Stability ball workout guide

November 13, 2022 5 min read

stability ball

Stability ball workout guide

 Stability balls may be referred to as a fit ball or a swiss ball. Their primary purpose is to engage and train the muscles in our core. Using a stability ball is a guaranteed way of improving and developing your fitness, regardless of individuals’ fitness goals. This is because having a strong core results in a stronger overall body with more efficient movement and better posture. 

Furthermore, exercising using a stability is fun; enjoyment is significant when training as it helps you to make the most of your workout. Even if you have not attempted core exercises before, you will be surprised at how fast you are able to improve if you try to incorporate the exercises later outlined into your regular training programme. It will soon become clear the difference stability ball training makes. 

The following tips will help you to attain the most from your workout using the stability ball regardless of your fitness goals, particular sport or age. 

How to find your core

Before you progress to more advanced core training, it is important to spend time activating and engaging your core muscles. An effective way in which to initiate core control initially is too:

  1. On the floor, position yourself on all floors 
  2. To activate your core, relax whilst you pull your navel towards your spine
  3. With no other body movement, practise both relaxing and activating your core muscles
  4. It is important to retain a relaxed breathing pattern as you complete these movements

Starting core training

Finding your core enables you to progress to performing exercises which engage your core. The following may be simple but are very effective. Before moving forward to other complex core movements, the below exercises should be mastered. 

  • Whilst completing these movements, it is recommended that you either use a mirror or a partner to monitor your position 
  • Sit on the ball with your feet flat on the floor whilst maintaining upright posture
  • Continue to focus on maintaining this correct posture and staying in this position, begin to move the ball backwards, forwards and side to side using your hips in small and controlled movements
  • Return back to your starting position and then lift one of your feet from the floor by a few centimetres. Whilst you do this, you should try to focus on staying upright with no hip movements from side to side 
  • To make each exercise more advanced and challenging, try completing each with your eyes closed 

Next level – foundation exercises

Kneeling on the stability ball

This exercise contributes immensely to your overall core fitness as it combines balance with your sense of where you are in space as well as quickly progressing your core strength and ability. 

  • Stand with your feet placed approximately 45cm apart
  • Place the stability ball against your shins and knees on the floor
  • Then put your hands on the top of the ball 
  • Use your toes to slowly roll forward as the ball does until your feet are no longer on the floor and you have achieved a level of balance 
  • Once you have found your balance you can then try to move a leg or a hand with the aim to eventually be able to lift both hands as you are able to kneel completely upright on the ball 
  • You may find at the beginning that you are unable to balance on the ball at all but after practising this move just for a few minutes each day you will find you are able to kneel completely upright 

Stability ball floor bridge

As you are counteracting the rotational effects of the stability ball in this exercise, it focuses on pelvic core strength as well as exercises the muscles at the back of your thighs as it necessary to hold your position. 

  • With your arms outstretched on either side of your body, lie with your back on the floor
  • On the centre of the ball, place your heels there with your toes pointing toward the ceiling
  • From this position, lift your body from the floor; try to make a straight line running from your shoulders to the ankles
  • Keep your pelvis elevated by contracting your core muscles in order to maintain the correct position. Hold this for 60 seconds and then attempt to bring your arms towards your body gradually until they have also left the floor so that your shoulders are the only body part touching the floor

Advanced exercises

Mastering the foundation exercises will allow you to try the below more advanced exercises in order to develop your core strength properly. 

Stability ball floor bridge single leg

  • Start in the position outlined above; the foundation stability ball floor bridge
  • Keep both legs straight and then elevate one leg 45com from the ball slowly and hold 
  • Throughout, you should keep your pelvis elevated in order for your pelvis, knees and shoulders to remain in line consistently 
  • Return your leg back to the ball 
  • Repeat this movement with the other leg 
  • For each leg, try to build to the ability to hold for a duration of 60 seconds

Stability ball floor bridge pull-in

  • Once again, begin in the foundation stability ball floor bridge position 
  • Bend your knees to pull the stability ball towards your body in one movement 
  • Throughout, you should keep your pelvis elevated in order for your pelvis, knees and shoulders to remain in line consistently 
  • Continuing to keep your pelvis elevated, return the ball to the start position 
  • Build to perform this exercise for six repetitions for two sets 

Stability ball training tips

Try to keep these tips in mind as you perform exercises with the stability ball in order to reap the maximum training benefits:

  1. It is important to choose the right ball size for you. Often, commercially available balls at 65cm in diameter are too big, more training benefits can be achieved through the use of a 55cm ball 
  2. When exercising, many people hold their breath as they find an exercise become more challenging; it is vital to maintain relaxed breathing as well as maintaining a strong core contraction 
  3. If you train alone, a mirror is a helpful way to check and maintain the correct technique and form; throughout the exercises, precise and controlled movements are required to get the most from your core workout 
  4. If you choose to work out with a friend, they can also provide a helpful way to monitor your position
  5. Finally, perform your core workout twice a week in order to benefit from the maximum training gains using a stability ball 

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