30 Best Stability Ball Exercises for a Stronger Core

Stability Ball Exercises

Looking for some effective stability ball exercises to workout your core? Search no more, because they’re all here.

We compiled a list of 30 of the most effective ball exercises you can do to strengthen your core, tone abs, and more.

Using a stability ball in your workout is a great way to challenge and strengthen your core muscles.

And by core muscles, I mean more than just your abs. Your core is everything, excluding your arms and legs.

According to research, when basic core exercises are performed on a ball instead of the floor, they become 24 to 38% more effective.

In addition to the core strength, they also work your balance and stability (1).

The use of the ball allows the targeting of more muscles than you normally do and work the parts of the body you don’t use often.

With ball exercises, you can target more muscles than you’ve ever have, and work parts of the body that you normally don’t get to work.

Stability ball exercises offer an excellent way to get stronger and leaner!

With that said here are the 30 best stability ball exercises to workout your core more effectively.

1. Back Stretch

Back stretch

Start by sitting on an exercise ball. Lean forward, bending from your hips resting your hands on the floor.

Let your upper-body hang down, hold it there for 3-5 seconds until you feel a nice deep stretch through the back. Return to the starting position and repeat.

2. Quad Stretch

Quad stretch

Kneel on the floor with the exercise ball behind you, place both palms on the ground so that they are below your shoulders. When you are stable in this position, place the top of the foot and part of the ankle of your left leg against the ball.

Now bring your right leg in front of you, toes pointing straight ahead, knee bent at right angles. Slowly lift your hands off the floor and straighten your torso. Hands-on your waist. Hold for 20-30 seconds before releasing. Switch sides and repeat.

3. Ab Stretch

Swiss ball ab stretch

Sit on a Swiss ball. Walk your feet forward until the small of your lower back is on the ball.

Lie back and stretch your arms over your head. With feet flat and knees at 90 degrees, let your arms hang. Stop if you feel back pain. Hold for 10-15 seconds, rest and repeat 2-3 times.

4. Side Stretch

Side stretch

Lie on your left side on a stability ball with your left hand touching the floor and your legs extended.

Extend your right arm overhead. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.

5. Plank 1

Swiss ball plank exercise

Start by getting into an elevated plank position by placing your forearms on a ball.

Your elbows should be placed on the ball so your arms and torso can form a 90-degree angle and your body form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles.

Brace your core by contracting your abs as if you were about to get punched in the gut. Squeeze your glutes. Hold this position for as long as you can or until you can no longer hold the form. Repeat 2-3 times.

6. Plank Feet on BALL

Swiss ball decline plank exercise.jpg

Start in a low plank position with your forearms on the floor and your feet and shins on a Swiss ball. Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles.

Do not allow the lower back to arch and make sure to engage your core. Hold for as long as you can or until you can no longer hold the form. Repeat 2-3 times.

7. Ball Plank III

Ball plank exercise arms straight

Get down into a plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders and shins placed on the ball.

Keep your feet, pelvis, and shoulders in one long line; make sure the core is contracted and engaged. Do not allow your lower back to arch. Hold for as long as you can or until your form breaks.

8. Hip Raise

Swiss ball hip raise

Lie down on your back faceup on the floor with your arms at your sides and your heels on a stability ball.

Keeping your legs straight and your toes pulled toward your shins, contract your glutes to raise your hips so your body forms a straight line from ankles to shoulders. Pause for 1-2 seconds. Lower your body back down and repeat for 12-15 times.

9. In & Out

Swiss ball in and off the ball

Start in a plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders and shins place on the ball, forming a straight line from ankles to your head. Brace your core, and do not allow your lower back to arch. Keep your feet, pelvis, and shoulders in one line.

Slowly take your left leg off the ball and lower it down and to the side to briefly touch the floor. Bring it back to the starting position (your shin on the ball) and repeat on the other side. Continue alternating sides for the prescribed number of repetitions.

* Press down into the ball with your remaining leg and squeeze your glutes to stabilize yourself while your other leg is moving.

10. Hamstring Leg Curl

Swiss ball hamstrings leg curl exercise

Lie on your back with your feet on top of a stability ball. Your arms should be straight out to your sides. Squeeze your glutes and raise your hips off of the ground. Bend your knees and bring the ball towards your glutes (butt).

Pause for 1-2 seconds and then slowly return to the starting position. Do 8-12 reps.

