Want to know the secret for strengthening your core, protecting your joints, and getting more muscle-building benefits out of every workout? It’s stability. Or, a stability ball, to be exact.
Also referred to as an exercise ball or a balance ball, stability ball exercises can take your workouts to the next level.
“Stability ball workouts help to teach the body to move as one unit,” explains Beachbody Fitness Expert Cody Braun.
“When performing stability ball exercises, the muscles that make up the coreand surround the hips and shoulders have to work together to keep the body strong through a full range of motion.”
Increased stability is useful for many reasons, both in and out of the gym. Stable joints are less prone to injury, because they have the strength to stay in the correct position during taxing movements.
Additionally, being able to move your body as one cohesive unit helps when it comes to weightlifting, running, and other athletic endeavors, Braun says.
Ready to start sculpting your muscles and improving your stability? Try these 10 stability ball exercises that can be done in the gym or at home.
1. Stability Ball Jackknife
Benefits:This core exercise does double duty by strengthening the hip flexors and crunching your abs.
- Get in a high-plank position with your hands directly underneath your shoulders and your shins on top of a stability ball.
- Brace your core to keep your body in a straight line from head to toes. This is your starting position.
- Squeeze your core and bend your knees to roll the stability ball toward your hands until only your toes are resting on the ball, keeping your hips down as you do so.
- Pause, then slowly straighten your legs back behind you, returning to the starting position.
2. Stability Ball Hamstring Curl
Benefits:Strengthen your hamstrings and glutes with this seemingly simple move, while also engaging your core.
- Lie with your back flat on the floor with the back of your calves on top of a stability ball and your legs straight.
- Brace your core and squeeze your glutes to raise your hips off of the floor so that your body forms a straight line from shoulders to heels. This is your starting position.
- Drag your heels to roll the ball as close to your butt as possible or until your knees form 90-degree angles.
- Pause, then slowly straighten your legs as you roll your feet away from your glutes, returning to the starting position.
3. Stability Ball Deadbug
Benefits:Deadbug exercises teach your core to work as it was designed to do — keeping your spine stable while your arms and legs do their own thing. This variation cranks it up a notch by requiring an extra ab squeeze to keep the stability ball in place, while also targeting your obliques.
- Lie with your back flat on the floor with your arms extended straight up, your legs bent at 90 degrees, and holding a stability ball between your knees and your hands. This is the starting position.
- Keeping the ball in place with your right hand and left knee, brace your core and slowly lower your right leg and left arm to within six inches of the floor (both should remain in line with your body). Only go as low as you can with your low back pressing in to the floor.
- Reverse the move to return to the starting position, and repeat on your other side.
- Continue alternating sides, performing equal reps on each side.
4. Stability Ball V-Pass
Benefits:Challenge your entire body with this next-level stability ball exercise. It works your core as you pass the ball between your hands and feet, and you have to engage your inner thighs and arms to keep the ball from falling to the ground.
- Lie with your back flat on the floor with your legs extended straight on the floor, holding a stability ball overhead with both hands. Brace your core to minimize any arch in your lower back. This is your starting position.
- Squeeze your abs to lift your arms and legs to place the ball between your calves, creating a “V” position.
- Lower back down to the starting position, but this time with the ball between your legs.
- Repeat the movement, passing the ball back and forth between your hands and legs.
5. Stability Decline Push-Up
Benefits:This advanced bodyweight move is a version of a decline push-up that challenges your core just as much as your arms. You should be able to perform regular push-ups with confidence before taking on this exercise. (Here are sometips to get better at push-ups.) You’ll find this move in the Body Beast workout,Beast Up: Chest Shoulders and Tris.
- Get in a high-plank position with your hands directly underneath your shoulders and your toes on top of a stability ball. Brace your core and squeeze your glutes to keep your body in one straight line from head to toes for the entire move.
- Bend your elbows to lower your chest toward the ground, keeping your elbows tucked close to your body. They should form a 45 degree angle to your torso when viewed from above.
