Exercise or Stability Ball Exercises

How do I select an exercise ball?
Exercise balls come in several different sizes depending on your height. When you sit on the ball you knees should be level or slightly lower than your pelvis, this will make a 90 degree angle at the hips and knees. Also if you are a beginner you might want a ball that is slightly larger and softer, this will make the exercises a little bit easier at first.

Top 10 Ball Exercises

Ball Crunch - Lie with the ball resting under the mid/lower back and place hands behind the head or across the chest. Contract your abs to lift your the torso off the ball, pulling the bottom of your ribcage down toward your hips. As you curl up, keep the ball stable.

Ball Crunch
Superman - Begin on the ball with your hands and knees on the floor, back straight and abs tight. Slowly raise right arm and left leg up until level with the body, holding your balance and keeping torso tight. Lower back down and repeat with the left arm and right leg. Take your time--this exercise will challenge your balance!
Ball Pushup - Kneel on the floor with the ball in front of you and roll forward on it, walking the hands out to where you can comfortably support your body with the abs in, shoulders retracted and the body in a straight line. Place the hands a bit wider than shoulders and check to make sure you're not sagging in the middle. 
Ball Pushup
Back Extension - Lie face down with ball under your hips and lower torso. Place your hands behind your head or at your sides and stay on your knees or toes. Slowly roll down the ball and then roll back up, lifting your chest off the ball. Bring your shoulders up until your body is in a straight line without hyperextending.
Back Extension
Wall Squat - Stand with feet wide, toes out at about a 45-degree angle and place an exercise ball behind your lower back for support. If you choose to hold weights, you can keep them at your sides or prop them on the hips. Bend the knees and lower into a squat, keeping the knees in line with the toes. Lower down as far as your flexibility allows and push into the heels to go back to starting position. 
Wall Squat
Hip Extension - Lie down with feet heels propped on ball. Keeping abs tight, slowly lift your hips off the floor (squeezing the glutes) until body is in a straight line. Hold for a few seconds and lower. For added intensity, lift the hips and then take one leg off the ball, hold for a moment and lower. Repeat, lifting the other leg off the ball. 
Hip Extension
Ball Roll Outs - Start by lying on the ball face down. Walk out with your hands as far as you can keeping your balance as best you can (out to your knees or further if possible). Keeping your abs tight roll out as far as you can and repeat. 
Ball Roll Outs
Ball Circles - Sit on the ball and place your hands on the ball for balance or place them behind your head (more difficult). Slowly begin to move your hips in a circle to the right and left keeping your abs tight. Start with small circles and as you get comfortable do larger circles. 
Ball Circles
Seated Balance - Sit on the ball with the spine straight and abs in. Place the hands on the ball or behind the head (harder) and lift the right foot off the floor, holding it in the air for 5 or more seconds. Lower and repeat on the other side. Keep the abs in to help keep your balance. 
Ball walks - Sit on the ball and place the hands on either side for balance. Contract the abs and slowly walk the feet forward as you slide the back down onto the ball. Continue walking the feet forward until you're in a bridge position with the head and shoulders supported by the ball, hips lifted. Walk all the way back until you're seated again and repeat. If this feels difficult, hold onto a wall for balance and only walk forward a bit at a time until you feel more comfortable.

Back << Resistance Training Exercises

Have questions? Check out the Teen and Childhood Obesity Message Board!

This information has been provided by Christopher Kist, HFI, and Renee M Jeffreys, MS, RCEP, who are both Clinical Exercise Physiologists at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Please visit the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and the Surgical Weight Loss Program for Teens at Cincinnati Children?s Hospital Medical Center.


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