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Best Stability Ball Exercises

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Get in the Best Shape of Your Life With Stability Ball Exercises

stability ball exercises

You can use these ball exercises as supplemental exercise in any fitness program. You can also use these exercises as the basis of stability ball workouts.

The Advantage of Exercising on a Stability Ball is That You get More Bang for Your Buck

When performing exercises on the ball, your core muscles and other stabilizer muscles are always active. They are active because the ball is an unstable surface, and in order for it to remain steady, your body must contract hundreds of different muscles to stabilize the ball.

For example, if you are doing push-ups on the stability ball, you are not only working your chest and triceps, but your core, shoulder stabilizers, obliques, and even more muscles are active to stabilize the ball.

This not only means you will make your body stronger and more stable, you will also burn more calories than you would if you did the exercises using a bench or the floor instead of the ball.


What Muscles do the Best Stability Ball Exercises Target?Best balls exercise

If you use the stability ball alone, you can target just about every major muscle group. However, stability ball workouts are most effective when using other equipment along with the ball, otherwise, certain muscle groups will be missing out.

Using Stability Ball Exercises Along with Other Equipment Will Help You Target Every Muscle Group in the Body

This is the best option because you can get the benefits of using the ball, while you also get benefits similar to resistance exercise machines.

It is Recommended to Use Stability Ball Exercises to Supplement a Complete Workout Plan

The best function of stability ball exercise is a supplement to a complete full body workout program. Your workout plan should use constantly changing forms of resistance, exercise selection and exercise parameters.

Another good way to use the stability ball for exercise is simply to use it for abdominal and core work only. This means you could perform a mini workout for around 10-15 minutes and use the best core exercises and best abs exercises.

This is something you can squeeze in whenever you have the time. Preferably you could do it as a second exercise session of the day which will increase help your metabolism better than doing a single workout in a day.


What are Some Effective Stability Ball Exercises?

A Good Rule of Thumb for Working out on Stability Balls is “Don’t Get Too Cute”

Choose stability ball exercises which effectively target the desired muscle groups. Start with the most basic and progress from there. Do not get too excited if you see a new exercise which is supposed to very best.

Just the fact that the exercise is new, should be a clue that it is NOT the best. If it is such a great exercise why did it take so long for someone to invent it?

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” would be an effective strategy. If something works, there is no reason to try to make things “cute,” or more trouble than they are worth. When you get used to the easier exercises it may be time to progress to something more challenging.

Best Stability Ball Exercises Using Nothing Other Than You and the Exercise Ball


Core


Stability Ball Supine Bridge

Start: Take a seat on a stability ball. Sit up tall, with shoulders in good posture (not forward), legs 90 degrees with heels directly below knees.

Begin the motion: Walk forward until your upper shoulders and head rest on the ball. Your legs should be in a 90 degree angle, your glutes should be contracted, and your core drawn in.

It is very important not to arch your back. When you are done, walk back to your original position.

The supine bridge is a position which you use as a starting point for many stability ball exercises with or without weights.

Stability Ball Supine Bridge (1 leg stabilization)

Start: Get in the stability ball supine bridge position. In order for you to be able to stabilize you should put your feet together until they touch.

Begin the motion: Slowly extend one leg off of the ground. That leg should be the ONLY motion which occurs throughout your body. Your thighs should be the same level as you only extend your leg, not flex your hip.

This may look look like an easy stability ball exercises but it is not. Everything else must maintain completely motionless for this stability ball exercise to be performed correctly.

Hold as long as you can maintain the drawn in core and contracted glutes, then switch feet and repeat. If your knee up at all this is hip flexion.

Hip flexion would mean your glutes, which are the antagonist muscle to the hip flexors would not be contracted. Again, your glutes must be contracted for these stability ball exercises.

Stability Ball Russian Twist

Start: Get into the stability ball supine bridge position. It is best to have your feet shoulder width apart. Put both your hands straight up towards the ceiling.

Your hand should be together in the middle of your chest. This is where they should remain during the entire range of motion.

Begin the motion: Put your hands up towards the ceiling. Interlock your hands directly above you chest. Turn to each direction, make sure to keep the feel flat on the floor.

Keep the 90 degree leg angles and arms extended in the middle of your chest.

