Stability ball workouts are getting more and more popular these days, because of its distinct advantages over other gym equipment or body-weight alone.
Stability balls can be easily recognized as large inflatable balls, originally used by physiotherapists but now common in most gyms. Stability balls are also called as Exercise balls, Balance balls, Swiss balls and with more names. They are relatively cheap, and so are excellent for home exercise equipment, whether used with just body weight exercises or in conjunction with other equipment such as dumbbells, medicine balls and resistance tubes.
Using a stability ball is a fantastic way to challenge your abdominal and stabilization muscles whilst you perform exercises for your main muscle groups.
Stability balls provide a comfortable option to perform classic resistance exercises, yet due to their instability, you have to engage your core muscles otherwise you will fall off.
In addition, stability balls can be used simply to sit on whilst working at a desk – at home or at the office, yet the action of sitting on the ball is only effective for your core muscles if you sit upright with the ball stationary and actively tense these muscles.
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Sitting slumped over a desk on a partially deflated ball has no benefits whatsoever and can even aggravate a back condition – so be warned.
Stability balls come in different sizes and to chose the right size, when seated on the ball with your feet together, your knees should be at right angles, with your thighs parallel to the floor. Balls are available for children starting at 30cm, but most adult balls are available from 45cm to 75cm in diameter but for your ease, please refer to the table below as a guide.
Our experts have chosen their favorite 15 stability ball exercises below, for a total body workout at home or in the gym. But for more stability ball exercises please refer to our Complete Workout Guide.
Stability Ball Roll Out
- Begin kneeling behind a stability ball and place your hands together on top of the ball.
- Brace your abdominal and lean forwards, rolling the ball away from you as you support your weight through your forearms and elbows.
- Roll as far as is comfortable and then ease yourself back to the kneeling position.
- To intensify this exercise, move the ball slightly further away so that more of your bodyweight is supported through your arms and repeat for 8-12 repetitions.
Abdominal Curl on Stability Ball
- Lie back over a stability ball, so that your lower and mid-back are supported by the ball.
- With your hands on your thighs, curl slowly up to lift your chest, head and shoulders away from the ball and reach forwards so that your hands can touch your knees.
- Hold this partial curl position briefly before lowering back down onto the ball and repeat for 10-15 repetitions.
- Kneel behind the stability ball and place your forearms on the ball, under your shoulders ready to support your body weight.
- Slowly, extend your legs out behind you one at a time, so that you are balanced on your toes and with your forearms on the ball, keeping your legs and torso in line, with your abdominal braced.
- Maintain this ‘plank’ position, minimizing any movement of the ball for 30 seconds initially and build up to 1 minute.
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Stability Ball Prone Push up
- Begin kneeling behind a stability ball and roll forward over the ball, walking yourself forwards on your hands so that your thighs are now on the ball, with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
- Brace your abdominal and keep your body rigid and in neutral alignment.
- Bend your elbows and lower your chest towards the floor.
- Then extend your arms pushing back up to the start position repeating for 8-12 repetitions.
Single Arm Chest Press on a Stability Ball
- Lie back over a stability ball holding the dumbbell in your right hand by your chest, so that your middle and upper back are being supported by the ball
- Brace your abdominal and press the dumbbell above your chest, pausing briefly at full arm extension and then lower slowly.
- Continue for 12-15 repetitions before repeating with the dumbbell in your left hand.
- To increase the stabilization element, bring your feet together or even raise one foot off the floor, changing legs when you change hands.
- Sit on a stability ball holding dumbbells in each hand by your shoulder.
- Keep your back straight and brace your abdominal as you press the dumbbells overhead by extending your arms.
- Lower the dumbbells back to the start position, by your shoulders and repeat for 10-15 repetitions.
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Seated Lateral Raise
- Sit on a stability ball holding a dumbbell in each hand.
- With your arms slightly bent at the elbow raise both the dumbbells out to the side until they are almost level with your shoulders, pausing briefly in this position before slowly lowering the weights to the starting position and repeat for 10-15 repetitions.
- Place a stability ball behind your back and against a wall, so that by leaning back slightly you are pressing the stability ball into your lower back and the wall.
- With your feet shoulder width apart bend your knees to lower yourself down with the ball rolling up your back as you lean against it.
- Make sure that your feet are far enough forward so that you are leaning against the ball but still performing a squat technique.
- Only lower as far as is comfortable but ideally aim for the thighs to become parallel to the floor.
- On reaching this point push yourself back to the upright position using your legs and buttocks and repeat, aiming for 12-20 repetitions.
- Place one leg behind you on the stability ball, keeping your leg slightly bent, with your body weight being supported through your front leg.
- With your abdominal braced to help maintain your balance, bend your front leg to lower yourself down toward the floor, with your rear leg remaining on the ball.
- Lower as far as is comfortable, before extending your leg, returning to a standing position.
- They are not allowed to turn and simply run, but should move side-to-side or backwards and with rapid direction changes to ‘escape’ from you, as you face each other throughout.
- Repeat for 8-12 repetitions with each leg before changing legs.
Stability Ball Roll-ins
- Place your shins and feet on a stability ball with your hands on the floor approximately shoulder width apart.
- Keeping your abdominals braced, bend your knees and lift your hips to pull the ball in towards your chest.
- Then extend your legs to roll the ball back out again and repeat for 10-15 repetitions.
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Seated Biceps Curl
- Sit on a stability ball holding both dumbbells in each hand, by your side.
- With your abdominal braced, curl the dumbbells towards your chest, before lowering to return to the start position.
- Repeat for 12-15 repetitions.
- To increase the stabilization element, raise one foot off the floor throughout.
Stability Ball Push-ups
- Secure a resistance tube around a banister or secure door handle and position yourself far enough away so that there is a stretch in the tube when holding the tube handles by your ribs.
- Place your left knee onto a stability ball, keeping your left hand on the ball to steady it, holding the tube handles in your right hand.
- Keeping your right upper arm and elbow still, extend your right arm pulling the handles behind you until your arm is straight.
- Pause briefly and then slowly bend your elbow to return to the start position and repeat for 15-20 repetitions.
Stability Ball Kickbacks
- Place your left knee onto a stability ball, keeping your left hand on the ball to steady it.
- Hold a dumbbell in your right hand with your arm flexed and upper arm parallel to the floor with your forearm vertical.
- Extend your arm, moving the weight back in an arc to finish with the arm almost straight and approximately horizontal to the floor, trying not to twist your torso.
- Pause briefly at the top position before returning back to the start and repeat for 12-15 repetitions, before changing position and repeating with the dumbbell in your left hand.
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