When equipment is at a minimum (or being used by someone else at the gym) or if you're looking for something simple, yet effective, to work your entire body, why not try a stability ball? Yes, those oversized orbs may look more fun than functional, but you can actually get one butt-kicking, total body workout with them. Check out these 15 exercises and see the incredibly awesome things you can do with just a stability ball.
Did you know that size matters when it comes to selecting a stability ball? Check out our chart below to make sure you are using the correct size ball in accordance to your height:
- Height: 5'1" - 5'8" | Ball size: 55 cm
- Height: 5'9"– 6'2" | Ball size: 65 cm
- Height: 6'3"– 6'7" | Ball size: 75 cm
- Height: 6'8" and taller | Ball size: 85 cm
This is a great push up variation! Doing a move like this on a stability ball will work your muscles in a new way. Complete 3 sets of 12-15 reps.
- Step 1: Get into push-up position with your hands underneath your shoulders resting firmly on a stability ball.
- Step 2: Keeping abs tight and back straight, lower into push up and push back to start position.
The perfect move to tighten your core and tone your arms at the same time. Complete 3 sets of 10-12 reps.
- Step 1: Get into push-up position with your feet resting on top of a stability ball.
- Step 2: Perform a push-up, keeping your abs in tight and and your back flat to balance the ball.
This thigh burner will be sure to take your workout to the next level to get those perfect thighs. Perform this move for 60 seconds.
- Step 1: Start by kneeling behind a stability ball. Place your stomach on the ball and roll out until your hands are on the ground underneath your shoulders and your legs are in the air.
- Step 2: Bend your knees while touching your heels together and turning toes out. Pulse your legs up towards the ceiling, lifting knees off the stability ball. That is one rep. Continue for allotted time.
Get that flat stomach with these pulsing ab crunches. Do this as many times as possible for 60 seconds.
- Step 1: Lie on your back on a mat with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor and heels a comfortable distance (12-18") away from your seat. Place your hands behind your head. Pull your shoulder blades together and your elbows back without arching your low back or causing your ribs to splay out. This elbow position should be maintained throughout the exercise. Your head should be aligned with your spine.
- Step 2: Exhale. Engage your abdominal and core muscles. Nod your chin slightly as you slowly curl your head and shoulders off the mat. Pull your rib cage together and toward your pelvis. Keep the neck relaxed. Your feet, tailbone and lower back should remain in contact with the mat at all times. Continue curling up until your upper back is lifted off the mat. Hold this position briefly.
Tip: The abdominals connect the rib cage to the pelvis so the movement should focus on bringing these two body parts closer together while keeping the neck and shoulders relaxed.
Grab those weights from out of the closet and get ready to strengthen those arms and chest. Bring your arms back to the center and repeat movement for 3 sets of 15 reps.
- Step 1: Hold a pair of dumbbells and lie back on a stability ball, (make sure head, neck and shoulders are supported by the ball) feet flat on the floor, knees bent at 90-degree angles, ankles directly under knees and hips lifted upward with abs tight.
- Step 2: While keeping this body position, push weights straight up and open arms out wide to your sides so they are parallel to the floor. (Arms should be straight without locking the elbows). Bring your arms back to center and repeat.
- Modification (Beginner): Remove ball and lie on floor.
Take a knee and get ready to work those buns and thighs. This is the perfect move to get back into those skinny jeans. Switch legs and repeat for another 30 seconds.
- Step 1: Kneel and lean left hip against a stability ball, right arm bent on top of it, forearm resting on the ball.
- Step 2: Place your right hand on your hip and extend your right leg out to side as high as you can. Hold for 1 count, then lower. That’s one rep. Perform all your reps, then, switch sides and repeat.
This is the a great move to engage both your abs and legs as you balance on the stability ball. Perform this move for 3 sets of 12-15 reps.
- Step 1: Lie on your back with your heels planted on top of a stability ball. Raise your hips up and form a flat bridge. Your shoulder blades should be anchored into the ground, with your arms on the floor for support.
- Step 2: Squeeze your booty and roll the ball in, thrusting your hips up into the air as far as possible. Pause at the top and lower back down to the floor. That is one rep.
- Modification (Beginner): Ditch the stability ball and plant feet on the floor.
This fun move will challenge your balance and work your core to the max! Complete for 3 sets of 10-12 reps.
- Step 1: Lie facedown on the ball with your hands on the floor in front of you (the “up” part of a push-up), with only your shins and tops of your feet on the ball.