If you feet move at all, you did not perform the stability ball exercise correctly. Start over and focus on total body stabilization.

Stability Ball Plank (arms on ball)

The plank is one of the best stability ball exercises if you perform it correctly. To perform correctly make sure your core remains drawn in, your back does not arch, and your glutes are contracted.

Start: Place your forearms on the very top of the ball. Bring both of your feet back so your body is in the plank position. Your hips should be close as possible to parallel with the floor. Your shoulders should be directly above your elbows to perform these stability ball exercises correctly.

Hold this position: Make sure to keep your core drawn in and your glutes contracted. Your back must not arch, if it does, you should probably regress to the floor plank until you master it.

Modifications: You can also push your arms forward while you maintain the stable position. Every little bit you push forward, makes this stability ball exercise much more difficult. To increase the difficulty you can also hold on to a stretched bungee cord or surgical tube with your hands. This will make the stability ball plank much more difficult.

Stability Ball Plank (feet on ball)

Start: Lie on the floor and form the plank position. Put your feet on the top of a stability ball. The balls of your feet should be evenly placed on the very top of the ball.

Hold this position: As with every plank exercise, make sure you keep your core drawn in and your glutes tightly contracted while you maintain a neutral alignment with your spine.

Your back should never arch during all stability ball exercises.

Modifications: If this is too difficult, you can decrease the difficulty by placing the ball against the wall. This will allow you to stabilize less.

The harder the stability ball is, the more difficult the stability ball plank will be. To increase stabilization you can take one foot off the ball.

To further increase the difficulty you can abduct the leg, which means bring it out to the side.

Stability Ball Walkouts

Start: Lie on stability ball on your stomach and your hands both on the floor.

Begin the motion: Walk with your hands forward until the only points where you touch the ball are your hands and balls of your feet.

Walk your hands back until the middle of your thighs touch the ball and repeat.

It is very important to maintain a drawn in core for this entire motion. Your lower back should NEVER sag towards the floor.

During the entire motion you MUST NOT feel any pain in your back. If you do, stop immediately and regress to the floor exercises until you master them.


Abdominals


Stability Ball Crunches

Start: Lie face up on the top of the stability ball with your lower back completely supported. Put your hands either across your chest or behind your head.

Begin the motion: Draw in your core, with your glutes contracted. Lift your elbows up towards the ceiling, lower under control and repeat.

To vary the difficulty of this stability ball exercise you can adjust your starting position. The more surface of your back on the ball at the top position the easier the motion.

If your hands are behind your head or you have less surface of your back in contact with the ball at the top position it is a more difficult, longer lever crunch.

Stability Ball Side Crunches

Start: Lie face up with your back on the top of a stability ball. It is best performed if you can put your feet against the bottom corner of a wall.

Turn your body right or left to a 45 degree angle in relation to the ball. You should NOT be directly on your side.

Which ever direction your turn that foot should be forward. Spread your feet apart and put your hands interlocking behind your head.

Begin the motion: Make sure to maintain the 45 degree angle during the duration of the movement. Your elbows should be out to the side away from your body. Lower your body until your lower elbow touches the ball.

Your back should be wrapped around the ball. Raise your top elbow straight up towards the ceiling. Lower slowly and repeat.

Stability Ball Leg Turns

Start: Lie face up on the floor. Put the stability ball between your feet and lift your legs as high above your hips as possible. Put your arms out to each side and make sure each palm is touching the floor.

Begin the motion: Turn your legs down to either side. Keep your feet at hip level the entire range of motion.

Make sure your back does not arch and your core stays drawn in during the entire range of motion.

Your palms should also remain on the floor during the entire range of motion. Your knees should be in line with your toes, not knocked need.

This is one of the best stability ball exercises which isolate your lower abs if you do it properly

Stability Ball Toe Raises

Start: Lie face up on the floor. Put the stability ball between your feet and lift your legs as high above your hips as possible.

Put the ball between your feet or ankles and keep your arms down by your hips.

Begin the motion: Push your heels with the stability ball up towards the ceiling. Your hips should rise off the floor.

Lower your hips back to the floor and repeat.

Modifications: You can also add a twist to either direction to work your obliques.

You can also add ankle weights for added resistance.


