Kate Hudson‘s attitude about working her core is about as relatable as it gets. “I’m an ab [workout] fanatic,” she says, “and I hate [doing] them.” Her love of dance and Pilates means that she’s constantly relying on the muscles in her midsection to get through her workouts, so despite dreading abs exercises, there is one move that Hudson turns to when it comes to keeping them strong: stability ball crunches.
The star’s love-hate relationship with core work is all because of a C-section she had over a decade ago that made ab-focused movements more complicated. “I’ve had a C-section, and I think any woman who has had a C-section knows how hard it is to re-engage that lower part of your abs,” says Hudson. “My C-section was 16 years ago, but if I go a few days without doing abs, my brain has a hard time re-engaging that area.”
Unlike regular ol’ floor crunches, stability ball crunches take things up a notch by forcing your body to balance while it moves as you engage your lower abs. “Adding a stability ball to an exercise can take a basic move from ‘I can do this in my sleep,’ to ‘this is the most challenging thing I have ever done,’” trainer Tiffani Robbins previously told Well+Good. And it’s for this reason that Hudson swears by this particular move to engage her stomach muscles.
As with all fitness moves (but particularly those that relate to your core), proper form is key. “You could do a million ab [exercises], but you’ve gotta do them right,” says Hudson, who recently launched a line of supplements called InBloom. “So it’s better to have good form than to just push out 200 crunches [the wrong way].”
To try stability ball crunches for yourself, place a stability ball under your lower back (just above your booty) with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. To get into position, you can sit on the ball and walk your feet forward to roll yourself down—just be sure that your back is pressed firmly into the top of the ball when you reach the low point. Place your hands behind your head, and use your abs to crunch your upper body slightly upward. Hold your neck straight and shoulders proud to avoid crunching your chin to your chest, and be sure to keep your core engaged the entire time.
To work out Hudson-style, try this 15-minute full-body Pilates workout for a true burn in your core:
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