses both more traditional and Pilates-inspired moves to work your abs using the ball. She starts right in with sit-ups, holding the ball in your hands as you roll up to hold it above your knees (sort of like a Pilates roll-up with the knees bent). Next, you lie with your feet and calves resting on the ball for oblique work. Melissa also has you push the ball towards you and away, giving your legs a workout as well, and she then returns to some additional sit-ups.

In the second half of the workout, Melissa has you do a full v-sit (similar to a Pilates teaser), first with the ball in your hands only and then transferring the ball from your hands to your feet and back again--these were tough! Another tough move was coming up to the v position and tapping both feet against the ball before lowering again. Next, Melissa sits on the ball and then lies sideways on it for more traditional crunches. The workout ends with the toughest move yet: with the tops of your feet face-down on the ball, you start in a plank position and then roll your feet in and up to form an inverted v--Melissa's form was perfect, but I could only do a few wobbly versions of these! At 23 1/2 minutes, this is a nice intermediate ball workout that will really target your abs.

Instructor Comments:
Melissa is friendly and encouraging; she often looks at the camera and asks "are you doing okay?" She does a nice job explaining each move, but my one complaint was that she sometimes stopped and chatted for a bit too long before moving on to the next exercise.

Beth C (aka toaster)


I am a 31 year old intermediate exerciser with pretty weak abs. I have been looking for a short, effective abs workout using the stability ball that doesn't make me feel like I'm wasting a lot of time. Unfortunately, Awesome Abs on the Ball is not that workout. That doesn't mean I'm ready to trade it away yet--it's a good workout, just not as efficient as I would like it to be.

I have done this video twice now. The first time I made it about 1/3 of the way through--then she started doing a move I thought was incredibly advanced and I quit. The move involved lying on your back with your feet up on the ball, elevating your midsection so your body is in a straight line, and then raising your legs off the ball, one by one. The second time I fast forwarded through that move and continued through to the end.

This video contains ab moves that I would consider fairly advanced, including lots of v-sit ups from a lying down position. There are also inverted v's (also known as pikes I think) where you're in a push up position with the ball under your feet and then you roll the ball towards your hands so your body forms a V with only your toes on the ball. Part of my frustration was from the fact that I am not yet able to do any of these moves. Some of the moves that I *am* able to do, like regular crunches with your back on the ball, were taught in a way that made them seem not very challenging at all. I think Gin Miller's stability ball tapes do a better job with these. Also, Gin does a much better job with stretching. There is almost no stretching in this tape which I found a serious shortcoming.

I picked up this video because it was only supposed to be about 20 minutes to half an hour. Unfortunately, much of that time is spent stopping while she explains the form for the next move. Even on the second viewing, I was bored by this and had to fast forward. This is a problem with virtually every stability ball tape I have tried. I wish they had two sections--an instructional section, and then, once you've learned all that, a workout section with minimal instruction or form pointers only while the exercise is being executed. It might make more sense as well to have a different person performing the exercises from the one who is leading the workout, kind of like in some yoga videos I have seen.



Awesome Abs on the Ball is definitely awesome. It contains a wide variety of exercises using the stability ball a/k/a fitball. It is about 25 minutes long. The workout consists of various sit-up variations holding the ball with hands, knees and feet, sitting up to a V-sit, passing the ball from hands to feet for one extremely difficult exercise, exercises with the feet up on the ball (working the glutes as well as core), reverse curls, oblique crunches, planks, roll-ins and inverted pikes. Cathe uses all of the exercises from this tape, in several of her recent workouts (the Intensity and Blast series), so I had seen most of the exercises before.

The set is plain, there are no participants, and no music. I like challenging and long abdominal workouts and I like using the ball, and this tape fits the bill. This workout is geared more for the intermediate and advanced exerciser, although beginners could do some of it and would be able to work up to the more difficult exercises. I give it an A for content, and a B for production quality.

