Stability balls provide you with a versatile workout with an inexpensive piece of equipment. Also known as a fitness or exercise ball, the stability ball looks similar to a beach ball but with more durability. The stability ball adds more complexity to several basic exercises, such as crunches, the plank and squats.
Before you begin exercising, you need to choose an appropriately sized stability ball. The ball’s package provides a guide for buying the correct size, which is based primarily on height. While in a seated position, your knees should form a 90-degree angle. A smaller ball is also useful for exercises when the ball is held in the hands.
While exercise balls are sturdy and durable, there is still a chance for losing balance and tipping on the ball. A wide stance while seated on the ball gives you more stability. A chair or wall near you as you exercise provides a backup if you feel unbalanced on the ball.
Stability balls work well for working ab and core muscles. Simply sitting on a stability ball requires your core muscles to perform. Crunches performed while seated on the exercise ball specifically target the abdominal muscles. A bridge focuses on the abs and core muscles. The exercise starts while lying on the floor with legs on the ball, hips and buttocks lifted off of the floor. Lift one leg at a time off of the ball for added complexity. The plank is another core muscle move possible on a stability ball. The ball goes under the thighs with the hands supporting the upper body similar to a push-up position, with the entire body in a straight line. Hold the position with abs tightened.
Turning a stability ball plank into a push-up adds more of a strength-training aspect to the move. Squats while holding the stability ball in front of you or above your head also offer strength training for legs and arms. You can also add in weight training with dumbbells as you sit or lie across the stability ball.
A slow start to your stability ball exercise routine helps prevent injuries. Gradually work up to work up to more advanced moves. Stability ball routines work well for pregnant women, but you should avoid lying across the ball on your back later in the pregnancy, as this can reduce blood flow.