Most gyms have it, although most people don’t use it. The stability ball can help you strengthen any muscle on your body and help you become a better lifter. Check out how to get the best out of this tool and these 5 best stability ball exercises.
A stability ball can also be called yoga balls, balance balls, physio balls, exercise balls, Pilates balls, or even Swiss balls. Essentially, they are one and the same. This is that big inflatable ball that is probably gathering dust in the corner of your gym or living room.
Although many people associate this gear with physical therapy or a core-focused workout, the stability ball can benefit athletes of any level depending on how you use it. Check it out.
How to Use a Stability Ball
There are three ways you can use the stability ball to your advantage. Although it carries the name “stability,” the idea of this ball is to add an unstable surface for you.
You can either sit, lie on it, or even lean into the stability ball.
By utilising this gear, you are adding an extra challenge to your traditional exercise. And because of its instability, chances are that you will be engaging your core to keep your body stable during the execution of said exercise. And that is why most people associate this fitness gadget with abs workouts, although that is not exclusive.
So how do you use a stability ball to your advantage? Think of nearly any bodyweight exercise and you can add the stability ball to get even more results from that exercise. You can perform, for example, push-ups on a stability ball, crunches, hip thrusts, leg curls, back extensions, planks and more. Below you will find the best stability ball exercises.
Which Stability Ball Should You Get?
There are 3 standard sizes for a stability ball and they are measured according to their diameter. You should buy one depending on how tall you are:
- 55 centimetres – height: 4’8’’ to 5’3’’ (1.42m to 1.60m)
- 65 centimetres – height: 5’4’’ to 5’10’’ (1.61m to 1.77m)
- 75 centimetres – height: 5’11’’ to 6’4’’ (1.78m to 1.93m)
If you are smaller or taller than the numbers mentioned above, there are smaller and bigger balls you can get (45 centimetres or 85 centimetres) although they are not as easy to find.
When you sit on top of the ball, it is best if both feet are flat on the ground and your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. You may deflate the ball slightly to make the use of it easier, however, you should pump more air into it as you get stronger.
Benefits of Exercising with a Stability Ball
As mentioned before, the stability ball adds a new level to your ordinary exercise. Benefits of utilising this include:
- Higher core activation
- Improves balance
- Improves exercise technique
- Engages more muscles when compared to the same exercise without a stability ball
The instability this tool adds to your exercises will engage your abs throughout the movement, however, depending on the exercise you choose to do, it can activate even more muscles that you otherwise would not use.
Now that you know which ball to get and the benefits of using it, check out the best stability ball exercises for you to try.
5 Best Stability Ball Exercises
Below we have separated the best stability ball exercises for beginners and advanced athletes. Have fun!
1 – Hamstring Curl
This exercise is great for your lower body. It works your glutes, hamstrings and core.
2 – Crunches
We could not leave out the most talked-about exercise on the stability ball: crunches. It might look easy, but if you do it correctly, your abs will be burning after just one session.
3 – Stability Ball Sprinters
This exercise is great to increase your heart rate. Use it to warm up or to burn extra calories at the end of your training.
To perform it, simply stand tall and hold the ball in front of your body. Sprint in place and touch each knee on the ball as you lift them up.
4 – Jackknife
This exercise strengthens your core and hip flexors in one smooth movement.
5 – Shoulder Raise
Use this exercise to stabilise your shoulders and mid-back muscles. If you want to make it harder, perform the raises in the I-Y-T form. You don’t need weights for this exercise, but you can add a set of dumbbells to build more muscle.
1 – Single-Leg Glute Raise
An advanced variation for you looking to use the stability ball to work your lower body. It engages your glutes, hamstrings, quads and core.
2 – Push-Up (Inclined/declined)
One of the best bodyweight exercises you can do for your upper body is push-ups. Throw in the stability ball and you get yourself an advanced exercise. It targets your triceps, pecs, shoulders, lower back, quads and core.
The video below shows the inclined push-up, however, if you choose to put your feet on the ball, you will be doing the declined version of this exercise, which focuses more on your upper pecs.
3 – Mountain Climbers
This exercise burns calories effectively and you will be engaging your core even more during the movements.
4 – Pike
Another useful option for upper body lovers is the pike exercise done on a stability ball. It focuses heavily on your shoulders, however it engages your legs and abs as well.
5 – Windshield Wipers
The windshield wipers are already a good abs exercise, but when it’s done with a stability ball it makes it extra tough. Work your obliques and get a strong core with this exercise.
Read More: 10 Fantastic Abs Workouts You Can Do at Home