If you have a stability ball lying around at home, or your gym has them, now is the time to take advantage of this great piece of workout equipment. If you’ve used a stability ball before, you know it can provide a challenging and effective workout. If you haven’t used one before, this post will share four great stability ball exercises. The stability ball creates an uneven surface for you to do your exercises on, which makes the exercises more challenging. You need to use more of your stabilizing muscles, as well as muscles you may not otherwise work, meaning you will get more out of each exercise. The stability ball can also be a fun way to change up your regular exercises.
In terms of choosing the right size for your stability ball, the ball should ideally allow you to sit on it while having your knees at a 90-degree angle. Your knees should be directly over your ankles when you sit on the ball. A larger ball will generally make exercises easier, while a smaller ball will make it more difficult. This workout will challenge your entire body, especially your core. Some of these exercises can be difficult, so we will provide you with modifications to make each one easier and more difficult.
1. Side Plank Hip Lifts
This exercise will work your entire body, especially your obliques, the muscles on the sides of your abdomen.
Begin with the stability ball between your ankles in a side plank position. Position your elbow directly under your shoulder and plant your forearm on the floor. Ensure your hips are stacked on top of each other. Your top arm can rest wherever is comfortable. From this side plank position, drop your hips down towards the floor, as far as you can. Tighten up your core and lift your hips back upward for one repetition.
Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions on each side.
Modifications: To make this exercise easier, omit the stability ball, and perform the same movement with your hips from your knees. To make this exercise more challenging, hold the stability ball between your feet instead of your ankles. You will have to support more of your body weight as you move through the exercise.
2. Hamstring Rolls
This exercise will target your hamstrings along the backs of your thighs, as well as your glutes. Often, when we sit, our glutes and hamstrings “turn off” and do not fire properly, leading to muscle imbalances, pain, and injuries. This exercise is a great way to turn those muscles back on and help restore balance to your movements.
Begin by lying on your back with the stability ball under your heels. Have your arms outstretched at your sides for balance. With your knees bent, lift your hips while you straighten out your legs. Try your best to straighten out your body from your shoulders to your heels. Bend your knees back and lower your hips back down to the floor. This is considered one repetition.
Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
Modifications: To make this exercise easier, just lift your hips up and down without straightening your legs. For added balance support, you can place the stability ball against a wall to help it stay in one place while you lift and lower your hips. To make this exercise more challenging, bend your elbows and lift your forearms off the floor, decreasing your base of support. This will require you to engage your core more in order to stay balanced.
3. Lateral Chops
This exercise will focus on your core as you move through a rotational movement pattern. Building strength around this movement will help strengthen your spine and prevent injury in everyday tasks.
Begin with the stability ball under your upper back and your knees bent at 90 degrees. Lift your arms in front of you at chest-height and press your palms together. Keeping your arms outstretched, roll onto your right shoulder, and rotate your upper body to the right. Keep your core tight. Use your core strength to move, not momentum. Your movement should be slow, smooth, and controlled. Point your arms to the right, working towards getting your arms parallel with the floor. Return to the center position and rotate to the other side. This is considered one repetition.
Perform 3 sets of 5 repetitions.
Modifications: To make this exercise easier, cross your arms over your chest while you rotate. This will take some of the stress off your core, requiring you to move less weight. To make this exercise more difficult, straighten your legs out as much as possible. This will create a less stable base of support and will require more core strength to stay balanced.
This is not your traditional crunch. This variation with stability will work your entire body.
Begin in a high plank position with the stability ball under your shins. Your wrists should be directly under your shoulders. Try not to lock your elbows. Tuck your knees in towards your chest, rolling the stability ball towards you. Bring your knees in as far as you can, then straighten your legs, pushing the ball back out. Make sure you keep your belly button pulling up towards your spine, keeping your core engaged and not allowing your lower back to arch too much. This is considered one repetition.
Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
Modifications: To make this exercise easier, begin with the stability ball further up your legs towards your knees. The higher up the ball is, the less weight you will have to hold up and balance throughout the exercise. To make this exercise more challenging, begin with the stability under your toes. Now bend your knees and draw them in towards your chest. Straighten your legs back out to a high plank position. You will be much less balanced in this position and will need to work harder to keep yourself in alignment.
There you go, four great stability ball exercises to work your entire body, especially your core. We hope you try those out for your next workout and enjoy switching things up. Be sure to check out other stability ball articles for more fun exercise suggestions.
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