8 Essential Stability Ball Exercises and Stretches

8 Essential Stability Ball Exercises and Stretches

Stability balls are a great way to improve strength and balance, but can also be used for stretching. This article will take you through 8 stability ball exercises and stretches that will target your entire body. Go through the movements once and see how you feel. When you’re ready, progress up to doing each movement 3 times. You will need a wall for some of these exercises, and some space to move. Enjoy toning and opening up your body with these 8 stability ball moves!

1. Side Bend

Kneel on the ground beside a wall. Place your knees and feet against the wall for stability and position the stability ball at your hip. Lean over the ball to stretch the side of your body. Place your hand on the floor to help with balance if needed. Repeat the movement on the opposite side.

Hold this position for 20 seconds on each side. Repeat the exercise 1-3 times.

Modifications: To make this stretch less intense, roll the stability further away from your hip so that your upper body does not have to curve as much over the ball.

2. Forward Fold

Begin by kneeling with your feet against the wall and your toes on the floor. Hold the stability ball on the floor in front of you. Hinge at your hips and drape your upper body over the ball. Place your hands on the ground for balance or wrap your arms around the ball.

Hold this position for 20 seconds and repeat the exercise 1-3 times.

3. Low Back and Hip Mobility

This dynamic movement helps mobilize the low back and hips. Begin with the ball under your mid/upper back and your feet planted on the floor. Place your hands on your hips. Bend your knees and roll forward on the ball, lowering your hips down toward the floor in a squat position. Press through your feet and straighten your legs to return to the starting position. Keep your core engaged and your neck in line with your spine throughout the entire movement.

Perform 10 repetitions. Complete 1-3 sets.

Modifications: To help with balance, go through this movement with your toes against the wall and your feet on the ground. You can also perform a shallower squat (don’t bend the knees as much) to decrease the stress on your hips.

4. Chest and Abdomen Stretch

This is an amazing stretch for posture correction. Begin with the stability ball behind your back and your feet on the floor. The lower the ball is positioned on your back, the greater the backbend will be. Slowly begin to arch your back over the ball, opening up the front of your body. Relax your arms out at your sides. Your neck should be supported by the ball.

Hold this position for 20 seconds and repeat the exercise 1-3 times.

Modifications: To help with stability, place your toes against the wall with your feet flat on the floor.

5. Overhead Squat

Start in a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the stability ball above your head with your shoulder blades set downward. Keep your core engaged and your chest forward. Shift your weight to your heels, then hinge from your hips and knees to lower your seat downward, as if you were trying to sit in a chair. Keep your knees behind your toes and only squat down as far as is comfortable. Squeeze your glutes and press through your heels to return to a standing position.

Perform 10 repetitions. Complete 1-3 sets.

Modifications: If it is too difficult to hold the ball overhead, try holding it in front of your body or eliminating the ball altogether. If your hips or knees are sore, do not squat as deeply.

6. Dead Bug

Lie on your back with your knees bent at 90 degrees and your arms extended straight above your shoulders. Hold the stability ball between your knees and hands. Engage your core and keep your spine in a neutral position with a slight curve in your low back. Lower your right arm overhead as you lower your left leg towards the ground. Slowly return to the center position and repeat the movement on the opposite side.

Perform 5 repetitions on each side. Complete 1-3 sets.

Modifications: To make this exercise easier, lower only an arm or a leg down at one time, instead of both at once.

7. Froggies

Start in a high plank position with the stability ball under your shins. Keep your shoulders set low and your spine neutral, not arching or curling the spine. Pull your belly button towards your spine, engaging your core. Draw your knees in towards your chest, rolling the stability ball towards you. Press your legs back to roll the ball to the starting position.

Perform 10 repetitions. Complete 1-3 sets.

Modifications: To make this exercise easier, start with the stability ball closer to your hips. To make it more difficult, start with the ball under the tops of your feet.

8. Stir the Pot

Begin in a plank position with your toes on the ground and your forearms balancing on the stability ball. Widen your stance so your feet are about shoulder-width apart. Begin moving your forearms in a circular motion, as if you were stirring a pot.

Perform 5 repetitions in each direction and repeat the exercise 1-3 times.

Modifications: To make this exercise easier, perform the exercise from your knees instead of your toes.

I hope you enjoyed these movements using a stability ball. As always, please reach out with questions, comments, or feedback. Thanks for joining me!

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