3 Exercise Ball Workouts to Whip You (& Your Abs!) Into Shape

Workouts

Are you looking to start a new training regime and supercharge your health? Changing your current workout plan and trying something new is the key. Exercise ball workouts, also known as stability ball exercises, have skyrocketed in popularity in the last few years and it’s plain to see why.

These exercises allow you to target specific muscles and gain more from a standard workout. Want to know more? In this guide, we will explain the basics and how to get started.

What Are Exercise Ball Workouts?

Woman and her boyfriend doing an exercise ball workout at home
Exercise workouts can be easily done either in the comfort of your home or at the gym.

Put simply, an exercise ball workout is a session in which you use balls to help you with stability and control. The balls are usually made from PVC, non-burstable material and are filled with air. You may have heard these workouts referred to as stability ball exercises, yoga ball workout, or even balance ball exercises. Regardless of the name, the basics are the same and will deliver similar results.

What Benefits Can I Expect to See From Stability Ball Exercises?

Before we look at three of the most effective stability ball exercises, you may want to gain an understanding of their benefits. Here are some of the things you can expect when you start doing these exercises on a regular basis:

Improved balance

Women doing an exercise ball workout with a trainer in the gym

As the name ‘stability ball’ suggests, one of the biggest advantages is a greater sense of balance. One study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that doing stability ball exercises twice a week for 10 weeks could help improve a person’s spinal balance and, therefore, their improve a person’s posture.[1] Adding these exercises to your routine could help you be more stable.

Greater core strength

Woman doing ab exercises with ball using a yoga mat

Looking for killer abs? Trying out a new exercise ball workout could be the answer. These types of ball-based moves tend to focus your strength training on your core muscles. That means that the strength of those muscle groups soars the more you practice these activities. Give it a go!

Better performance

Woman doing ab exercises with ball in her living room using weights

If you’re new to the world of strength training, you may find that you struggle to master some of the most common moves and activities. The balance balls can help aid your workout and mean that you can execute some of the trickier moves without extra help.

What Size Exercise Ball Should I Get?

Woman doing stability ball exercises working on legs with her personal trainer in the gym
Stability ball workouts let you work your legs while you’re lying down? Sign us up!

If you’ve done your research, you will already know that exercise balls are available in a range of sizes. Before you start doing your home exercise ball workout, you need to get the right one for you. The one you choose will typically depend on your height. Here’s a quick guide to help you choose the right size for you:

  • Less than 4”6 ft tall = 30cm ball
  • 4”6 ft to 5 ft tall = 45cm ball
  • 5 ft to 5”6 ft tall = 55cm ball
  • 5”6 ft and 6 ft tall = 65cm ball
  • 6 ft tall and above = 75cm ball

Of course, this guide is quite rough. The best way to figure out if a ball is right is to try it out. For instance, you could head to the gym and try stability ball exercises with different sized balls before investing in your own.

3 Easy Exercise Ball Workouts

1. Ab Blaster Exercise Ball Workout

Chest Lift | 20 reps

One of the best ab exercises with a ball is the simple chest lift. Essentially, this exercise is a sit-up while using an exercise ball for extra stability. Here’s how to do it.

Equipment you’ll need:

Exercise ball

How to do it:

  1. Sit on your exercise ball and walk your feet away from you while lowering your back toward the ball. You should be supported by your feet and the ball alone. (You should be more or less parallel to the floor!)
  2. Put your hands to your temples with your elbows pointing outward.
  3. Pull your body upward using your abdominal muscles. Keep your core as tight as possible. Sit up so that your back is at a 90-degree angle to your hips.
  4. Return to your starting position and repeat 20 times.

Top Tip: Keep your core tight during this exercise to make sure that your abs really work!

Exercise Ball Push-ups | 30 reps

Adding this next move will help you to work on your core and get stronger. It’s one of the best ab exercises with a ball and it’s strikingly easy to learn. Here’s what you need to do.

Equipment you’ll need:

Exercise ball

How to do it:

  1. Place the exercise ball on the floor. Get into plank position with the ball beneath your abs, supporting your weight. Your arms should be directly below your shoulders, supporting your weight, and your toes should be lifted from the ground.
  2. Bend your arms at the elbows to lower yourself toward the ground. You will notice that the exercise ball begins to contract as you do so.
  3. Next, straighten your arms again so that you return to the start position.
  4. Repeat this move 30 times.

