Stability balls (aka exercise balls, balance balls, Swiss balls, fitness balls)
are a great way to improve your strength, cardio endurance, and balance. By doing what would normally be basic exercises (like push-ups, squats, lunges and planks) on an unstable surface, muscles get more bang for their buck. In certain countries they’ve even implemented these for students to use instead of traditional chairs sitting at their desks. They were originally created for rehabilitation purposes from injuries, but quickly caught on for everyday exercise and athletic conditioning. This full body stability ball workout will improve your strength, balance and stability.
When using the ball correctly, the body is required to utilize various muscles for stabilization. These muscles may not have been previously challenged using traditional exercise equipment. Because the ball is versatile and dynamic the training outcome will deliver maximal results. Also, using a stability ball for exercise or in place of a chair also burns more calories! More movement= more calories burned.
A good rule of thumb for finding the right fit when purchasing a ball: Sit on the ball and make sure the hips and knees are at right angles with the floor. A properly sized exercise ball will allow you to sit on it with your knees and hip at 90 degrees. Using different size balls will allow you more flexibility and variation with your stability ball training.
By replacing your bench or floor exercises with the ball you add a different level of coordination and balance; not to mention the great core muscle strength and endurance you develop from stabilizing your body during all of your sets and repetitions.
I created a video to go along with this exercise routine-
Reps and sets will depend on fitness levels, but for most of these exercises we recommend doing 3 sets of 10 to 20 reps. After a few runs through, try bumping up the reps to challenge yourself.
- Start with your feet a little wider than hip distance apart, keeping the knees slightly bent, and bring the medicine ball to your left shoulder.
- Exhale and pull abs to spine, and “chop” the ball down diagonally across your body toward your right knee. Imagine you’re chopping some wood at this angle.
- Control the ball back up to the starting position. This completes one rep.
- Lie face down on a stability ball, hands behind your head, feet against a sturdy object. Squeeze your glutes and lift your torso up until your body forms a straight line. Hold for one or two seconds. Slowly return to start. This completes one rep.
- Assume starting position by lying on floor, bottom of feet supported on ball. Lift your hips up off the floor and contract your butt and hamstrings. Slowly lower back to the floor. This completes one rep.
- Kneel in front of a stability ball with your knees hip-width apart, then place your forearms on the ball, hands in loose fists. Keeping your back flat, brace your core and slowly roll the ball away from you by straightening your arms; extend as far as you can without allowing your hips to drop. Pause, then bend your elbows to roll the ball back to start.
- Place an exercise ball nearby and lay on the floor in front of it with your hands on the floor shoulder width apart in a push-up position. Now place your lower shins on top of an exercise ball. While keeping your back completely straight and the upper body stationary, pull your knees in towards your chest as you exhale, allowing the ball to roll forward under your ankles. Squeeze your abs and hold that position for a second. Now slowly straighten your legs, rolling the ball back to the starting position as you inhale.
OVERHEAD BALL SQUAT
- Complete a traditional squat. During the downward movement move the stability ball in front of you with your arms out straight holding the ball above your head. Slowly return back to standing. This completes one rep.
- While standing, place the ball behind the body and put one foot top-down on the top of the ball. Step the other foot out about 6-8 inches, and bend both knees in a deep lunge. Make sure the knee of the front foot does not go over the toes. These are tough. If you are a bit challenged with stability, try holding one hand on a wall or sturdy surface.
If you’re looking for an affordable stability ball to add to your home workout equipment, here is one from Amazon! There are two different sizes to accommodate different heights.