11. Prone Cobra

Swiss ball prone cobra exercise for back

Lie facedown on a stability ball so your back is flat and your chest is off the ball. Let your arms hang straight down from your shoulders and on the side of the ball.

Contract your glutes and lower back muscles and raise your head, chest, arms, and legs off the floor. At the same time, rotate your arms so that your thumbs point toward the ceiling.

Your hips should now be the only parts of your body touching the ball. Hold this position for 1-2 seconds. Do 10-15 reps.

12. Alternating Superman

Swiss ball alternating superman

Lie face down over a Swiss ball, balancing on toes and hands. Slowly extend your left leg and right arm straight out. The arm should be positioned at a 45° angle to the shoulder and the thumb should be pointing upward. The butt muscle should also be activated.

Hold this position for 1-2 seconds, then lower the arm and leg at the same time back down and repeat on the opposite arm and leg into the same position.

Do not let the back hyperextend (excessively arch), and do not look up or let your head drop.

13. Back Extension

Swiss ball back extension exercise for lower back

Lie face down with your hips resting on a stability ball and your toes touching the floor and feet against the wall. Place your hands behind your head. 

Squeeze your glutes and lift your torso up until your body forms a straight line. Hold for 1-2 seconds. Slowly return to start. Do 8-12 reps.

14. Reverse Hip Raise

Swiss ball reverse hip raise exercise

Lie facedown on a Swiss ball with your arms extended underneath your shoulders and hands on the floor.

Your hips should be positioned on the ball and your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your pelvis. Your toes should be touching the floor.

Contract your abs and lift both legs in the air using your hips and glutes. Pause at the top for 1-2 seconds, then slowly lower your legs back to the starting position. Repeat 10-12 times

15. Push-Ups I

Swiss ball exercise push-ups

Get into a push-up position with your hands on a stability ball. Use your arms to keep the ball stable.

To perform push-ups, bend your elbows to lower yourself toward the ball.

When your chest comes within an inch or two of the ball, stop and pause, then press back up. Aim for 8-12 repetitions or until you can no longer perform in good form. Complete 2-3 sets.

16. Decline Push-Ups

Exercise Swiss ball decline push-ups

Place your shins on a Swiss ball and palms on the floor forming a push-up position.

Raise your hips so your torso is nearly parallel to the ground. Bend your elbows and lower your body until your head nearly touches the floor. Pause for 1-2 seconds, then push back to the starting position. Aim for 8- 12 reps with good form. Complete 2-3 sets.

17. Knee Tuck

Swiss ball knee tuck exercise for lower abs

Start in the plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders and shins placed on the ball, forming a straight line from your ankles to the head. 

Brace your core and roll the ball toward your chest by pulling it forward with your feet. Pause 1-2 seconds, then return to the starting position by lowering your hips and fully extending your legs. Do 8-12 reps for 2-3 sets.

18. Pike Crunch

Swiss ball pike crunch exercise

Starting in a push-up position with your feet resting on the Swiss ball, slowly bend your hips and bring your feet toward your chest.

Pause for 1-2 seconds, then slowly straighten your legs to return to starting position. Do 8-12 reps depending on your fitness level. Complete 2-3 sets.

19. Squat

Swiss ball wall squats

Stand with your back facing a wall, with a ball between your lower back and the wall.

Place your feet about 2 feet in front of your body. Keeping your back in contact with the ball, contract your abs to squat down until your upper thighs are at least parallel to the floor. Hold for 1-2 seconds, then return back to the starting position. Repeat 10-15 times for 2-3 sets.

20. High Knees

Swiss ball high knees

Grab and hold the exercise ball straight up over your head with both hands. Lift your right knee up to your waist level. At the same time, bring down the arms and ball to touch the knee.

Take the ball back up and bring the right knee down the same time. Switch sides and repeat on your left knee.

 21. Crunch Ball

Crunch ball

Lie down flat on your back with your hands extended out over your head while squeezing a Swiss ball in between your feet. Straighten your legs to lift the ball up and off of the ground. Push the ball towards the sky while curling your lower back off of the floor.

Bring your arms up over your chest and lift your shoulders off the mat while raising your legs until they’re perpendicular to the floor. Touch the ball with your hands. Pause for 1-2 seconds, then return to start without letting the ball touch the floor. Do 8-12 reps.

22. Scissors Crunch

Swiss ball pilates scissors crunch

Lie down flat on your back on a Yoga mat, with the exercise ball in your hands and lift your upper body off the floor so your head and shoulder blades hover. 

