Making Friends With Your Stability Ball

Posted on 29 June 2015

Remember that stability ball you bought a few years ago?  It may or may not have come with a DVD or booklet explaining how to use it, which you may or may not have actually used.  You probably rolled around on it a few times, stretching out your back and your thighs, and rightly so- that’s a great, low-impact stretch for those of us with tight hips from office chairs.  Perhaps over the next months- or year- the ball deflated a little, and now you’ve got it crumpled up in the back of a closet somewhere.  The time has come to pull it out, re-inflate it, and get ready to rock your body with some fantastic, effective full-body work using the stability ball!

Let’s start with the abs.  If you’ve watched other folks at the gym, or at least taken a peek at the media that comes with your stability ball, you know that it’s great to do crunches on them.  Go for it!  Enjoy a good crunchout on your ball.  But why not mix it up a little.  Flip your crunch, and do back extensions on your ball- keep the ball centered on your hips, and raise and lower your chest, using the core to keep you stable and move your upper body.  Try a hand-off, passing the ball rapidly from your hands to your feet, while lying on your back, crunching up to make the pass.

What about some leg action?  Try squatting with your ball- raising it above your head as you squat, or using bodyweight to push it against the wall behind your back while you squat.  Talk about a great way to perfect your back position!  Get some inner-leg strength and balance by standing on one foot, with the stability ball under the other heel- the raised leg at 90 degrees from the hips, just like Tree Pose.  Get those one-leg squats going, and feel the stretch in both legs while your hips and spine work to keep your upper body in place.

Let’s not forget the upper body, either!  Sure, you can do a plank, but can you plank on top of your ball?  Try holding it for ten seconds.  Then 15.  Double it!  How about push-ups?   Start on your stomach on the ball, and roll out until your hands are under your shoulders and your toes are on the ball.  Try 8-10 push-ups to start.  Or, for that all-body upper body feel, bring your free weights to the ball, and do a few curls while maintaining balance on your ball.  It may not feel like much, but your core will know what’s going on!

The internet is a great resource for full-body stability ball exercises.  If these small steps get you energized to try more with your ball, take a look for more exercises.  Remember, the stability ball is a ball, after all, and you may feel very wobbly when you get started.  Stay away from walls or hard surfaces that might not be so forgiving if you roll or wobble the wrong way.  Soon enough, you should find your bearings!

Have fun and stay active!

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