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Stability Ball Exercises

Since the beginning of Spring I have been implementing Stability Ball Exercises into my weekly ab, upper & lower body workout routines at the gym and found that out the following:

  • I love doing Stability Ball Exercises! 
  • Stability Ball Exercises are great at Building Muscle and Burning Fat at the same time!
  • You almost always utilize your Core Muscles (abdominals & lower back) when utilizing the Stability Ball to do specific exercises.
    • Not only will strengthening your core provide you with a tighter looking tummy, it also is essential for any Runner to have as a strong core helps your posture, supports your back and puts less pressure on your joints!  A strong core helps stabilize your body, create a stronger stride and improve endurance as well.  It also helps reduce your chances of injuries and provides a better form that helps you perform longer.
  • Stability Ball Exercises help Improve Balance and Coordination while targeting specific muscle groups such as legs or chest.
    • They do this by forcing you to incorporate many of the smaller stabilizer muscles while targeting the larger muscle group.
  • It is super easy to get a Full Body Workout in a short amount of time while using the Stability Ball.

Here are some of my favorite Stability Ball Exercises:

Crunch, Reach, Pass

Stability Ball Exercises: Crunch, Reach, Pass
Crunch, Reach, Pass
Figure 1
  1. Begin by laying with your back on the floor and facing the ceiling (supine position). Hold the stability ball with your arms outstretched above your head (the ball will be resting on the floor). (see figure 1).
  2. In a controlled motion, use your abs to perform a sit-up, keeping your arms straight. Simultaneously, as your are perform the sit up, raise your legs. You should “fold” at your abdominal muscles, and your arms and legs should come together at the top of the movement.
  3. Pass the ball from your hands to your feet, and return to the starting (supine) position. The stability ball should be held between your feet.
  4. Repeat the movement, passing the ball from your legs to your hands and vice versa with each repetition.

 


Stationary Lunge

Stability Ball Exercises: Stationary Lunge
Stationary Lunge
Figure 2
  1. Start with a large stability ball behind you. Carefully place a leg on the ball. Your shin should be in contact with the top of the ball. Place your front leg as far out in front of you back leg as you can while maintaining your balance and comfort. Your front foot should be planted firmly on the floor (see figure 2).
  2. To perform this stability ball exercise, lower yourself by slowly bending your front leg until the top of your leg is parallel to the floor. Be sure to keep your back leg firmly on top of the stability ball throughout the movement.
  3. Finish the repetition by returning to the starting position.
  4. Repeat the movement, performing the required number of reps. Repeat with the opposite leg on the ball.
  • Note: In step 2, if you are just beginning, lower yourself as far as you are comfortable until your balance and range of motion have increased.
  • Note: To minimize the chance of injury, try not to allow your knee to drift past your toes as you lower yourself.

 


Pike

Stability Ball Exercises: Pike
Pike
Figure 3
  1. Begin in a push-up position with your shins on top of the exercise ball (see figure 3).
  2. Keeping your legs as stiff as possible, use your abs to roll the ball forward, lifting your hips toward the ceiling.
  3. Hold this position for a three count while flexing your abdominal muscles.
  4. Slowly return to the beginning position.

 


Wall Squat

Stability Ball Exercises: Wall Squat
Wall Squat
Figure 4

In order to correctly perform this exercise, you need to find a wall that is completely flat and with not impediments such as pictures or windows.

  1. Begin by placing your stability ball against a wall, and, while standing upright, lean against the ball with your back. Your feet should be slightly out in front of you and approximately shoulder width apart (see figure 4).
  2. Using a controlled motion, lower your self until the top of your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  3. Slowly return to the standing upright position by pressing your feet into the floor and pushing your body back to upright.
  • Note: If you just beginning a workout routine, In step 2, lower yourself as far as you are comfortable until your range of motion has increased enough to lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • Note: Keep your head up and your eyes facing forward though out the entire movement.
  • Advanced Tip: For an added challenge, you can hold dumbbells in each hand. Using extra weight will help you build muscle and burn fat faster during this stability ball exercise.
  • Advanced Tip: The narrower your stance, the more you involve your quads, while the wider your stance, the more your glutes are used to lift the weight. For balanced muscle development and toning, use the neutral stance described in step 1 above.

 


Push Up with Hands on the Floor

Stability Ball Exercises: Push Up with Hands on the Floor
Push Up with Hands on the Floor
Figure 5
  1. Start by positioning yourself in the standard push-up position, with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width. Place your feet on top of your exercise ball.
  2. Slowly lower yourself to the ground until your chest nearly contacts the floor.
  3. Perform a push-up by pressing yourself from the floor back to the position number 1 (the starting position).

Note: If you are a beginner , place the ball under your thighs in step 1. The closer the ball is placed to your feet, the harder it is to complete the exercise.


Incline Dumbbell Press

Stability Ball Exercises: Incline Dumbbell Press
Incline Dumbbell Press
Figure 6
  1. Begin by squatting down and lying back so that your upper back is in contact with the exercise ball (see figure 6). Hold the dumbbells at the top your chest.
  2. Press the dumbbells toward the ceiling, finishing with your arms extended. At the top of the move, the dumbbells should come together over your chest.
  3. Return to the starting in a controlled movement and repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.
  • Note: During the press, be sure to concentrate on keeping your wrists and your elbows aligned to avoid losing control of the weight. You should use the assistance of a spotter for this and other stability ball exercises that use weights.
  • Tip: At the top of the movement, squeeze your pectoral muscles hard for a count for extra muscle stimulation.

