exercises on a stability ball for more balance, strength and coordination

I don’t know why, but I just looove stability balls!!! (Also known as swiss, balance, fit or physio balls.)

May be it’s because of their smooth, plump, “unedgy” and slightly clumsy appearance and their overall harmless and kind of playful looks …? Even my lazy inner bastard, who loves to put on a fight once in a while, likes working out with this round training companion!

Training with a stability ball is always a lot of fun, will never get boring and can still be surprisingly challenging! (If there wasn’t at least a bit of a challenge, we wouldn’t bother, right?) 🙂 Struggling to maintain your balance on its wobbly surface works muscles, you did’nt even know you had! This training of functional strength, body awareness, balance, posture and coordination is something any athlete’s performance will benefit from. No matter whether you are a skier, a biker, a surfer – you should give it a try.

BUT:  If there’s one thing you don’t wanna do, it’s underestimating the moods of this highly unbalanced training partner. (Speaking from personal experience … ouch!)  So, take some precautions in terms of practising on soft underground (grass, a couple of gymnastic mats, a thick carpet) in an area clear of anything you could possibly bump into.

And now check out some of these exercise and pick those you like best. I will go on adding my favorite ones from time to time, so stay tuned! 🙂

The stability ball squat

This exercise will set your legs on fire …

Squat on stability ball
© njoyrides, picture was taken in the M.I.S.S. Fitness Sportstudio München

How to do it:

  • have your training partner help you onto the ball
  • hold onto him, till you are sure you have found your balance
  • get down into squat position, slowly get higher and squat down again

Good to know:

  • looking on an spot somewhere on the floor in front of you helps finding your balance
  • I used to start doing this exercise close to a sling trainer fixed on the ceiling. This way I could grap the slings, whenever I felt I needed to stabilize myself
  • It’s my favorite ski prep exercise: Squatting on the ball, holding a low position for as long as possible, getting back up again … till my legs are burning

The Pike

Beautiful exercise for core and shoulder strength …

Core and shoulder strength exercise with stability ball
© njoyrides, picture was taken in the M.I.S.S. Fitness Sportstudio München

How to do it:

  • start from plank position with your hands underneath your shoulders and your feet placed on the stability ball
  • make sure to build up and hold this tension in the muscles of your legs and torso throughout the whole exercise
  • keeping your legs straight, pull your feet towards your chest
  • pike your hips as high up as possible, aiming for a handstandlike position, with your hips over your shoulders ( I am not quite there yet, as you can see …)
  • Then lower your hips again, rolling back into the plank position
  • Make sure to keep your torso rigid also when coming out of the pike! Avoid a hollow back!

 

Knee Tuck

Knee Tuck with stability ball: core and shoulder exercise
© njoyrides, picture was taken in the M.I.S.S. Fitness Sportstudio München

How to do it:

  • get into plank position with your feet resting on the stability ball
  • pull your feet toward your chest and try to keep them as high up as possible
  • roll back again, making sure to keep the muscles of your torso really tight in order to prevent your hips from sinking downwards. Avoid a hollow back!
  • repeat

Good to know:

  • You might want to start with your shins lying on the ball and slowly progress to let only your feet rest on it (the smaller the contact area, the more difficult this exercise gets)

 

Hip Raise and Leg Curl

This one is for glutes and hamstrings …

Exercise working hamstrings and glutes
© njoyrides, picture was taken in the M.I.S.S. Fitness Sportstudio München

How to do it:

  • lie down on the floor, the lower part of one leg placed on a stability ball, the other leg pointing straight to the ceiling
  • engage your glutes and lift your hip, till shoulder, hip and knee are in one diagonal line
  • make sure not to let your hips tilt to one side
  • bring the heel of the foot on the ball towards your bottom, while keeping a straight line from knee to shoulder
  • lower yourself back down and repeat

Good to know:

  • when lifting your hip, focus on your glutes in order to avoid that your lower back tries to do the job!
  • if the single leg version is too intense in the beginning (cramps at the back of the legs are not exactly uncommon), start with both legs on the ball. It’s still very effective!

 

“Stirring” elbow plank

works your shoulders and core …

Elbow Plank on stability ball for a strong core
© njoyrides, picture was taken in the M.I.S.S. Fitness Sportstudio München

How to do it:

  • place your underarms on a stability ball and come into plank position
  • your body is in one straight line, rigid as a tree trunk
  • make sure to keep a strong core throughout this exercise and avoid a hollow back
  • to make things a little bit more challenging, start writing your name, your phone number or whatever comes to your mind with your elbows
  • hold this position for as long as possible

 

Reverse Flys

Works the back of your shoulders, as well as your upper and lower back

Exercsie to work the back of your shoulders and your back
© njoyrides, picture was taken in the M.I.S.S. Fitness Sportstudio München

How to do it:

  • lie facedown with your belly on a stability ball, holding a weight (bottle of water) in each hand
  • press with your feet against a wall for more balance
  • tuck your belly button in and keep your abs engaged, in order to prevent a hollow back
  • lift your upper body in one diagonal line with your legs and keep it there
  • hold your arms slightly bent in front of you
  • pull your shoulderbaldes together and down
  • engage the muscles on the back of your shoulders and in your upper back, pull your shoulder blades together an bring your arms into a “W” shaped position beside you, the back of your hands facing behind you and slightly upwards
  •  lower the weights down in front of you, before bringing them back to your sides
  • keep your back in the same straight position throughout this exercise and prevent it from arching backwards when bringing your arms to your sides

 

Kneeling on a stability ball

Something fun in between. You might feel this on the insides of your thighs though …

A playful way to work on your balance while kneeling on a stability ball
© njoyrides, picture was taken in the M.I.S.S. Fitness Sportstudio München

How to do it:

  • first of all try to kneel on the ball
  • trying to do this might already be enough of a challenge and is really fun
  • once you have managed, have someone to throw you a ball

Good to know:

  • this exercise is even more fun and far more challenging, when your trainingpartner is kneeling on a ball as well and you toss another small ball from one to another
  • just make sure there’s nothing around you, where you could bump into!

 

Dumbbell Pulses

This one works your triceps and back muscles …

Great triceps and back exercise on a stability ball

© njoyrides

How to do it:

  • Lie facedown with your belly and hips on a ball
  • hold a bottle of water or a dumbbell in each hand
  • engaging the muscles of your back, bring your upper body in one line with your legs and hold it in this position
  • squeeze your glutes together, keep your legs strong and straight and pull your belly button towards your spine
  • your arms are extended close to your body, your palms facing upwards
  • now make little pulsing movements upwards with your arms
  • Make sure to draw your shoulder blades backwards and downwards, as ig trying to make them touch in the middle of your back
  • keep your neck straight

 

To be constantly continued … ! 🙂

You don’t have a stability ball? Here is a selection …

 

Please note: The exercises on this website are physically intense. In order to reduce the risk of injury, you should go through a thorough warm up routine, before beginning any fitness program. Always pay close attention to what your body is telling you! Should you be in pain or feel uncomfortable performing any of these exercises, stop immediately. If you are in doubt or feel insecure, please check with your doctor to determine  if the exercise program is right for your needs.  As with all exercise programs, please use common sense when performing these exercises. Make sure the equipment you use is safe and there is nothing in your surroundings, you could hurt yourself with. By performing any fitness exercises, you are performing them at your own risk. Njoyrides will not be responsible or liable for any injury or harm you sustain as a result of our fitness program or information shared on our website. Thanks for your understanding.
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