No matter how much I love staying active, there are always those lazy days where I wish a 15 minute workout could be just as beneficial as an hour long workout. However, as I’ve expanded my fitness reach and explored new workouts, I’ve realized that there actually is a way to make this happen. One of my favorite and most practical workout accessory does just this – it increases the effectiveness of my strength moves, thus providing me with the same benefit in 15 minutes as I would get in my regular strength workout. And what is this magical piece of equipment? The stability ball.
>>Check out the stability ball I have here<<
The stability ball (which is sometimes referred to as a swiss ball, exercise ball, balance ball or fitness ball) provides so many total body fitness benefits. Incorporating the stability ball into a regular strength move – say, a plank – dramatically increases its difficulty. The exercise ball brings an added element of balance to these exercises, forcing more muscles to stay active and engaged as you complete any stability ball workout.
Incorporating stability ball exercises into my regular strength workouts is one of my favorite ways to intensify the workout. It can be added to nearly any simple movement, and is a great way to challenge yourself on simple exercises that your whole body may have already adapted to. Balance is such an important element of any sport or physical activity, whether we are aware of it or not. Incorporating balance engages more muscles, improves weakness, and increases alignment.
The stability ball exercises listed below are all derived from some of my favorite strength exercises. Adding the balance ball dramatically increases the level of difficulty, and is a sure fire way for you to discover you weakness. Check out this full body stability ball workout to give you the maximum toning and strength benefits in much less time. Complete these swiss ball exercises at home or in the gym!
Full Body Stability Ball Workout
Leg Extensions x 20
Place your ankles on top of the stability ball, extending your legs straight. Lift your hips from the ground so your body forms a straight line, like a plank of wood. Roll the stability ball in towards your glutes by bending your knees and moving your feet to lay flat on the exercise ball – keep your hips elevated while doing so. Extend your legs back out straight in front of you. Repeat x 20.
Hip Raise x 25
Lie on your back and raise your legs to place your ankles on top of the stability ball. Lift your hips from the ground until your body forms a straight line, like a plank of wood. Make sure to keep your abs and back engaged so your core doesn’t sag. Lower your hips down to the floor. Repeat x 25.
Decline Pushup x 20
Facing the floor, place the top of your feet on the stability ball and reach your arms straight down to place your hands on the floor. While balancing your feet on the ball, bend your arms down to push up position, keeping your body as straight as possible. Keep your core and back engaged – your back should be flat and not arched, and your hips shouldn’t sag. (My form is terrible in the picture, so use the arched back as an example of what not to do, haha). Straighten your arms again by pushing your body back up, while maintaining plank form. Repeat x 20
Plank Hold + Leg Lift x 10 (each leg)
Facing the floor, place the top of your feet on the stability ball and reach your arms straight down to place your hands on the floor. Keep your body as straight as possible – core and back engaged – and raise one leg off the ball, keeping the leg straight. Lower your leg back down until the top of your foot rests on the ball. Repeat x 10 on each leg.
Exercise Ball V Pass x 20
Lie flat with your back on the floor, extending your arms straight above your head. Place the stability ball in between your feet, so you can squeeze the ball on both sides to lift it. Squeeze your feet together and lift your legs and the ball in the air, while simultaneously lifting both arms. Pass the ball from your feet to your hands. Lower your legs and hands to the floor. Repeat, this time with the ball in between your hands. Repeat both directions x 20.
Lunges x 15 (each leg)
Stand in front of the stability ball and reach one foot back to rest on top of the ball. Roll the ball back so it is a few feet behind your body and your leg is extended slightly. Squat down with your grounded leg into a lunge position, and then straighten back up to standing. Repeat x 15 on each leg.
Superman x 30
Place the stability ball in front of you, and with both feet remaining grounded, bring your stomach to the ball. Drop your head and arms down in front of the ball, and then raise your arms and head up as if you were flying. Repeat x 30.
Jackknife x 25
Return to plank position on the ball – place the tops of both feet on the ball, and reach your arms straight down to place your hands on the floor. Keep your core and back engaged so your body forms a straight line like a plank of wood. Using your core, bend your knees and roll the ball in towards your abs, then extend your legs straight again. Repeat x 25.
Give this stability ball workout a try and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. Balance is so often overlooked as our culture has become obsessed with calorie and fat burning, but taking time to improve your balance strengthens your muscles and increases your body’s ability to burn fat. These stability ball exercises are perfect for any fitness level – whether you’re a beginner or advanced – and instantly increase the intensity of your regular strength workout. Taking pictures for these poses was definitely a challenge, and really helped me uncover some of my strength weaknesses. Try completing this stability ball workout once a week and see what improvements you can make!
More strength & full body workouts:
- Pyramid Workout for Runner’s Strength
- 15 Minute Bodyweight Workout You Can Do Anywhere
- Full Body Toning Kettlebell Workout