Some people feel curious about those bouncy balls in fitness clubs and gyms. Those are the stability exercise balls, Swiss balls, or balance balls. Fitness routine often focuses on flexibility and strength, particularly for those participating in sports and athletics. However, stability and balance are other important elements that can elevate sports performance as well as help you in your day-to-day activities. Stability ball exercises offer many such benefits and are the best pick to add to your fitness routine.
Let us look at some of the benefits of stability ball exercises and the ways to perform those exercises.
Benefits of Stability Ball Exercises
It is believed that stability offers the main grounds for your core strengthening and protecting your muscles and joints from injuries. Here is what some studies say about stability ball exercises and their benefits.
A 2004 study concluded that Swiss ball exercises provide training stimulus for the rectus abdominis. This was when eight healthy study participants performed 4 exercises on and off a Swiss ball, which included inclined press-up, upper body roll-out, single-leg hold, and quadruped exercise.1
In 2012, a study reported that untrained female subjects achieved a higher percentage of improvement in strength compared to males in both back and abdominal muscles, which was most evident in the stability ball exercises group.2
A 2013 trial studied the effect of stability ball exercises on low back pain and daily life interference during pregnancy. It concluded that including stability ball exercises during pregnancy may reduce pregnancy low back pain and boost daily life functions.3
In 2017, a study was done to investigate the effects of static and dynamic balance using Medicine-ball and Swiss-ball exercises. In both cases, there was a significant improvement in balance ability and there were effective in improving static and dynamic ability.4
Thus, stability ball exercises can help in improving the stability, balance, and core strength and support the muscles and joints involved in exercises. With improved agility, it can also help control lower back pain and hip pain and improve the functioning of the core muscles and foot stability.
Best Stability Ball Exercises
Here are some of the best stability ball exercises that can offer most of the benefits of a healthy fitness routine.
Begin with your general body warm-up moves to free up your joints. Neck movements and rotations, shoulder rotations, free up your back by bending forward, backward, and sideways. Do some marching on the spot and get ready for the stability ball exercises.
If you are using the stability ball exercise for the first time or if you are not well-versed with it, begin slowly by sitting on it by taking the support of a wall or a chair.
Stability Ball Warm-up 1
Stand with your feet wide apart and hold the ball with your hands straight above your head. Bend your knees into a half squat, keeping the hands with the ball overhead in the same position. Lower into a deep squat by putting weight on your hips but make sure the knees do not cross over your toes. Press your heels and raise yourself to get back to the original position. This is one of the basic stability ball exercises.
Stability Ball Warm-up 2
Stand with your feet wide apart and hold the ball with your hands straight above your head. Bend your knees into a half squat and now lower your hands to gently touch the ball on the floor. Raise yourself by straightening the knees and raising the hands with the ball to the original position. Repeat this 10 times. This is one of the simplest stability ball exercises.
Stability Ball Circles
Sit on the stability ball. Place your hands behind your head or on the ball, if you need support. Now, gently begin to rotate your hips in a clockwise manner, beginning from the right side, while remaining seated on the ball. Try to maintain your balance as your hip moves towards the back and then towards the left and then back to the original position. Make small circles initially and learn to engage your core as you try to balance. Repeat this 10 times and gradually make larger circles as you get more comfortable. This stability ball exercise gives you the confidence for the forthcoming exercises.
Stand next to the stability ball. Place your elbows on the top of the ball and clasp your hands together to get firm support by pressing the elbow on the ball. Keep your feet a little wide apart slightly away from the ball such that the back and the hips are in a straight line like a plank pose. Now tighten your abs and take your chest and abdomen completely off the ball, such that the elbows are rested on the ball and you maintain a plank position on the stability ball. Hold this for 5 to 10 seconds and then release. Repeat this 10 times. This stability ball exercise allows you to lean on the ball and prepare you for the next level of exercise.
Stability Ball Shoulder Squeeze
Rest your chest and abs on the ball and try to balance yourself with the support of the hands on the floor and legs extended straight behind the hip-apart. Now slowly raise your hands straight up in the front like a superman position. Then sweep your arms by your sides and let them reach behind towards the hips while you squeeze your shoulders. Again bring the hands in the front in the superman position and take them back while squeezing the shoulders. Repeat this 10 times.
Stability Ball Marches
Standing marches have been easy so it’s time for some marches on the stability ball. Sit on the ball with your back upright. Place your hands on the ball if you are a beginner or behind your head if you are a pro. While maintaining this position on stability, make sure you place both your feet fully rested on the floor. Now raise only your right foot off the floor and maintain balance on the left foot. Then lower your right foot and take the left foot off the floor, while balancing on the right foot. Continue doing this as if you are marching while being seated on the stability ball, for at least 10 to 20 rounds for each foot.
Stability Ball Dumbbell Press
Sit on the stability ball with your feet flat on the floor. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and place your hands by your sides, such that the elbows are parallel to the floor and bent at right angles, while the forehands are perpendicular to the floor and palms facing in the front. Raise your hands to extend the elbows and then bring them down. Repeat it 10 times.
Ball Marching Dumbbell Press
This stability ball exercise is a combination of the previous two exercises. Holding the dumbbell in the hands and moving them up and down by raising the hands in the elbows. This is done while you continue to march by lifting your right foot once and then the left foot off the floor. Thus this is marching with the dumbbell press exercise that improves not only stability but also coordination.
These are some of the basic stability ball exercises that can be easily performed even if you are a beginner. Make sure you move slowly and gradually increase the repetitions once you feel comfortable.