After a recent inquiry about what exactly can be done with a stability ball, I’ve decided to post five of my favorite exercises and a couple of tips that will help you incorporate core work into your total body routine. Aside from the exercises listed below, remember that you can use a stability ball as a flat bench or an incline bench. Try exercises like the chest press lying flat on your ball for a good way to engage your core!
#1 STABILITY BALL SQUAT
This is a pretty easy exercise and a good way for people with suffering knees to strengthen their thighs and glutes. Notice how this guy is keeping his knees behind his toes and practicing good posture by keeping his back straight. It is not necessary to bend your knees any further than 90 degrees. I would emphasize that suggestion if you consider yourself to have bad knees.
If this version of the exercise is too easy for you, consider holding dumbbells to increase the intensity. Still too easy? Consider adding a front raise or curl to your squat on the way down or a shoulder press on the way up.
#2 STABILITY BALL CRUNCHES
Using a stability ball to do standard crunches is one way to add some variety to your core workout. While standard crunches tend to isolate your upper abdomen, balancing on a stability ball forces your entire core to stay engaged.
Try this exercise without the weight first. If you feel confident remaining stable on the ball you can increase the intensity of your crunches by holding a weight behind your head or above your chest. You may also choose to bring your elbow toward your opposite knee to include your obliques in the exercise. Finally, you may try placing your feet flat on a wall rather than flat on the ground to challenge your core even more!
#3 STABILITY BALL PUSHUPS
This exercise is a little more challenging. I would suggest starting with your thighs on the ball rather than your feet. As you gain strength and confidence move the ball back to your knees, shins, feet, and finally toes. The wider you keep your hands the more of a chest workout you will get. The closer you keep your hands the more you work your triceps. Keep in mind that the chest muscles are much larger than the triceps muscles. For that reason, wider hands make for easier pushups.
Want to try something different even more challenging? Keep your feet on the ground and your hands on the stability ball. Complete a set of pushups this way, but not until you feel ready strength wise.
#4 STABILITY BALL GLUTE RAISES
For a great glute and hamstring workout try these out. Ideally, you want to keep your hips raised through an entire set. If that’s too difficult for you, start by raising your hips for each repetition and work up. To make this exercise more difficult try keeping one foot on the ball while raising the other straight up into the air.
#5 STABILITY BALL ROLL-INS
For an advanced way to work your lower abs and entire core try these. Looking for a way to make these tougher? Try keeping your legs straight and rolling the ball in with a pike rather than a tuck. Think I’m crazy? Okay, just try adding a pushup between every rep. 🙂
Hope this was helpful! If there is something you’re interested in learning more about email me at Jess@napfitpt.com. You might end up making the blog!