Do you want to strengthen your core, protect your joints and gain more muscles out of every workout? Then my friend, it takes nothing more than a stability ball or to be very specific, exercise ball.
Yes, absolutely. It is very easy to strengthen core and back, get bulk muscles and strong joints out of workout done with the help of exercise ball. This exercise ball has got different meanings so not to confuse you, it is also referred as balance ball too.
This exercise ball works in coordination with overall body parts to teach the whole body to move as one unit. Any exercise that you perform using exercise ball surrounds hips and shoulders to work together to keep your body strong and full range of motion.
Using stability or exercise ball is very useful whether in the gym or outside the gym. Apart from health benefits, it is fun playing with or doing exercise with stability ball.
So often people get tired of going to gym and doing boring crunches, goofy stretches and bouncing but this ball adds little fun in the gym work.
Apart from developing good physique, using exercise ball has other numerous benefits as well. It delivers other benefits to your overall health and body. Thus, exercise ball helps you in following ways.
Improve core stability
Improves posture and muscle balance
Maintains flexibility and cardiovascular system
Reduces back problems and supports lower back as you stretch
Boosts spinal stability
Increase muscle fibers used
Provide aid in any kind of sports performance
What Size Of Exercise Ball Should We Get?
Make sure to have right size of stability ball before you buy it or use gym’s ball. It is very necessary that exercise ball should fit your size and makes you feel comfortable with it. In order to determine the perfect size of the ball, know your height first.
Choosing the right size of ball completely depends on your height. If you are 5’4” or more, pick up an exercise ball with 65 cm diameter.
But, if you are shorter, opt for 55 cm ball which is perfect size. However, ball should be little firm to touch while soft enough to give you comfort and relax to your body.
10 Moves With Exercise Ball
Check out these exercise ball activities you might have not practiced so far. Many of its moves not just appear to be simple but they are actually easy and work on your body simultaneously.
Exercise Ball Jackknife
This core exercise helps you in strengthening the hip flexors and crunching your abs.
Place the ball on exercise mat and get in high plank position with your hands directly under the shoulders and balancing your shin on the ball.
Give a firm support to your core in order to keep your body in straight line from head to toes. This will be your starting position.
Now, slowly squeeze your core and bend your knees to roll the ball towards your hands. Only toes will remain in contact with the ball.
Then hold this position for sometimes and return back to the original position by slowly straightening your legs behind you.
Exercise Ball Hamstring Curl
Strengthening your hamstrings and glutes with this simple move engages your core as well.
Lie down on the exercise mat with the back on the stability ball and legs straight.
Brace your cores and gently squeeze your glutes to lift your hips off from the ground so that your body forms a straight line direct from shoulder to heels.
Now slowly roll the ball towards your butt as much as possible.
Slowly straighten your legs as you roll away your feet from butt, going back to original position.
This exercise strengthens weak muscles and helps in increasing the flexibility. It is an excellent leg strengthening exercise.
In an empty wall space, place your exercise ball between the wall and your back right below the shoulder blades and above the hips.
Keep both your feet flat on the floor and shoulder width apart with both hands clasped in front of your chest.
Now bend your knees slowly and go down pressing the ball against the wall in a squat position where upper thighs are parallel to the floor. Do not extend your knees beyond your toes.
Roll back to come into starting position. This completes one rep.
Balancing push-ups help you make your muscles stronger and provide more firms to them.
Place exercise ball on the yoga mat. Now place the top of your feet together on the ball while your hands on the floor directly under your shoulder, ultimately in a plank position.
Engage your cores so as to keep off ball from rolling away.
Maintaining the proper pushup position in your mind, lower down your chest towards the floor. Keeping your core engaged return back to the original position. This will make one rep.
This is a great way to challenge your balance where you need to take one foot off the floor and forcing the standing foot to keep you stable.
Be seated on the ball keeping your spine straight and abs in.
Now clasp both your hands behind your head or you may keep them on the ball also.
Lift you right foot just few inches off the ground.
Now lower down the right foot and then lift left foot off the ground in same manner.
Continue to alternatively lift the foot.
As you become comfortable with the movement, lift the legs as much high as you can.
Repeat the same for 1-2 minutes.
Exercise Ball V-Pass
It works on your core as you pass on the ball between your legs and hands. This activity indulges inner thighs and arms to keep the ball from falling on the ground.
Lie down on the yoga mat on your back. Keep your legs straight while holding the ball over your head with both hands. This is your starting position.
Compress your abs to raise your arms holding the ball and legs to place the ball in between them while creating a “V” position.
Lower down your legs and arms back into the starting position. But this time ball between your legs.
Repeat the same movement to pass the ball back and forth between your hands and legs.
These lifts are great source to work on balance along with a great workout for your hamstrings and glutes.
Lie down on the floor and brace your heels on the ball.
Keep your abs tight and gently raise your butts off the floor compressing the glute at the same time until your body is in straight line.
Hold this position for few seconds and lower it down.
Repeat this exercise for 15 times.
Or you can make it easier by placing the ball under your knees instead of your heels. Keep your hands on the ground and lift your butts.
Balancing Oblique Crunch
This activity boosts the abs movement by activating the core to help you maintain balance during the movement.
Place your ball on the yoga mat and kneel next to it. Lean on the ball on your left side with the space between your rib cage and your hip.
Wobble your feet on the mat to ensure the maximum space. The more space between them, the more comfortable you will feel.
Engage your core and bring your hands behind your head with both elbows in line with ears.
Now slowly crunch your upper body up and keeping the lower body stationary.
Lower down to starting position so as to complete one rep.
Plank To Pine
It builds muscles in the abdominal, shoulders, legs and lower back that help in relieving back pain.
Place the exercise ball on the yoga mat and put your legs on the ball while both your hands flat on the floor under your shoulders.
Now form a straight line with the ball. Slightly pull the ball towards you using your feet such that your shins rest on the ball rather than your feet and ankles.
While doing so, engage your abdominals, pull belly button inward and raise your hips in the air while keeping both hands straight.
Once your hips are in the air, slowly go back to starting plank position. This completes one rep.
This activity helps you in improving your core’s stability and rotational strength in just one simple move targeting your obliques and transverse abdominis.
Lay your upper back on the ball facing the ceiling while both feet flat on the ground. Knees should be bent at 90 degree angle.
Brace your core and keep your hips extended so that your upper body forms a straight line from head to knee.
Get both your hands straight above your chest and press arms together. This is the starting position.
Now slowly rotate your torso to rotate one shoulder while keeping the hips straight with the floor.
Reverse and get back to starting position.
Repeat the same and roll another shoulder.
These are some exercise ball workouts illustrated above to help you enjoy the workout along with gaining strength and muscles. These exercise will be fun doing. Most importantly, you need not go to gym very often. You only need this exercise ball to perform any of the above mentioned activity.
Maggie is a certified personal trainer, yoga instructor, and sports nutritionists. She deepened her knowledge of nutrition after attending the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. Get Me on Social Channels:About Me | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | Quora