Stability Ball Exercises -
A Whole New Kind of Fun!

I'd like to share some of my favorite stability ball exercises with you.

I've found that a lot of my clients have purchased this piece of equipment for their own home workout routines. However, it ends up sitting in a corner or getting wrecked because a cat decided that it looked like a good thing to dig their claws into!

Stability ball exercises, or fitness ball exercises, are a great way to spice up your workout and add some extra challenge. You can incorporate weight lifting exercises into your workout routine as well.

I've picked some of my favorite fitness ball exercises to share with you. Hopefully you will be inspired to blow up that ball and put it to good use!

Safety First!

You should consult your physician before beginning an exercise program. If you feel faint or have chest pains, stop immediately and call for help.

OK, let's begin!

First of all, you need to make friends with your stability ball. Establish a form of trust. Your ball will move and make you feel like you are going to fall off. With that in mind, clear the space of any sharp corners, breakable items, etc.

What Size Should I Buy?

You will notice that the stability balls come in various sizes.  The sizes are based on your height.  Here's a general guideline for you.

  • 55cm ball - good for people 5'0-5'6" tall
  • 65cm ball - good for people 5'6"-6'0" tall
  • 75cm ball - best for people over 6'0

When purchasing a new ball, blow it up until it is fully shaped but not hard.  Leave it a few days and then blow it up until it is very firm.   Since it has most likely been in the box for a while, you need to allow the material time to stretch out. 

My Favorite Stability Ball Exercises

Bent Over Row

Bent Over Row

This exercise will work the middle of your back for better posture. Bend over at your hip, placing one hand on top of the ball for stability. Use a 5-8lb weight (beginner) or heavier, depending on your fitness level. Draw your elbow up toward the ceiling, squeezing your shoulder blade towards your spine. Then return to the starting position.

Bent Over Triceps Kickback

Triceps Kickback

Use the same stance as in the Bent Over Row.

Draw your belly into your spine and extend your arm straight back.

Use a slightly lighter weight with this exercise.

5 lbs is a good one to start with.

This will work the muscles on the back of your arm... the triceps.

I have a lot of female clients who want to tone this area!

Ab Curl on Ball

Ab Curl on the Ball

To tone up your abdominal muscles, I love using the fitness ball!

Sit on the ball.

Then slowly walk yourself out until the small of your back is supported by the ball. You may want to brace your feet against a stable the baseboard.

Support your head with your fingertips (never pull on your head/neck). Then curl up until the bottom of your shoulder blades are just touching the ball. This is one of my absolute favorite stability ball exercises!

Ab Curl with a Twist

Ab Curl with a Twist

This exercise will target your obliques...or side stomach muscles.

Start in the same position as the Ab Curl (above).

When you curl up, slightly turn your shoulders to one side, lower to the starting position and curl up towards the other side.

Chest Fly

Chest Fly on the Ball

Sit on the ball and roll down so that your head and shoulders are supported on the ball.

Using 5-8lb weights, extend your arms straight up over your chest.

Start to lower the weights out to your sides.

Chest Fly - open position

Stop when the weights are even with your shoulders.

This exercise will challenge your balance, work your chest and front of shoulder AND target your buttocks and hamstrings (back of legs)!

I love this stability ball exercise!

Push Up

The fitness ball is a great way to do push ups too!

Push Up on the Ball

Get low behind the ball. Then roll your body over it, until your thighs are on top of the ball.

This is what we call ' plank position ' on the ball.

With your hands directly under your shoulders, slowly lower your upper body towards the floor. Then push back up.

Remember to pull your abs in tight so that you feel more control.

Bottom part of push up

You may roll off the ball sideways a few times before getting the hang of this one!

You can make this more difficult by rolling out a little further on the starting position. So instead of your thighs (quadriceps) resting on the ball, let your knees or even your shins rest on the ball. In the picture, my knees are resting on the ball to start.

Hamstring Bridge

Hamstring Bridge on the Ball

Now we're ready to really work the back of your legs and buttocks!

Lie on the floor and put your heels and lower calves on top of the ball. Let your arms go out to your sides for support. Lift your hips up towards the ceiling squeezing your buttocks.

This exercise also works the lower back muscles.

If you find that your legs roll to the side, then take your arms out a little further for support.

Hamstring Curl from a Bridge

Hamstring Curl on the Ball

To further work your hamstrings (back of your legs), you can add in a little hamstring curl.

Start with the hamstring bridge (above picture) and then leaving your hips pressed up towards the ceiling, pull your heels and the ball in towards your buttocks. Then return to the starting position. Keep your hips off the floor. Start with only a few reps on this one!

It's a great exercise!

I hope you have found these stability ball exercises helpful.

Remember to work at your own pace and make sure that your workout area is clear of potential hazards. As you probably noticed by doing the exercises, there is the potential to fall off at any given moment!

I teach stability ball exercises as part of my fitness workouts at my home studio Symmetry and Soul.

I was once teaching a class using the stability balls exercises, and had 10 people in the 'plank position '. One person lost their balance and rolled off creating a domino effect for the rest of the room!

I couldn't say or do anything quick enough. They all went down!

Thankfully, no one was hurt and we all had a good laugh!

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