Stability Ball V-ups

Start: Lie face up on the floor. Put the stability ball between your ankles and your arms above your head resting on the floor.

Begin the motion: At the same time, lift your arms and feet off the ground until they meet in the middle.

As you reach the top position switch the stability ball from your feet to your hands. The next rep switch the ball back to your feet, or ankles, whichever you can reach.

Modifications: You can also perform the motion without switching the ball from feet to hands. The V-up is one of the best ab exercises as well as one of the best stability ball exercises if performed properly.

If you do not feel fatigue in your abdominal region, it is best to regress to a easier movement.


Chest


Stability Ball Push-ups (hands on ball)

Start: Have the stability ball against a wall. Place your hands on the ball around shoulder distance. It is best if your palms face each other so you can squeeze the ball.

Begin the motion: Slowly lower your chest towards the ball. Push yourself back up to the beginning position and repeat.

Keep your head up, and spine in neutral alignment during the entire duration of the motion. Do not drop your head towards the ball.

Modifications: To progress this stability ball exercise, move the ball away from the wall.

You will have to stabilize more which will make the exercise significantly more difficult.


Stability Ball Push-ups (feet on ball)

Start: Assume a push up position. Your hands should be slightly wider than shoulder distance. Place your feet on a physio ball.

Begin the motion: Lower your chest towards the floor. When your chest is close to the floor or touches, push yourself back up.

Do not let your lower back arch and your hips to sag towards the floor.

You can vary the difficulty this stability ball exercise if you change which part of your leg is resting on the ball.

If your feet or toes are on the ball, it is more difficult. If your thighs are on the ball it is easier.

Walk-out with Push-ups

This stability ball exercise is a combination of the stability ball push-ups with feet on the ball and stability ball walkouts.

The same rules apply. Make sure to keep your core drawn in, your back should never arch.


Dual Stability Ball Bush-ups

Start: Put 2 stability balls against a wall.

They can be spread apart a few inches or touching. Put each hand in the center of each ball.

Begin the motion: Slowly lower you chest towards the balls preferably until you touch your chest to the balls.

Push yourself back up to the original position slowly and repeat.

To increase the difficulty, you can move the balls away from the wall.

This physio ball exercise will require a lot of shoulder stabilization.


Dual Stability Ball Chest Flies

Start: Have 2 stability balls on the floor spread about 10 inches apart. Place each forearm about 1/4 from the center into each ball. Bring your feet back to a push-up position.

Begin the motion: Slowly lower your body by spreading your arms apart until they are directly at your side. Once you are in the bottom position, hold for a second, feel the stretch in your chest.

Squeeze your forearms back together. The balls should follow and you should end up in the original position.

This is one of the most advanced stability ball exercises so do not expect to be able to do it if you are a beginner.


Legs


Stability Ball Squats

Start: Place a stability ball against a wall. Lean back into the ball with it positioned in the middle of your back. Position your feet around shoulder distance apart.

You should have your feet about a foot in front of your hips.

Begin the motion: Draw in your core and slowly drop your hips straight down towards the floor.

Stop when your hips, knees, and ankles are aligned in a 90 degree angle. Pause for a second and squat back up to the original position.

This exercise is one of the most versatile stability ball exercises which you can modify many different ways. Stop if you ever experience knee or lower back pain.


Stability Ball Hip Extensions

Start: Form the supine bridge position. Make sure your knees are directly above your ankles.

Begin the motion: Draw in your core and lower your hips towards the floor until your butt touches the floor. Slowly extend your hips back up to the original supine bridge position. At the top position, your lower back should not be arched.

Make sure to contract your glutes. Your knees must remain directly above your ankles for the entire motion. Your should never lose the drawn in core also.

Modifications: To increase the difficulty you can put your feet on an unstable surface such as a BOSU ball or balance disk. To increase the resistance you can either have a weight across your hips.


Stability Ball Hamstring Curls

Start: Lie floor with your hands by your side. Place the stability ball under your heels with your legs fully extended. Your butt should be touching the floor. This exercise is one in which the softer the stability ball the better.

Begin the motion: Draw in your core. As you pull the ball towards your body with your heels you should raise your hips in one continuous motion. Make sure to contract your glutes.