- Press your arms straight to return to the plank position and repeat.
6. Stability Ball Wall Squat
Benefits:Strengthen your glutes, hamstrings, and quads while building stability through your hips and core. Perform back-to-back reps, or hold each rep as long as possible.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and a stability ball between the middle of your back and a wall. Your feet should be slightly in front of your body. This is your starting position.
- Bend your knees to roll your body down the ball until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Your knees should be in line with your middle toes
- Pause, then press through your heels to return to starting position and repeat.
- Make this move harder by holding a dumbbell in each hand.
7. Russian Twist
Benefits:Improve your core’s stability and rotational strength in one simple move that really targets your obliques and transverse abdominis.
- Lie with your upper back on a stability ball and your feet flat on the floor with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle. Brace your core and keep your hips extended so your torso forms a straight line from head to knees.
- Extend your arms straight above your chest and press your palms together. This is your starting position.
- Rotate your torso to roll onto one shoulder as far as you can while raising the other from the ball. Your hips should stay square with the floor.
- Reverse the move to return to the starting position.
- Repeat, rolling onto the opposite shoulder
8. Single-Leg Stability Ball Hip Thrust
Benefits:This advanced hip thrust variation builds your glutes and hamstrings by training one leg at once, helping to correct anymuscle imbalancebetween legs. Using a stability ball rather than bench hones in on single-leg hip stability even further. Practice with both feet flat on the floor, and then both feet on the ball before graduating to this advanced move.
- Lie with your back flat on the floor and both feet on a stability ball, legs bent at a 90 degree angle. Rest your arms straight on the ground by your sides.
- Lift one foot off the ball and extend it out straight.
- Squeeze your glutes to thrust your hips off the ground. Brace your core so that your torso forms a straight line from head to knees.
- Pause, then slowly lower your hips back to the ground.
- Perform all reps, then repeat on the opposite leg.
9. Stability Ball “I-Y-T” Shoulder Raise
Benefits:Fend off the effects of sitting at a computer all day by training your shoulder stabilizers and mid-back muscles with this deceptivelydifficult exercise.
- Lie facedown on a stability ball with your stomach on a stability ball and your legs extended out straight behind you, digging your toes into the floor for support. Brace your core so that your body forms a straight line from head to heels.
- Let your arms hang straight toward the floor, holding your hands in fists with your thumbs up. Squeeze your shoulder blades down and away from your ears. This is your starting position.
- Leading with your thumbs, raise your arms straight up and close to your ears, keeping your shoulders pressed down. This is the “I” formation.
- Lower your arms down toward the floor, then lift your arms up again, but this time diagonally, making a “Y” formation.
- Lower your arms down toward the floor, then lift your arms straight out to your side to form a “T” formation with your palms facing the floor.
- The cycle of “I-Y-T” is one set.
- Make this move harder by holding a dumbbell in each hand.
10. Stability Ball Rollout
Benefits:This seemingly simple move will leave your abs shaking as it tests your core strength and stability.
- Place your hands on a stability ball and kneel with your knees hip-width apart and your toes on the floor for stability.
- Keeping your back flat and core braced, and without moving your knees, slowly roll forward so the ball comes to your forearms, until your body forms a straight line from your head to your knees.
- Pause, then roll back to the starting position.
How Do You Use an Exercise Ball?
You can use an exercise ball in a number of ways, and since it doesn’t take up a lot of space it’s an excellent piece ofhome workout equipment.
One common way to use a stability ball is as a substitute for a bench. (Many moves inBeachbody On Demand workoutscan be done with either a bench or stability ball.)
If you’re accustomed to performing exercises with a stable bench, using an exercise ball will require firing up your core, hip, and shoulder stabilizers in a new way, Braun explains.
Just keep in mind that because of this extra requirement for stability, you should start by using less weight than you would use with a bench.
Stability balls also allow movement in exercises like ab or hamstring rollouts.
And you can use a stability ball as a sort of weight (a very large, light weight) and move it from one side of your body to the other, or pass it between your hands and feet.
