Six great exercises with a stability ball

November 28, 2015

Who would ever have thought that a rubber ball filled with air would be a versatile and inexpensive tool to help you get a great workout? Well, that’s exactly what a stability ball can do if you incorporate it into your normal routine. Try plugging it into any of the exercises below and reap the benefits of an otherwise overlooked item found in the corner of most gyms.

Leg curls

This exercise is a great addition to any program because it effectively targets the butt and hamstrings while requiring balance.

To get started, lie on the floor with your heels placed shoulders' width apart in the middle of a stability ball. With your arms to your sides, slowly press your heels down into the ball while lifting your hips off the ground. Use your hands to stabilize your body and curl the ball toward your butt.

When you have reached full contraction, extend your legs to the starting position and repeat until you’ve achieved an intense burn in your butt and hamstrings.

Ball crunches

Place your back on the stability ball with your feet firmly on the floor as if lying on a workout bench. Walk back away from the ball until your shoulders are slightly off the ball and then with your chin back and your hands extended push your hips into the ball and lift your torso off the ball with your abs. Be sure to pause and breathe out at the top of the movement and then descend back to the normal position, but keep your back slightly off the ball so the abdominal muscles stay tight and under pressure. Repeat for the desired amount of reps and be sure not to compromise form for numbers.

Reverse crunches

Start this exercise by balancing your body in a push-up position with your hands on the floor and your toes on the stability ball. Push your hips up slightly and use your abdominal muscles to curl your knees toward your stomach. When your knees are curled under your body at 90 degrees, slowly begin extending your legs back to the starting position. Be sure not to let your hips sag, but rather squeeze your abs and raise your waistline slightly. Repeat for the desired amount of reps or until your core is exhausted.

Ball pass

Lie on your back with your knees bent slightly with a stability ball gripped between your feet elevated slightly off the ground.

With your hand extended over your head, slowly bring your arms and your feet toward each other in the shape of a V until you can grab the ball with your hands and then return back to the starting position. Keep your legs and back slightly off the floor and your abs tensed and under pressure. Continue to repeat for a sufficient workout.

Hyper extensions

Place your body in the hyper extension machine but instead of crossing your arms in from of your shoulders hold a stability ball over your head. Slightly bend your knees and waist until your torso is 90 degrees from your legs and then slowly ascend back to the starting position. Be sure to perform this exercise under control with a split-second pause at the top and bottom of the movement and you will be surprised how much the addition of the stability ball increases the difficulty.


To begin this exercises, place your elbows on a Swiss ball and your toes on the floor with your body in a plank position. Be sure to spread your arms out approximately 10 to 12 inches with your body forming a straight line from your feet to your shoulders. Squeeze your abs and glutes and hold your position until you can no longer stabilize yourself. It’s important to know how to pick the correct ball size. Use the 65 cm if you are 5-foot-4 and above, and the 55 cm if you are 5-foot-3 or less. To make this exercise harder, try putting your toes on a bench instead of the floor with your hips in midair and your elbows on the ball.

A lot of people dismiss the idea of using an air-filled rubber ball as a tool to get in shape, but in reality it can be a great way to switch things up and strengthen muscles while incorporating balance and core strength. Try the above exercises and immediately reap the benefits of this inexpensive and practical tool.

Chris Antonio is a personal trainer and former world-class weightlifter. To send a question to the Ask the Trainer column, email Chris at or check out for training tips, news and inspirational stories.


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