Looking for new challenges in your fitness training, look no further than the stability ball. Despite the name, the stability ball actually adds a level of instability to your training as you must now perform exercises while balancing on the ball. You must stabilize your body in three dimensions as you curl, press or push up, this requires the use of most large muscle groups and especially the muscles of your core. Exercising on a stability ball also improves coordination and balance.
The stability ball is ideal for both body weight training and resistance exercises using dumbbells. Here are five stability ball exercises to get you started:
1. Squat with a twist
Hold the stability ball at arm’s length at shoulder level and perform a squat as you twist and move the ball as far left as possible. Pause briefly and then return to center as you stand. Repeat to the right and slowly alternate left, right, left. For best results, squat down until the tops of your thighs are parallel to the floor. Perform 10 to 12 reps of squat twists to get the arms, core, and legs warmed up.
2. Balance ball push-ups
Start face down with your stomach on the top of the ball. Walk your hands forward until your shins are resting on the ball and your torso is in a normal flat push-up position. Bend at the elbows and lower your torso until your upper arms are parallel to the ground, pause briefly at the bottom and then return to the “up” push-up position and repeat 10-12 reps.
3. Stability ball back extensions
Start facedown with your stomach and hips on the ball, and your legs extended straight behind you. Hold the ball with your hands until you get into position. Once stable, place your hands behind your head and arch your back and move your head up towards the ceiling. Raise your chest high, as in the cobra position in yoga. Once arched as high as possible, hold briefly then relax and repeat 10 to 12 reps.
4. Balance ball knee tucks
Start in a pushup position with your toes supported on the ball. Keep your arms straight and hands directly under your shoulders. Now bring your knees up towards your chest by rolling the ball forward. Pull your knees up until they are directly under your hips. Pause briefly and then extend your knees back until you are again in the push-up position and repeat for 10 to 12 reps.
5. Stability ball dumbbell chest presses
Hold a dumbbell in each hand and have a seat on the ball. Roll (or slide) your body forward until the ball is directly below your back. Pull the dumbbells up to chest level in line with your nipple line. Now push the dumbbells up together until your arms are fully extended and pause briefly at the top, lower slowly and repeat for 10-12 reps.