 


Stability Ball Crunch

Stability Ball Exercises: Stability Ball Crunch
Stability Ball Crunch
Figure 7
  1. Start by sitting on the exercise ball as if you were sitting on a chair. Slowly lean back and walk your feet forward until the ball is positioned on your lower back region and you are looking toward the ceiling. The top your legs should be parallel to the floor (see figure 7).
  2. Cross your hands on your chest and keep your head in a neutral position looking forward (toward the ceiling). Your chin should not touch your chest at any point during this exercise.
  3. Raise your torso by contracting your abdominals to perform the crunch.
  4. Hold for a count, squeeze your abdominals, and return to starting position.
  • Note: You can add further resistance by holding weights in your arms as you perform this exercise.

 


Back Extension

Stability Ball Exercises: Back Extension
Back Extension
Figure 8
  1. Begin by kneeling on the floor in front of stability ball and lie face down so that the ball is at your upper abdominal region. Your head should be facing the floor.
  2. Cross your hands over your chest, and raise your torso approximately six inches.
  3. Hold for a count, then slowly and under control, lower your torso to the starting position.

 

  • Note: The further the ball is placed toward your hips, the harder the exercise is to perform.
  • Note: You can add further resistance by holding weights in your arms as you perform this exercise.

Shoulder Press

Stability Ball Exercises: Shoulder Press
Shoulder Press
Figure 9
  1. To start this stability ball exercise, sit on the ball in an upright position as if you were sitting on a chair. Hold two dumbbells next to your ears with your palms facing forward (away from you)
  2. Press the weights toward the ceiling, keeping your hands and elbows aligned throughout the movement. The weights should come together above your head as your arms are extended upward.
  3. Return to the dumbbells to the start position in a slow and under control movement.

Dumbbell Bent Over Row

Stability Ball Exercises: Dumbbell Bent Over Row
Dumbbell Bent Over Row
Figure 10

This exercise requires a larger stability ball that approximately waist height.

  1. Stand facing the ball with your legs approximately shoulders width apart. Bend forward at the hips, keeping your back straight and place one hand on the ball in front of you. Hold a dumbbell in the opposite hand with your palm facing your body, and allow your arm to hand freely. Bend your knees as much as necessary for comfort, but keep your back roughly parallel to the floor.
  2. Pull, or “row,” the dumbbell up toward your upper body. Be sure to keep you elbow tight to you body, and squeezing your shoulder blades together at the top of the lift in order to fully contract and emphasize your lats.
  3. Slowly lower your arm and lower the weight back to the starting position with your arm hanging straight down.
  4. Perform the recommended number of repetitions and repeat with the opposite arm.

 


Abdominal Tuck

Stability Ball Exercises: Abdominal Tuck
Ab Tuck
Figure 11

This stability ball exercise is a less advanced version of the pike.

  1. Start with your shins on the stability ball with your hands on the floor in a push-up position (figure 11). The closer the ball is located toward your feet, the more difficult this exercise will become.
  2. Pull the fitness ball toward your chest by bending your knees and lifting your hips until you are in the tucked position with your knees at your chest.
  3. Carefully return the exercise ball to the starting position by extending your legs until you are again in the push up pose.
  • I often like to do a push up, then an ab tuck, and then a push up… especially when I am looking for some variation to my routine.

 


Oblique Stability Ball Crunch

Stability Ball Exercises: Oblique Stability Ball Crunch
Oblique Stability Ball Crunch
Figure 12
  1. Begin by kneeling down on one knee beside the exercise ball with the knee that is on the floor next to the fitness ball (see figure 12).
  2. Carefully lie sideways over the stability ball. You bottom arm (arm closest to the ball) should be bent with your hand behind your head and your top arm (arm farthest from the ball) can either be in the same position (hand behind head) or lying on your side (see figure 12). Having your top hand behind your head makes the exercise more difficult.
  3. Slowly raise you body upward by lifting your shoulder, pushing your hips into the ball and pulling with your obliques, making sure not to twist your body.
  4. Squeeze your obliques for a count and then slowly lower yourself back to the starting position.

 


As you can see from the above exercises they pretty much provide you with a Full Body Workout that Builds Muscle &  Burns Fat at the same time!  That is an A+ workout in my book, especially since I do not have much time to waste in the gym and need exactly that.

Last night at the GYM I did the following workout routine from my August 2010 Fitness Magazine their articled called Reach Your Better Body Goal – Trim from Tush to Toe Workout that included a few Stability Ball moves:

***2 or 3 sets of each, 10-15 reps each

I also added in the following moves from above:

  • Crunch Reach Pass
  • Stationary Lunge
  • Pike

***2 sets of each, 10 reps each

____________________

 My EATS were pretty minimal on Monday.

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Dessert

___________________

Have you ever used the Stability Ball and if so do you like it!?!?!

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  1. September 8, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    I have a stability ball and I love using it. I can really feel it in my abs!

    • September 8, 2010 at 6:00 pm

      Oh, I know, love it!

      There are TONS of excersies you can do on the Stability Ball that I have learned from trainers in the gym and online, so much so that you could just buy one and you could do a “full body” workout at home………something I am thinking about doing in the near future!

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