Although the fitness ball has been around for some time now, a lot of people are still unaware of how useful it is during workouts. Or even worse, gym members will attempt to use it and end up hurting themselves. Well, that’s all about to change today! What makes fitness ball exercises unique to full-body workout regiments is its unstable, wobbly surface that forces your body to engage additional muscles in order to stay balanced. For example, if you were to perform a simple bicep curl while sitting on the ball, your body will engage your abdominal muscles as well, toning your stomach while working out your arms at the same time.
Below is a list of some beneficial fitness ball exercises you can do either in the gym or at your home. If you’ve never performed any exercises on a fitness ball before, you may have some trouble balancing yourself at first. Keep at it and your body will slowly adapt.
Lower Body Exercises
Squat and Reach – Hold the ball with your arms straight so it’s at about your eye level. Squat down while bringing the ball to your left side, just above your left foot. Stay in this position for three slow breaths, then untwist your torso and return to standing before repeating the other side. Try to keep your butt down in the squats and hold your arms straight out. Do 10-15 reps.
Hamstring Curl – Lie on the floor with your arms extended perpendicular to your body and lower calves. Engage your glutes and abs and lift your hips off the floor. Extend your arms out for balance if needed. Slowly bring your knees in towards your body so that your feet are resting on top of the ball. Wait for a few seconds in this position and then straighten your legs again. Try to keep your hips up the entire time to get a full workout. Do 10-15 reps.
Lunge – While standing in place, put the ball behind your body and put one foot on top of the ball. Place the other foot about six inches away, and bend both knees in a deep lunge. Keep the knee of the front foot so that it doesn’t go over the toes. Use a chair or other support if you have trouble with stability for this exercise. Do 8-10 reps.
Standing Squeeze – Stand up straight and place the ball between your legs. Squat down until your knees form 90-degree angles, and squeeze the ball to stay balanced. Hold this position for about 30 seconds per a set. The larger the ball you have, the more difficult the exercise. Use the wall to help with your balance if necessary. Do 8-10 reps
Upper Body Exercises
Ball Push-up – Lie face down on the ball with hands and feet touching the ground and your stomach on the ball. Walk the hands out until your shins are resting on the ball and your torso is in a flat push-up position. Lower your body towards the ground until the upper arms are parallel to the floor. Return to the normal push-up position and do 12-15 reps, or more if necessary.
Standing Plank – With one leg extended behind, rest your elbows and forearms on the ball. Step the other leg back so the feet are perfectly together. Hold this position for as long as possible.
Tricep Dip – Sit on the ball with your legs forming a 90-degree angle with the floor. Place your hands by your side and on the ball, and slowly move your hips forward so they’re a few inches away from the ball. Use your triceps to lower the arms down a few inches, then return to the starting position. Keep your back straight and your abs engaged at all times. Do 12-20 reps.
Pike – Start in the push-up position, but with your toes resting on top of the ball. With your legs straight, use your abs to pull your toes towards your body. Your torso will be in a push-up position with your back straight and legs angling down towards the ball. Do 5-10 reps.
Knee Tucks – Start in push-up position with your toes resting on the ball with straight arms and hands on the ground. Bring your knees towards your body until they are directly under your hips. Extend your knees back to push-up position and repeat for 10-15 reps.
V Set-ups – This is a great way to get your abs ripped. Lie face up on the ground with your ankles laying on top of the ball. With your arms pointing towards your feet, bring your body up so it forms a V shape with your hips while on the ground. Hold for 5 seconds, and slowly roll back down to your starting position. Do 10-15 reps.
Ski Step – Sit tall on the ball with your feet together. In one motion, swing your feet to the right and your arms to the left. Bring your arms and legs back to the center and do 12-15 reps.
Side Squat – Stand with your legs shoulder width apart, while holding the ball over your head. Keep your back straight and abs engaged. Bend down and bring the ball to the outside of the left foot. Lift the ball again and repeat on the other side. Do 10-15 reps.
More Fitness Ball Exercises
Did you know that you can implement ball exercises with yoga? Join Colette Barry, the author of “Wall Yoga the Art of Centering,” as she teaches you how to use your fitness ball so you can get the most effective yoga workout possible. This course is for both beginners and advanced people, so do your body a favor and take full advantage of the benefits of using a fitness ball today!