What Size Stability Ball Should I Get?
Before you put your gym’s stability balls to use or buy your own, make sure you have one that’s the right size. Like any piece of exercise equipment, it’s important that your stability ball fits your body.
To find the perfect size, all you need to know is your height.
If you’re 5’4″ or taller, opt for a ball that’s 65 cm in diameter. If you’re shorter, 55 cm is best. (Beachbody offersbalance balls in both sizes).
Use a tape measure to make sure that you have inflated your ball to the specified size —it should be firm to the touch, but still have some “give.”
What is the best exercise for stability? ›
- Squat floor reach.
- Chair leg squats.
- Squat reach and jump.
- Fast step ups.
- Step up knee lifts.
- Lunge with bicep curl.
- Side lunges.
The diameter of an exercise ball is the same as its height when fully inflated. Inflate the ball until the top of the ball is level with your pencil mark.Are stability ball workouts effective? ›
When used properly, stability balls can strengthen the core (abdominal and lower back muscles). These muscles are used to perform daily activities. A strong core helps to protect the back and stabilize the whole body, including the spine, pelvis, hips and shoulders. Improve balance.What are stability ball exercises particularly effective for improving? ›
Stability ball exercise is particularly effective for improving : Core, endurance and strength.What is the best exercise to improve balance in elderly? ›
Step 1: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Step 2: Extend your arms out to the sides and slowly lift your right knee up off the floor. Step 3: Straighten your leg out in front of you, hold that position for 30 seconds, and relax. Repeat this exercise for both legs at least three times.Is a stability ball good for seniors? ›
As you age, the muscles surrounding your hips can become tight and inflexible. This is of special concern to seniors because mobility can be affected. This stability ball exercise targets the hip flexor muscles. The core muscles also are engaged through proper posture.Can you build muscle with stability ball? ›
Stability ball exercises activate the core muscles, increase body awareness, and improve coordination. They also provide an effective way to build muscle, improve endurance, and increase flexibility.Is it worth using an exercise ball? ›
Using exercise balls while exercising can provide some amazing benefits such as back and spine health, core stability, better posture and muscle balance. It only seems logical that using them more frequently or for longer periods of time could help even more.What are the five benefits of core stability exercises? ›
- Injury Prevention. One of the most important benefits of a strong core is injury prevention. ...
- Reduces Back Pain. Having strong core muscles creates a system of support for your spine. ...
- Improved Balance and Stability. ...
- Improved Posture. ...
- Improved Lifting Efficiency. ...
- Athletic Performance.
Core stabilization strengthens the muscles of the core and helps you learn to use the inner muscles before you start to move. The focus is on stability, breathing, and smooth, coordinated movement. Focusing on the core of the body as a way to promote strength and good health is an ancient idea.
What are stability workouts good for? ›
Stability training benefits your overall fitness and injury prevention as well. It not only lowers your risk of overuse injuries but also helps prevent accidents that can lead to acute injuries. When you have weak stabilizers, it becomes more difficult to perform tasks because of improper alignment and positioning.What pressure should I fill my exercise ball? ›
Stability/balance balls are not inflated to a specific psi (pounds per square inch). The range of inflation for all the stability balls is between 0.6 PSI and 0.9 PSI. Generally, users should inflate to their desired firmness within that range.Can you over inflate an exercise ball? ›
DO NOT use the ball if it is over inflated or expanded to a size greater than the corresponding size on the chart. Remove the pump nozzle and insert the plug into the air valve to make sure no air will escape from the valve.How much air should be in an exercise ball to fill? ›
Inflate the ball to 80%
If no pump is included, you can also use the pump for your air mattress. Pump up the ball until it touches both the wall and the box. Place the valve to close the ball.
- Mountain climbing.
- Isometric contraction.
- Weight training. very slow contraction. isolated exercises. compound exercises without lockout.
- Forward Lunges. ...
- Side Lunges. ...
- Cross-Over. ...
- Standing Quad Stretch. ...
