The stability ball is one of the best pieces of equipment in any gym: When you do exercises on it, it creates so much instability that it forces your smaller, stabilizing muscles to work harder to keep you steady and still. Over time, that increases the strength and endurance of those muscles for better movement patterns and injury prevention.
Yet while you’ll often see people do situps and crunches on a stability ball, there are far better exercises. Read on for the best stability ball exercises to add to your routine for maximum benefit. When done correctly, these movements can take your training to an entirely new level of difficulty, complexity and effectiveness.
STABILITY BALL JACKKNIVES
Jackknives are a great way to crank up your core training and get better results in your midsection. It also trains your ability to control your lower body while keeping your abdominals and obliques engaged correctly.
The move: Get into a pushup position and place your shins on a stability ball. While keeping your upper-body still, curl your knees to your chest.
Rollouts are one of the best six-pack builders out there. You brace your abs as you extend your arms — the further you reach, the harder it gets.
The move: Get on your knees and place your hands on a stability ball. Push your hips forward, keep your arms straight, and try to touch your nose to the ball — keep your hips straight and squeeze your glutes the entire time.
PUSHUP HOLD ON STABILITY BALL
It doesn’t get much simpler than this exercise — hold it for time and feel your core light up as it works to keep your torso straight and stable. Also, it fires your shoulder-stabilizing muscles, which helps prevent injuries and maintains proper joint function.
The move: Get into a pushup position with your hands on a stability ball. Keep your body straight from head-to-toe and don’t let your lower back sag. To make this harder, start moving the ball in random directions.
SUPINE HIP EXTENSION LEG CURL (SHELC)
The key to power and explosiveness as an athlete is having strong glutes and hamstrings. This is one of the simplest, most effective exercises to strengthen your backside for great results inside and outside the gym.
The move: Lie on your back with your feet on the top of a stability ball. Start by squeezing your glutes and extending your hips. Then, curl your feet underneath your knees while keeping your hips extended and maintaining a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Remember: Every inch you curl your feet is another inch your hips need to rise.
SUPINE LATERAL BALL ROLL (SLBR)
Chances are you’ve never heard of or seen this exercise before! But after this article, you’ll understand why you should add it to your routine. It creates a one-of-a-kind core challenge as you test your core stability from unique angles and directions.
The move: Lie on the stability ball and hold a dowel over your chest. Roll side-to-side on top of the stability ball and go as far as you can without falling.
Hate holding a plank for a long period of time? Take that age-old exercise to the next level by using a stability ball — as you “stir your arms” and rotate the ball, you’ll target your abs from different directions for an incredible core workout.
The move: Get into a plank position on a stability ball. While keeping your torso still, move your forearms in a circle. Then, switch directions. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and don’t let your lower back sag.