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An exercise ball is a must-have in any commercial or home gym. If you’re a newbie, here are exercise ball workouts you can try.
The exercise ball craze that replaced many office chairs over the past decade showed that an orb can burn more calories just by sitting on it.
While it might make work more amusing, the real purpose of fitness orbs is to exercise with them. Yes, they are much more versatile than a bouncing office chair.
And when used properly, you can gain the benefits of a stronger back and abdomen, as well as better overall balance.
Use these exercise ball workouts if you are a beginner. Start by just sitting on the ball to find your center of gravity.
1. Assisted Squats
To get acquainted with your ball, use it as support to do guided squats. Exercise ball exercises like this one helps you with common lower back pain caused by lifting. It can strengthen your thighs, rear, and hips.
- Find an open space against the wall.
- Put the ball between you and the wall close to the bottom of your back.
- Keep your legs hip-width apart and about 1 to 2 feet away from the wall.
- Place your hands on your hips as you slowly squat down and come back up.
- Do not let your knees bend further than your toes.
- Repeat 5-10 times.
Remember that you should not lean into the ball, rather use it as a guide to move smoothly.
2. Bridge Lift
If you are wondering how to use an exercise ball to strengthen your core, but don’t have the balance yet, try the bridge lift. It will help you get used to the ball without trying a major balancing act.
- Use a mat to lie flat on your back with the exercise ball nearby.
- Place your legs on the ball with your calves near the center.
- Put your arms straight at your side with the palms facing the ground.
- Tighten your stomach muscles.
- Use your arms to lift your hips so your rear raises off the floor.
- Hold this position for 10 seconds and release.
You can add a leg lift while holding, alternating legs to get a more difficult workout.
3. Abdominal Ball Raise
You can stay in the same position while moving into a core stomach workout. This is one of those easy exercise ball workouts for beginners since you will be using the ground as balance.
- Continue lying on your back with your legs on top of the ball.
- Move your legs to the sides of the ball as you spread your legs open to hips-width.
- Squeeze the ball between your calves as you tighten your stomach muscles.
- Lift the ball as high as possible without moving the rest of your body. Keep your head on the floor.
- Hold the ball in the air as you take several deep breaths.
- Return the ball to the ground and do 10-15 repetitions.
You can make the exercise more difficult by twisting to either side while holding the ball. Do not let the ball touch the ground and hold the position for a few seconds.
If you’ve ever done a plank then you know how effective it is to strengthen your core. Using exercise balls is an even better way to hold a plank while gaining more balance.
- Begin by lying on the ball on your stomach.
- Place your hands on the floor and slowly walk on your hands forward so that the ball moves down your body to your thighs.
- Your hands should be in line with your shoulders and be kept straight.
- Keep your legs about hip-width apart and straight.
- Tighten your stomach muscles as you take deep breaths.
- Hold the position for several seconds.
- Slide the ball back on your stomach to rest and repeat.
You can enhance this exercise by moving the ball to your shins, creating a more difficult balancing challenge.
5. Leg Lift
Stability ball exercises are an easy way to add some extra weight and support to normal workout routines. Use this leg lift move to keep your legs in sync while enhancing your balancing skills.
- Lie on a mat flat on your back with your legs stretched out.
- Place the ball in between your feet and just touching your ankles.
- Support your neck by clasping your fingers behind your head and lifting slightly.
- Raise the ball using your feet, keeping your legs straight until your legs make a 90-degree angle with your torso.
- Lower the ball, but do not touch the floor. Try to come within a few inches from the ground.
- Do several repetitions, keeping your core tight.
This exercise works your abs, lower back, and thighs, making it a complete workout.
6. Pelvis Circles
Not all ball exercises are for building muscle. Loosening your joints and staying flexible is also important. Your pelvis and hips should stay loose to prevent injury.
- Sit on the ball with your back straight and your head facing forward.
- Keep your arms by your side or your hands on your hips.
- Slowly lean forward and rotate in a circle.
- Complete 3 full circles clockwise then switch to counterclockwise.
You can also do front and back rocking motions or side to side movements to stretch the abdomen.
7. Ab Crunch
The most popular ball exercise is a simple ab crunch. This does take some balance, so sit on the ball and find your center of stability before going right into crunches.
- Sit on the ball with your spine straight.
- Get a firm footing with your feet hip-width apart on the floor.
- Cross your arms over your chest.
- Slowly lower your back as you tighten your stomach.
- Go back as far as you are comfortable.
- Return to the sitting position.
- Do several repetitions.
If your crunches seem too difficult, check the air in your ball. A deflated ball may make this exercise hard to complete.
Gear for Exercise Ball Workouts
Before you start any exercise ball workouts you must find the right gear. Balls come in various sizes and shapes that can help keep your workout interesting. You will also want a mat and comfortable workout clothes and shoes.
Check out the fitness equipment section of our blog for reviews and expert workout tips.