Instructor Comments:
This is the first time I have seen Melissa Walker. I thought she was lacking in camera presence and warmth. She wore a top that was so low cut that it was distracting, especially since she was nearly falling out of it. Her speaking voice is not great. She is, however, very fit and strong, and demonstrates the exercises well.



Awesome Abs on the Ball
Part of Spri 6-pack of Ball Videos
Melissa Walker
Approximately: 25 minutes

I enjoyed this tape. There is NO background music what-so-ever. Just Melissa talking, giving form pointers, encouragement, reminders to breathe, etc.

Melissa bills it as challenging and says to learn a little at a time or do the whole thing. Promises to give AWESOME ABS.

First set of sit ups is the warm up. She begins with the ball overhead, but not quite touching the ground. Comes to a full sitting position keeping back straight and emphasizing to reach with the ball. She does between 10 to 12 reps. (not exactly sure)

She does the same sequence again, but alternates lifting her legs as she is coming up.

Then it's onto the obliques. Places the ball with her legs on it. States that closer to you and the knees is easier and since there's a few sets, we begin easier. Lock the left shoulder on the ground, take the right shoulder to the opposite knee and ball. Does a set of these and then extends the right arm at an angle and does a set like that. Switches to the other side.

The next set, she places the ball (still under her knees) further away to make it more difficult, with balance entering the equation. Does the same oblique sequence as above. However, when she gets to the right side, she forgets to do the original obliques with the folded arm, goes straight into the extended arm obliques. I do the extra set! Don't want to be lopsided.

Next is bridge work. Very difficult for me. Puts the ball under the feet, locks the back down (stabilizing) and pulls the ball in with her feet. She then lifts the right leg and left and then right and left. Then turns her knees out and brings the ball in again with her feet (all the while holding the bridge position -- OUCH!)

Onto the ball overhead with another set of situps like in the warm up, then lifts just the right leg for 6 and then the left leg for 6 (during the sit up).

Ball goes between the knees for the next exercise. (or for the easier version, between the calves) and does reverse curls, reminding to contract the abs as you pull in. Reminds to breathe. This is about the 12 minute mark. She begins doing V-sit ups. Does some sets with ball over head.

At this point she says you need to have strong abs to do this and if you can only do 2, that's ok, you'll get stronger. I need to hear that! Again, emphasizes the importance of breathing. Does v-sit ups with the ball in the legs.

Then more V-sit ups switching the ball from the hands to the feet while up in the v. Yeah right? ;-)

Next exercise is The Ball overhead and she brings it up and scissors the leg. So, she taps the right leg, and then the left. Then down and back up again to tap, tap, down.

At this point, I'm tired.....

Then moves to the top of the ball. To sit on the ball and do regular sit ups.

Then lies back with hands extended straight over the ball in either the "fist position" or "praying" position (and says she "prays" she'll make it through this set).... and does more sit ups. YIKES.

Next is side over the ball obliques. Two different leg positions. First is easier, then more difficult. Switches and does the other side.

Then she does Roll Ins and V-Ups (on the ball). She says, "If you're not ready for this: JUST WATCH!".. ahhhhhhh music to my ears. Tee-hee..... The ball goes under the shin & feet and bending the knees, roll the ball in towards you. (arms on the ground in front of you). This one is bearable, but then.....

The LAST exercise is the v-up. The feet are on the ball and instead of bending the knees, one just stays in an inverted V. Says if it's too hard to start shallow. I prefer to watch! ;-)

I really like this ab tape. But, I enjoy working on the big ball. Gives some nice exercises and the 25 minutes really does seem to go quickly. The only two bad points for me .... the fact that she forgot the one set of obliques (not a big deal) and the other was the amount of times she was adjusting her top. I usually don't notice this type of thing, but she seemed to need to adjust it quite frequently. :-(

Instructor Comments:
I enjoyed Melissa. Spoke well, encouraging and good reminders to breathe.