- Step 2: Exhale as you bring your knees towards your elbows, the ball should move with you. Bring you knees as close to your chest as possible.
- Step 3: Inhale as you press your legs back out to plank position. That’s one rep.
Grab that chair from the kitchen and use your stability ball to work muscles in your abs, arms, and legs. Keeping your back straight, lower your body until your elbows reach a 90-degree angle. Raise your body, fully extending your arms and contracting your triceps muscles. Repeat for 3 sets of 10-12 reps.
- Step 1: Sit on the edge of a bench or stable chair and place your hands (knuckles forward) behind your hips. Have your feet resting on top of the stability ball.
- Step 2: Keeping your back straight, lower your body until your elbows have reached a 90-degree angle.
- Step 3: Raise your body, fully extending your arms and contracting your triceps muscles.
Get your arms and back ready for those backless dresses. Return arms to the start position and repeat this movement for 60 seconds.
- Step 1: Lie face down on top of a stability ball with your chest hanging just off the ball and your feet in a wide stance. Hold dumbbells in each hand, palms facing each other, letting your arms hang straight down from your shoulders.
- Step 2: Pull the shoulders back and down and lift your arms up and out to your sides. Stop when your arms are at shoulder level and squeeze shoulder blades.
- Step 3: Return arms to start position.
Kill two birds with one stone by placing the stability ball up against a wall and lean your back against it (position ball in the small of your back). Do this as many times as possible for 60 seconds.
- Step 1: Place the stability ball up against a wall and lean your back against it (position ball in the small of your back). Feet are flat on floor, about 6 -12 inches out from your body. Hands are relaxed at sides holding dumbbells and elbows are tight to body.
- Step 2: Maintaining contact with wall, squat down until thighs are parallel to the floor. At the same time, perform a bicep curl.
- Step 3: Put weight in your heels and slowly push back up out of the squat, returning arms to your sides.
Grab a pair of dumbbells and get ready to get those abs in nice and tight. Repeat the move for 3 sets of 12-15 reps.
- Step 1: Sit on a stability ball with both feet firmly placed on the floor, hip-width apart or wider. Hold a dumbbell overhead with both hands. Brace your abdominal/core muscles to stabilize the spine, pulling your shoulder blades down and back.
- Step 2: Inhale. Bend your elbows in a slow and controlled manner, lowering the dumbbell behind your head. Do not allow the upper arms to move. Continue to bend the elbows to a 90 degree bend or until your upper arms begin to move backward. Do not make contact with the back of your head. Do not change the position of your head, torso, upper arms, wrists or feet. Slowly straighten the elbows and return to start position. Repeat.
- Modification (Beginner): Grab a lighter set of weights and try to first master this move on a stable bench or chair.
Get rolling with this move that engages your arms and legs. Do this for 3 sets of 12-15 reps.
- Step 1: Kneel behind a stability ball with your knees hip-width apart. Rest your forearms on the ball with your hands clasped.
- Step 2: Keeping your back flat and core in tight, slowly roll forward as far as possible, straightening your arms as far as you can without allowing your hips to drop.
- Step 3: Hold this position, then bend your elbows and roll the ball back in toward start position. That is one rep.
By passing the ball from your hands to your feet, this move will challenge you to work your full body. Repeat passing the ball back and forth as many times as possible for 60 seconds.
- Step 1: Lie face up on the floor with arms and feet extended, grasping a stability ball with both hands.
- Step 2: In one fluid movement, use your entire core to lift your arms and legs off the ground, keeping legs and arms straight the entire time.
- Step 3: Transfer the ball from your hands to your feet and allow yourself to lower back down to the floor. Repeat for allotted amount of reps.
- Modification (Beginner): Bend knees while performing move or ditch stability ball altogether.
- Step 1: Lie face down on top of a stability ball with your arms behind your head and your feet in a wide stance. Lean forward and lengthen your body so your torso is resting against the ball and you’re firmly balanced on your toes.
- Step 2: Lift your chest upward as much as you can, hold a moment, and then slowly lower back down allowing yourself to curl around the ball.
As you can see, there is not one body part or muscle group that the stability ball can’t handle. And since most of the exercises rely on using your core strength, even a bicep exercise will target your abs so you get to work multiple muscles at once. Next time you're in the gym and looking for something a little different to do, grab a stability ball and see how this simple piece of equipment is anything but!