Remember that large inflatable ball you’ve seen at the gym? You know, the one you were convinced is only used in yoga and nothing else. Well, that apparent beach ball is actually called a stability ball and believe it or not, it is used for more than just yoga.
The stability ball is an excellent addition to your workout and let’s just say you can set the difficulty of your typical workout a lot higher.
What is Stability Ball?
A Stability ball is a lightweight air-filled ball, ranging in circumference from 55 to 75 centimeters. They were initially used as a rehabilitation tool for neuro-development treatment between the 1960s and ’70s. It wasn’t until the late until the late ’90s and early 2000s that they made their debuts in fitness centers.
The concept on which stability balls were made was to improve balance and stability (as the name suggests). Since your body engages more muscles to maintain balance, it can be a great way to enhance your workout. Stability ball exercises can increase coordination, balance, and proprioception, as well as improving your strength based on your workouts.
According to Open-fit fitness specialist, Cody Braun:
“When performing stability ball exercises, the muscles that make up the core and surround the hips and shoulders have to work together to keep the body strong through a full range of motion.”
What to look for in a Stability Ball?
Before you start using the stability ball in the gym or go out to buy your own, you need to know what size you need to make your workouts effective. Just like any other piece of equipment, a stability ball needs to fit your body, and it’s not that tough to figure out what will work for you. Al you need to know is your height, if you are taller than 5’4”, you need to go for a stability ball with a 65cm diameter. 55cm will suit those that are shorter than 5’4”. Make sure you inflate it to the specified size so that it is firm but also has a bit of “give” to it.
10 Stability Ball Exercises You Need to Try
If you are looking for quick results, it is advised to incorporate balance training in your normal routine once or twice a week. It is also not necessary to dedicate an entire day; you can opt to add two or three exercises along with your usual workout.
It’s time to put those quads to the test with this power move. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and the back to the wall. Place the ball between the lower back and the wall and squat down slowly until the legs are at a 90-degree angle at the knees. Use the ball to support the back as it rolls from the lower back to the shoulder blades. Try repeating this for 10 to 15 reps.
Lie on the floor with arms extended along your torso and lower calves. Rest your heels on the ball and engaging the glutes and abs, lift your hips from the floor. Use your arms to balance yourself. Exhale and slowly bring the knees in towards the hips, so the feet are resting flat on top of the ball. Pause for a few seconds and go back to your original position. Keep your hips up the whole time to get those gluteus “Maximus” benefits. Start with ten reps and then gradually increase with time.
Ready to put your balancing skills to the test? While standing, place the ball behind the body and put one foot top-down on the top of the ball. Step the other foot out about six inches, and bend both knees in a deep lunge. Make sure the knee of the front foot does not go over the toes. (If you feel this move is too advance, you can start by doing this exercise on a chair or a bench.) This move will test your stability and strength, so try going for 8 to 10 reps.
If you thought push-ups were getting too easy, here’s something you will struggle with even if you’ve been doing push-ups for years. Place your shins on the top of the ball and do a push-up while balancing on the ball. Since this exercise requires you to maintain your balance, you are required to use more muscles to maintain stability. Basically, a push-up hopped up on steroids.
In the immortal words of Ice Cube, “You can do it, put your “back” into it,” this exercise is sure to push your back muscles to the limit. Start with the stomach and hips on the ball with your legs extended straight behind. Hold onto the ball with the hands for balance. Raise the chest high like the yoga pose “Cobra,” bringing the hands to the back of the head. Hold for a beat or two, and return to a relaxed position. Repeat this for 12 to 15 reps.
Think you’ve been in the gym long enough not to be afraid of any exercise? Well, be afraid, be very afraid. This exercise is going to have you sweating no matter how buff you are. Start in a push-up position but with the toes instead of shins resting on top of the ball. With straight legs, use the abdominals to pull the toes towards the chest. Done correctly, the torso will be in a push-up position with the back straight (no arching or sagging) and legs angling down towards the ball. If you think you’ve got what it takes, try going for 5 to 8 reps.
V-Sit with Ball
V means victory when you are looking to get some killer abs. Lie face up on the ground with ankles resting on the top of the stability ball. With arms pointing towards the feet, roll the torso up, so the body forms a V with the hips on the ground. Hold for five seconds, or long enough for your abs to be screaming in pain. Think you got what it takes? Try going for 6 to 10 reps.
Start in push-up position with toes resting on the ball and straight arms, with hands on the ground under the shoulders. Bring the knees towards the chest until the knees are directly under the hips. Extend knees back to push-up position and repeat for 10 to 15 reps.
We already talked about abs, but obliques are essential if you want those abs to shine. Sit tall on the stability ball with feet together. In a single motion, swing the feet to the right and the arms to the left. Bring arms and legs back to center and repeat for 12 to 15 reps, alternating sides.
As cute as the name of this exercise sounds, it’s not child’s play. Lie face up on the ground with arms and legs extended. Grab the ball overhead with both hands. In a single motion, lift the arms and legs in the air, transferring the ball from the hands to the feet. At this point, only the hips and butt should be touching the ground. Lower arms and legs with the ball between them to the ground. This is probably the most intense one out of them all. Try powering through 10 reps with correct form.
Stability balls are a fantastic piece of equipment and as opposed to popular belief, are not only used for yoga. Stability ball exercises can give you the entire body workout at a higher difficulty. So next time you feel that extra burst of energy in the gym, try performing these exercises.
If you’re looking for different workouts that you think will suit you better, click here!