The stability ball has been used by physical therapists for years, and the fitness industry has fully embraced this tool for group exercise and private training.
The stability ball creates an unstable surface and can be used for strength, balance, coordination, agility, core work and flexibility.
Some of my favorite exercises challenge both balance and core strength.
For review purposes, keep the following in mind:
- When a participant sits on the ball, there should be about 90 degrees of flexion at the knee and hip joint.
- A beginner may want to use a ball that is just a bit underinflated because that makes the ball more responsive to the body.
- Start each exercise gradually.
Ball Tummy Flattener
If you're a beginner, this is a great way to increase your strength and reach the goal of the traditional crunch on top of the ball.
- Primary Muscle Group: Abdominals
- Muscle groups worked in this exercise: Abdominus rectus, internal and external obliques and transversalis.
- Preparation: Lying on your back, place both heels on the ball with your knees slightly bent. Arms are at your sides.
- Breathing: Exhale while lifting shoulders up; inhale as you lower back down to the floor.
- Execution: Extend your arms toward your knees. This action makes the ball shift slightly and force you to use your leg muscles to keep it steady!
This is a great lower abdominal exercise.
- Primary Muscle Group: Abdominals
- Preparation: Lie on your back and place your arms at your sides with your palms facing the floor. Grasp the ball between your calves with your legs extended.
- Breathing: Exhale as you curl up.
- Execution: Grasp the ball with your calves and your legs towards the ceiling. Curl upper back off the floor and reach your arms past your thighs. Slowly return to the starting position.
Ball Reciprocal Reach
- Primary muscle group: Lower back
- Muscle groups worked in this exercise: Gluteus maximus, semitendinosus, semimembranosus, quadratus lumborum, iliocostalis lumborum.
- Preparation: Kneel on the floor and bring the ball up close to you. Lie forward on the ball with your abdomen right on top of the ball and place both palms on the floor in front of you in a wide stance.
- Breathing: Exhale when lifting/extending, inhale to release down.
- Execution: Lift your right arm and your left leg - exhale. Then, as you lower them down again, inhale. Alternate sides after completing all reps.
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More about Chris Tina Bruce
Chris Tina Bruce is a male-to-female transgender bodybuilder, spokesperson and fitness talent.
She is the founder of Be Bold Be Proud, a grassroots non-profit transgender equality organization. She is also the founder of Discover Health and Fitness, a freelance writer and the proud parent of two amazing children.
She obtained her bachelor of science degree from Georgia State University, and is also a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer.
Chris Tina lives by some very simple rules and affirmations: All of life is a transition; where you are does not have to define who you will be and together we can cultivate change. Be Bold, Be Proud, Be Yourself.
For more information about Chris, her Fitness Fun Camps, private sessions, nutrition programs or next bodybuilding show, check out her website, check out the Hillcrest Fitness, follow her Facebook page, or on Twitter, or call (972) 989-6076.