Stir The Pot Exercise...
No need for crunches anymore!

The stir the pot exercise is a super move that targets every muscle of your core (yes, your abs) and just about every muscle in your whole body.

Similar to the plank exercise, one of the reasons it is such a great move is because your whole body weight is supported only on your toes and forearms. 

But what sets it apart from the plank is that it is done on a stability ball…and instead of just balancing on the ball, you make it even harder by moving your hands in a stirring motion, causing the ball to move in small circles…small, but painfully effective circles!

As with any exercise – especially ones for the core – it is very important to use correct form.

Before you attempt this advanced exercise, you should make sure that you can do a basic plank on the floor. 

Proper form for stir the pot and the plank are the same: your spine should be straight (this is called "neutral spine"), just as if you were standing erect with good posture – no arching and no hunching!

Note:  You should not feel any pain in your lower back with either of these exercises (or any exercise).  If you do, your back may not be strong enough yet - see below for easier variations. Or you may need to see your doctor.


Before you get into position, you need to “brace” your core to lock your spine in this position.  This does not mean sucking in your belly button. 

Bracing is done by tightening all of your core muscles.  Think of how your abs would tighten up if someone was about to punch you in the stomach. 

It is also the same muscle tension that occurs if you quickly exhale – when you do that, you should feel all the muscles of your midsection “cinching down” – that is bracing.  Keep that tension and continue to breathe normally throughout the exercise.  It may take some practice, but you can do it!

Progression from plank on the floor to stir the pot:

  1. Plank on the floor (at least 30 seconds)
  2. Plank on a stability ball, knees on floor
  3. Plank on stability ball, feet spread apart
  4. Plank on ball, feet closer together
  5. Plank on ball, rocking the ball slightly back and forth
  6. Plank on ball, feet apart, move hands in a stirring motion, making small circles
  7. Plank on ball, feet together, making circles (demonstrated in video)

Note: Aim to do circles equally in both directions (clockwise and counter-clockwise).

You will be surprised how such a small motion can ripple through your midsection!

Make it more challenging:

  1. Make bigger circles!
  2. Try it on one foot (it will be harder the further out you hold your foot)
  3. Elevate your feet

Are you confused by exercise terms you see in magazines?  Click here and it will all make sense...

The stir the pot exercise is a great addition to any workout plan.  I would recommend dynamic, full body muscle engagement movements like this one in place of crunches for 3 reasons:

  1.  It works more muscles
  2.  Burns more calories
  3.  And most of all, it is more fun!

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