- Seat Straddle Lotus. ...
- Seat Side Straddle. ...
- Seat Stretch. ...
- Knees to Chest.
“Typically, a person in their 50s should be able to balance on one leg for around 40 seconds. Someone in their 60s is looking at 20 seconds, and someone in their 70s is around 10 seconds,” Lubetzky continued.How can a woman 70 years old help strengthen her balance? ›
- Foot Taps. This exercise strengthens the core muscles that helps stabilize your spine. ...
- Head Rotations. ...
- Standing Marches. ...
- Sit-to-Stands. ...
- Single-Leg Stands. ...
- Over-the-Shoulder Walks.
In recent research, it was found that spinal shrinkage occurred more when sitting on an exercise ball compared to sitting on an office chair. The research concluded, sitting on an exercise ball has more disadvantages and it's recommended that you stick with your office chair.How long should you sit on a stability ball? ›
If you want to experiment with a yoga ball chair, make sure to follow these guidelines: Don't sit for longer than 2 hours at a time. If you sit too long, your muscles will become fatigued and you may end up feeling sore in your middle back and lower back. Pump it up.
Does an exercise ball tone your stomach? ›
Core-strength exercises strengthen your core muscles, including your abdominal muscles, back muscles and the muscles around the pelvis.What is the difference between a stability ball and an exercise ball? ›
There is no difference between a stability ball and an exercise ball. In fact, stability balls go by a lot of other names, including Swiss ball, balance ball, fitness ball, yoga ball, pilates ball, Bosu ball, physio ball, and birthing ball.Is an exercise ball better than a chair? ›
Virtually all of the research points to exercise balls causing more problems than solutions, and most experts recommend sticking to a traditional (ergonomically correct) office chair.Who should not use an exercise ball? ›
Patients with specific unstable spine injuries or spinal disease that can be exacerbated by the movements. Cases where the patient's pain increases when using the ball. For people who are fearful of falling or who do not feel comfortable on the ball.How long should you use exercise ball? ›
As an introduction to exercising on the ball, it is often recommended that one simply sit on one for 30 minutes a day and bounce lightly, continually finding and maintaining balance on the ball.What is an example of a stabilization exercise? ›
Squat Jump With Stabilization
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointed straight ahead, hips in neutral position and knees aligned over second and third toes. Squat slightly as if sitting in a chair. Jump up, extending arms overhead. Land softly and hold for 3 to 5 seconds.
- Make stability a top priority. Commit yourself to consistency. ...
- Establish a routine. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. ...
- Limit your alcohol. ...
- Live within your financial means. ...
- Don't overreact. ...
- Find stable friends. ...
- Get help making decisions. ...
- End a bad relationship.
They are the curl-up, the side plank, and the bird-dog. "These exercises engage all the important muscles needed to improve spine stability," says L'Italien.How do you stabilize your body? ›
- Standing up, separate your feet. ...
- Inhale, reach up, and on your exhale, sway to your right. ...
- Inhale, reach up, exhale and bring your hands to your knees like a baseball player. ...
- Standing upright, lift your right leg up and hold with your knee at 90 degrees in front of you.
- Standing March. Standing near a sturdy support, begin marching in place slowly for 20-30 seconds. ...
- Standing 3-Way Kicks. ...
- Sidestepping. ...
- 1-Leg Stand. ...
- Sit to Stand and Stand to Sit. ...
- Heel-to-Toe Standing or Walking.
What are the 4 factors affecting stability? ›
Common factors that affect this stability include temperature, light, pH, oxidation and enzymatic degradation.What are three factors that affect stability? ›
- low centre of mass. the lower the centre of mass, the higher the stability.
- increase size of base of support. the larger the base of support, the higher the stability.
- line of gravity is central to base of support. ...
- increased body mass or inertia.
To improve your stability, you must improve your lower body strength. The muscles in the lower body—the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and calf muscles—are some of our largest muscle groups. Your adductors (inner thigh muscles) are also important for balance because they keep the hips in alignment.