Stability Ball Workout Routine-Incorporate these Stability Ball Exercises into your Workouts for Next Level Results
The stability ball workout is no joke. As a way of incorporating every fiber of active muscle into an exercise, there is little that compares. For developing a super strong, stable core, there is no comparison.
A stability ball, also known as an exercise ball or Swiss ball, is an inexpensive but valuable addition to any gym. It even has practical applications in a hardcore powerlifting gym, and can help any athlete improve core strength.
Try doing free weight exercises on a ball a couple times a week and you are sure to see your strength, balance and agility improve rapidly.
Start out slow with these movements until you are strong enough to do the advanced stability ball exercises. Now let's get started!
Stability Ball Upper Body Exercises
You can do just about any upper body pushing exercise (and some pulling as well) on an inflatable exercise ball, but dumbbells work the best, and starting off with a lighter weight than normal is wise.
Try doing these classics on a stability ball:
- Dumbbell Presses: With your upper back resting on the ball and your pelvis level and activated, press up in a controlled motion and lower slowly. Imagine the ball is now your bench. Don't let your hips sag and don't let the ball bounce your weights around!
- Dumbbell Flyes: A great chest exercise that should be done under perfect control on a Swiss ball.
- Shoulder Press: To do these, start with your dumbbells at shoulder level with your arms bent. Sit up straight, strongly engage your core muscles, and press straight up in a slight backward arc. Return to the start slowly and repeat.
Doing these exercises on the stability ball teaches you greater control, how to properly engage your core, even when you're not on a ball, and is a fun way to mix things up.
- Use spotters to hand the dumbbells to you when the weights get heavier.
- The shoulders and upper torso should be on the ball, while the hips and legs are in a strong, activated bench press position.
Stability Ball Pullovers
Straight arm pullovers are an excellent chest exercise, that also work the lats, and to a lesser extent, the shoulders and triceps.
Done on the stability ball? You guessed it, a serious core workout.
To do dumbbell pullover, use a single dumbbell or weighted medicine ball(or a short barbell or EZ-curl bar) and hold it under the flat of the weight on one side.
Start with the upper body on the ball, the hips level and the legs on the floor, and the dumbbell (or barbell) raised above your chest. Arms should be straight throughout the movement.
This can also be done with a cable pulley and a straight bar attachment. See the video below for a demonstration.
Russian Twists on Exercise Ball
Dumbbell Russian Twists
It looks simple, but performing Russian Twists with weight on a stability ball is quite a challenge.
How to Russian Twist
With the upper body on the ball, the hips up and the entire core engaged, start with the dumbbell in both hands with the arms extended over the chest. Keep your eyes on the weight as you lower it first to one side and then to the other.
Done properly, this swiss ball exercise engages the rectus abdominis, internal and external obliques, the transverse abdominis and other muscle groups of the upper body to a lesser extent.
Shoulder Exercises on the Stability Ball
The reverse flye stability ball exercise is a great way to work the rear deltoids, and to a lesser extent, the muscles of the upper back (rhomboids, trapezius.)
To hit all three heads of the shoulder, as well as the muscles of the rotator cuff, try a round of TYW with a pair of light dumbbells.
'T' for laterals straight out to the side.
'Y' for bringing the arms straight up into a Y formation.
'W' for the shape made when the dumbbells are raised straight up with the elbows bent.
Shoulder Flyes on the Stability Ball
Stability Ball Core Exercises
The whole idea behind using a stability ball is to increase the use of stabilizer muscles throughout the body, and in particular your entire core musculature.
So whether you are doing presses, flyes, lunges or pushups, your core is engaged.
That said, specific stability ball core exercises can be an intense challenge. Here are a few to start with. Scale to your ability.
- Elbow Plank: Place elbows on the midpoint of the ball, feet all the way back as for a pushup. Tighten everything, especially your stomach, keep your back flat and don't hunch your shoulders. Hold for 10 seconds, increase time as you get better.
- Elbow Plank with Extension (Rollout): Same as elbow plank, now slowly extend your arms in front of you and back to flexed. If you're feeling strong, try holding for a few seconds in extension. If this is too hard, start from your knees.
- Elbow Plank with Lateral Rotation: Same as elbow plank, now slight shift of your elbows to the left and right, keeping the body straight. Too much and you'll roll out. A slight shift to each side is enough.
- Push Up Plank: Balance your hands evenly on the ball in a pushup position, legs and arms extended. Hold this for as long as you can. If this is too hard, try bending the knees slightly, keeping your back level.
- Push Up Plank with Rollout: Same as push up plank, but with a slight bend in the elbows, move your arms forward and back. Just past the shoulder line and back to starting. Back flat, no hunching the shoulders. Again, bend the knees if necessary.
Once you get strong in these exercises, you can get more creative with your stability ball ab exercises. How about caterpillar walking across a room by placing your feet on the ball and repeatedly bring your knees up to your chest, then walking out with your hands? Your core will be exhausted, and that's not all.
How to Choose the Right Size Stability Ball for You
To get the best use out of your ball, here is a rough guideline for choosing the right size ball for your height:
4' 6"-5'/45cm ball
5'-5'5"/ 55 cm ball
5'6"-6' 2"/ 65 cm ball
6' 2" inches or taller, try a 75 cm ball
If you're still unsure which size to get. Squat to parallel against a wall, and measure the distance to the floor. At full inflation, a 65 cm ball is 26" tall, a 55cm ball is 22" tall.