The top of the motion your hips should be as high as possible without arching your back. In one continuous motion, lower yourself back to the original position. You also have the option to plantar flex (push your toes in ball for calf raise) your toes into the ball.

Modifications: Change hand positions and / or use 1 foot at a time to increase the difficulty of the stability ball hamstring curl. This increases difficulty for these stability ball exercises because more stabilization or strength is needed.


Stability Ball Twisting Lunges

Start: Hold a stability ball in between your hands from a standing position.

Begin the motion: Lunge forward. Make sure when you lunge forward, your plant your front heel. Your knee should be directly above your heel. Your back knee should be about 1 inch above the floor. With your arms outstretched directly in front of you turn the ball towards the leg which is forward until it passes over the knee. Only turn as far as you can with your core drawn in tightly.

To increase the difficulty you can simply perform a stationary lunge or 2 or 4 or 10 in between each step. Lunges are great stability ball exercises but can also be used with other exercise balls.


Lower Back


Stability Ball Back Crunch

Start: Lie your chest on top of a stability ball. Your feet should be fully extended behind you. Put your hands behind your head.

Begin the motion: Slowly extend your shoulders up towards the ceiling. Make sure you maintain a drawn in core.

This exercise is not for everyone. Consult with your trainer to see if you should be doing it.

The stability ball back crunch directly exercises the erector spinae (low back muscles) while all stability ball exercises indirectly work the core to support the lower back.


Stability Ball Cobra

Start: The same position as the stability ball back crunch (above).

Begin the motion: Slowly extend your arms out fully in front of you with your thumbs up. Keep your arms as high as they can towards the ceiling and slowly rotate your arms all the way around in almost a full circle until your arms are close to your hips.

Slowly bring your arms back the opposite direction until they are in the original position then repeat.

Keep your thumbs up towards the ceiling for the duration of this movement.

Stability ball cobra is one of the stability ball exercises which can also be performed on the floor or BOSU balls.


Here is More information related to the Best Exercises

  • Buy Only the Best Exercise Balls
    The Duraball Pro is the best stability on the market and with proper care will last you years. As mentioned before, it allows you to use hundreds of pounds, NEVER gets lopsided and looks good in any gym.
  • Stability Ball Exercise Videos
    Enter the exercise video library and watch free stability ball exercises on video categorized by body part. See dozens of exercises videos of stability ball exercises.
  • Stability Ball Workouts
    If you want to use Swiss balls exclusively in your exercise program learn from a personal trainer the pros and cons to stability ball workouts.
  • Best Back Exercises
    The lats (upper back) is the only weakness of stability ball exercises. You cannot exercise your lats with just a stability ball. Find exercises which are the most effective for working the muscles which will give you the desired v shape.
  • Best Legs Exercises
    Weight training for your legs is very important because they contain a high percentage of your total body’s muscle mass. Find the most effective exercises for your legs. Stability ball exercises for your legs are not as difficult as the best legs exercises.
  • Best Arms Exercise
    Whether you are looking to tone your triceps or build bigger biceps, the best arm exercises will cut your training time and improve your training results. The arms are hard to target with stability ball exercises alone, but if you add dumbbells and barbells you can get a complete workout.
  • Best Chest Exercises
    The muscle group that involves the best chest exercises is important for men and women. It is important because it is a large muscle group which will have a significant impact on your metabolism if included in your exercise program.

Author Profile: Mike Behnken

Mike Behnken is a personal trainer who holds multiple NASM certifications and a MS in Exercise Science. Mike loves fitness, travel, and photography among many other interests.

Disclaimer: The views of the author are his or her own, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Ask The Trainer.

Comments (2)

  1. Linda G says:

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    Your site has given me the information, stretches, AND exercises needed to finally give me some relief. I own a foam roll and stability ball and have used the videos on your site over and over again. My back has never felt better!! I had a severe tightness in my hip too, the side where all my muscles are pushed to due to the scoliosis, and when I started doing those hip “stretches” I instantly felt the difference and was able to get up off the floor with NO ASSISTANCE!!! I have recommended your site to numerous friends and family members. My brother was going to schedule his back surgery for Aug. of this year but has decided he doesn’t need it because your site has helped eliminate his back pain. Thank you so very much!!!!

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