Leg Lowers | 30 reps

Strengthening your core means targeting your abs, here’s another move you might want to try during your gym session.

Equipment you’ll need:

Exercise ball and yoga mat

How to do it:

  1. Lie with your back flat on your yoga mat. Your arms should be down by your sides. Hold the exercise ball between your calves and squeeze so that it’s firmly in position.
  2. Lift your legs up so that they are straight in the air and you are holding the ball.
  3. Lower your legs as close to the mat as you can manage without releasing the exercise ball. Return to the start position.
  4. Repeat this exercise 30 times.

2. Quick and Easy Workout

Crossing the Plank | 30 seconds

When you don’t have long to spend on your weekday workouts, you need to pick moves that are quick. The Crossing the Plank move takes only 30 seconds but gives your abs a really thorough going over.

Equipment you’ll need:

Exercise ball, yoga mat, and a wall

How to do it:

  1. Place the mat on the floor near a sturdy wall. Put the ball up against the wall. Get into side plank position, with your feet elevated onto the exercise ball.
  2. You should support your body weight with one of your hands while the other is elevated in the air.
  3. Tense your abs and keep your core strong. Maintain this position for 30 seconds or a little longer, if you can manage it. Then release.

Ball Balance | 20 seconds

Have you got a good sense of balance? This next move is one of the greatest ab exercises with a ball that you can do. What’s more, it doesn’t take all that long!

Equipment you’ll need:

Exercise ball

How to do it:

  1. Sit on the exercise ball and take a moment to find your center balance.
  2. Place each of your hands on the side of the ball to steady yourself.
  3. Lift your feet from the ground and attempt to balance in place.
  4. Hold your pose for 20 seconds or longer, if you can manage it.

Top Tip: Focus your mind! Don’t think too much about balancing and keep your mind focussed on maintaining the right position.

Back Extenders | 20 reps

Not only is this next move one of the best ab exercises with a ball, but it also works your back muscles at the same time. You can do a quick blast of exercise here that won’t take you any time at all. Simple.

Equipment you’ll need:

Exercise ball

How to do it:

  1. Lie forward with the ball directly under your hips and your toes touching the ground.
  2. Place your hands at your temples with your elbows pointing outward.
  3. Lift your torso upward so that your back curves as you do so. Hold for a second and then release. Return to start position.
  4. Repeat this exercise 20 times for a full set.

3. Beginner Exercise Ball Workout

Hip Lifts | 20 reps

Ready to start your easy exercise ball workout? The Hip Lift move will take you no time to master and it’s an excellent go-to toning activity. Here’s what you need to know.

Equipment you’ll need:

Exercise ball and yoga mat

How to do it:

  1. Start by putting the ball on one end of the mat and lying with your head at the other. Elevate your feet onto the ball and keep your back flat on the mat and your arms stretched outward.
  2. Squeeze your glutes and tense your abs while lifting your hips up as much as you can.
  3. Release and return to start position. Repeat this move 20 times per set.

Top Tip: Try not to allow your back to move up from the mat when you lift your hips. The key is control!

Side Crunch | 20 reps

You’ve may have already mastered crunches, but here’s a new take on the classic move. The side crunch exercise takes a little balance and determination to get right. Here’s how you can do it.

Equipment you’ll need:

Exercise ball

How to do it:

  1. Lie on your side and place your hips against the ball for stability. You should be at a 45-degree angle from the ground. Your feet should be touching the ground.
  2. Place your hands at your temples and flex your body upward and to the side.
  3. Return to start position and repeat this activity 20 times.

Ball Twists | 20 reps

The final exercise in this particular workout is the Ball Twist. These ab exercises with a ball will whip you into shape quicker than you expect. Here’s how to get them right.

Equipment you’ll need:

Exercise ball and small dumbbell

How to do it:

  1. Start by sitting on the ball. Roll your body forward as much as possible so that your butt is barely on the exercise ball and your knees are bent.
  2. Hold a small dumbbell with both of your hands in the middle. While keeping the rest of your body as straight as possible, twist your core to the left and then to the right.
  3. Repeat this move 20 times per set.
3 Exercise Ball Workouts to Whip Your Abs Into Shape

Conclusion

Adding an exercise ball workout to your regular training schedule means that you can tone up and burn fat as soon as possible. Try these simple and straightforward workouts to get started. When you’ve mastered them, you might even want to shake things up and throw in a few original exercises of your own. Happy training!

References

  • [1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16686575

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