Whether you’re new to fitness and looking for an easy (and efficient) in-home workout routine, a fitness buff looking for some new stability ball routines, or someone who joined a gym and want to learn a few moves so you don’t look like a novice, a stability ball can be the solution to you’ve been looking for. We’re here to teach you how you can use a stability ball to get toned, lose weight, and feel your best. Keep reading to learn about stability balls and stability ball workouts.
What Is a Stability Ball?
If you don’t know what a stability ball is (or understand the benefits), keep reading. Sometimes referred to as an exercise ball, Swiss ball, Pilates ball, balance ball or yoga ball, a stability ball is a large, soft, air-filled ball that typically measures somewhere between 14 to 34 inches in circumference.
These balls were originally designed for physical therapy needs, but over the years have become an essential fitness tool for strengthening the full body, losing weight, and working the core. Bonus points? They’re affordable and easy to store. You might be surprised at how strong a stability ball workout can be.
What Size Stability Ball Should You Get?
The size of your stability ball depends on a variety of factors. Consider what you’ll be using it for. Do you want it for fitness or to sit on as an alternative chair (which is also great for your abs)?
The ideal height of a stability ball also depends on your height. As a general rule of thumb, if you’re short, get a smaller stability ball. If you’re on the taller side or have long legs, go for a larger one. If you can, sit on it before you purchase one to see what size is the most comfortable for you.
What Else Should You Know About Stability Balls?
The beauty of stability balls is that they are a low-cost investment with which you can do a variety of exercises – beginner, intermediate, and even advanced. Stability balls are also affordable, and like kettlebells, are perfect additions to in-home gyms thanks to their small size and ability to be stored.
We’ve reviewed our favorite stability balls. There’s something for everyone, so here’s what we recommend depending on your needs:
- Best stability ball for beginners: Gofit Professional Grade Stability Ball
- Best value: Live Infinitely Exercise Ball
- Most durable stability ball: Black Mountain Static Strength Exercise Stability Ball
- Best as a desk chair alternative: Gaiam Total Body Balance Kit
- Best all around stability ball: URBNFit Exercise Ball
Now that you know what a stability ball is and have explored a few of our favorites, let’s take a look at what you can do with a stability ball to get you in the best shape of your life. Or, at least summer ready.
Here are 5 of the best stability ball workout exercises to lose weight and tone your body.
- What do squats do? Tone your quads and glutes
Want to tone your thighs and butt? Try squats. They may make your thigh and butt muscles feel like they’re on fire, but you have to resist the temptation to quit early. To stay motivated, think about how good you’ll look in a pair of jeans. If you’re going to do this torturous move, you might as well maximize it by using a stability ball to work your core muscles.
How to Do Squats With a Stability Ball
- Place the ball between the wall and your lower back so your body holds the ball in place.
- Walk your feet out slowly. Lower your body towards the floor, rolling the ball up your back, until you are in a squat position.
- Hold the position for a second or two, then work your way to a standing position. Straighten your legs and keep your weight over your heels as you do so.
How Many Squats Should You Do and How Often?
We recommend starting with 10 to 15 repetitions 3 times a week.
When squats get too easy, bring back the burn by adding light weights. Start anywhere from 2lb to 5lb weights (or 10lb if you’re up for it). Hold your arms out in front of you, holding the weights with your knuckles facing down. Within a few weeks, your butt and thighs will thank you for doing this stability ball workout!
- What do bird-dogs work? Core
Bird-dogs are great stability ball workout exercises for your core because they work your lower back and force you to focus on balance. They can be done on the floor or on a stability ball. We recommend trying them on the ball for a bit more of a challenge. When you do bird-dogs on a stability ball, you have to work more on your balance than when you do the same move on your hands and knees.
How to Do Bird-Dogs With a Stability Ball
- Lay on top of the stability ball with your legs and hands slightly apart.
- Place your chest down so your torso is wrapped over the ball.
- Raise your arm and torso upwards and next to your head while raising your opposite leg.
- Lower and repeat, then switch sides.
You’ll kind of look like a superhero flying around in gym clothes!
How Many Bird-Dogs Should You Do and How Often?
We recommend starting with 10-15 repetitions. As you alternate your arms and legs, you’ll slim your hips, build definition in your back, work your core, and tone the back of your thighs and butt.
Try to do bird-dogs 2-3 times a week.
- What do walk-outs work? Core, arms, and shoulders
Walk-outs are a simple exercise, but if you do them right, you’ll feel it in your arms and shoulders the next day. They’re great for building your biceps, triceps, and of course, your core.
How to Do Walk-Outs With a Stability Ball
- Lay face down over the stability ball so it’s under your belly.
- Walk your hands forward so the ball rolls down to your ankles and you’re in a plank position. If your balance is so-so, walk your hands out slowly. It’s better to be slow and graceful than fast with a quick descent to the floor.
- Return to the start position by slowly walking your hands back until the stability ball reaches your belly again.
When you’re the boss of this move, hold the plank position longer.
How Many Walk-Outs Should You Do and How Often?
We recommend starting with 10 repetitions and building from there. Start by doing this stability ball workout 2-3 times a week.
4.) Supine Bridges
- What do supine bridges work? Core, thighs, butt, lower back
If you haven’t realized it by now, stability balls are great for the core. Because they require balance, pretty much every move you do on the ball helps tone your core while also working on your arms, legs, butt, or other areas. A stability ball workout can help you make big strides in your fitness level.
If you have bad balance and trust issues with your stability ball, supine bridges will help. In addition to working your core, supine bridges work your thighs, butt, lower back, and lower abs.
How to Do Supine Bridges With a Stability Ball
- Sit on the ball with your hands on your hips.
- Walk your feet forward slowly, and let the ball roll up your back to the top of your shoulders, similar to how you did a squat.
- Squeeze your butt once the ball is at the top of your shoulders so your hips lift and align with your knees and shoulders so your body forms a tabletop. As you alternate between relaxing your butt and clenching it again, your gluteus muscles should burn.
If you’re a stability ball newbie, this move might make you feel like you’re going to have a close encounter with the floor in the near future. As long as you take it slow and center your body on the ball, you’ll be okay.
How Many Supine Bridges Should You Do and How Often?
We recommend starting with 10 repetitions and moving up from there as you become more comfortable. Start by doing them twice a week and increase as you see fit.
5.) Abdominal Tucks (Also Referred to as Knee Tucks)
- What do abdominal tucks work? Abdominal muscles
We’ll be frank: abdominal tucks on a stability ball are tough. Abdominal tucks work your abs and other core muscles and give you a burn that you’ll also feel in your shoulders. These are the best ab moves you can do on the stability ball and you’ll see results quickly.
How to Do Abdominal Tucks on a Stability Ball
- Starts in a pushup position with your palms on the floor and the stability ball under your knees.
- Bring your knees to your chest slowly while the stability ball rolls up to your ankles.
- Hold for several seconds, then roll the ball back out.
Feel the burn? Unlike pushups, where you can do them from your knees for an easier workout, there is no easy version of this exercise. Again – you’ll feel the burn and these are tough exercises for a stability ball workout. Make it your goal to do smooth, controlled movements.
How Many Abdominal Tucks Should You Do and How Often?
Try starting with 10 repetitions and go up from there. While ab exercises can be done daily, you’ll feel these. Start by doing them three days a week and increase to 4 (or even 7!) when you feel ready. You’ll be bikini-ready in no time!
Are ab tucks on the stability ball too hard? Check out these 20 Best Ab Workouts and see if you find something that better suits your needs.