Lift your left leg off the mat and bring it all the way up to form a 90° angle with your torso and bring your right leg slightly off the floor.

Gently touch the ball with your left chin. Keeping your upper body lifted, alternate your legs (just like scissors). Do 8-12 reps per side.

23. V-Pass

Swiss ball v-pass

Lie down faceup on the floor, holding a stability ball overhead with both hands, your legs together and extended straight on the floor. In one motion, brace your core and lift your arms and legs off the ground, placing the ball between your feet.

Squeeze the ball with your legs and lower your arms and legs back to the floor. Repeat, passing the ball back to your hands. Do 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps. 

24. Ball Crunch

Swiss ball crunch exercise

Sit on a Swiss ball with your feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart. Walk your feet forward as you lie back on the ball.

From this position, lift your head and shoulders and crunch your rib cage toward your pelvis. Pause 1-2 seconds at the top. Then slowly return into the fully stretched position. Repeat 12-15 times for 2-3 sets.

25. Oblique Crunch

Swiss ball oblique crunch

Lie on your back with your lower back on the ball and your feet flat on the floor. Put your fingers behind your ears.

 Contract your core and slowly crunch upwards across your body, so that your right-hand points straight at your left knee. Hold for 1-2 seconds, then lower your upper body to the start position. Repeat 12-15 times. Do 2-3 sets.

26. T-Raise

Swiss ball T-raise exercise

Lie facedown on a ball, keeping your back flat and your chest off the ball. Let your arms hang straight down from your shoulders and palms facing out.

Contract your upper back by pulling your shoulder blades back together and brace your core to lift up your arms out to the side until they are at your shoulders level, parallel to the ground. Hold for 1-2 seconds, then reverse the movement. Do 10-12 reps.

27. Y-Raise

Swiss ball y-raise

Lie facedown on a ball, keeping your back flat and your chest off the ball. Let your arms hang straight down from your shoulders and palms facing out. Lift your arms at a 30-degree angle from your body (so that they form a Y shape) until they’re in line with your body.

Pause for 1-2 seconds then slowly lower back to the starting position. Do 8-12 reps.

28. Dumbbell Chest Press

Swiss ball dumbbell chest press

Lie on your back with your upper body resting on a stability ball, your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, with your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle, palms facing away from your body.

Brace your core and directly press the dumbbells straight up towards the ceiling, hold for 1-2 seconds at the top and slowly then lower them back down. Repeat 10-12 times. Do 2-3 sets.

29. Dumbell Kickbacks

Swiss ball dumbbell kickbacks

Holding a dumbbell in each hand, lie facedown with your stomach on a stability ball, toes on the floor, and body in a straight line. Keep your upper arms in line with your torso and bend your elbows so your hands are up by your shoulders and palms facing you. 

Exhale as you straighten your elbows bringing the dumbbells all the way back to your sides, then inhale as you return to the starting position. Repeat 10-12 times. Do 2-3 sets.

30. Dumbbell Row

Swiss ball dumbbell row

Lie down facedown on a stability ball with the ball placed directly under your hips. Keep pelvis towards the ball and core engaged.

Hold a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing each other. Bend your elbows and pull your arms up towards your sides, until your hands are at your chest level. 

Keeping arms at your sides, retract shoulder blades. Pause for 1-2 seconds, then lower the weight back down. Repeat 10-12 times. Do 2-3 sets.

The Takeaway

The stability ball is one of my favorite exercise tools to use when I’m working out.

By adding an exercise ball in your workout, you can improve every aspect of your fitness, core strength, balance, and flexibility. It’s a great way to engage your core and the full body in one workout.

(1). STERNLICHT, ERIC. “ELECTROMYOGRAPHIC COMPARISON OF A STABILITY BALL CRUNCH WITH A TRADITIONAL CRUNCH.” ELECTROMYOGRAPHIC COMPARISON OF A STABILITY BALL CRUNCH WITH A TRADITIONAL CRUNCH, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 2007, www.chapman.edu/our-faculty/files/publications/sternlicht-eric/NSCA-May2007-EMG-Study.pdf.

Misato Alexandre

Co-Founder

After making healthy living a priority, Misato lost over 20 lbs in less than 90 days. Instead of weight loss being a dreading experience, living the lifestyle of health and fitness granted her more happiness and joy than ever before. She co-founded Fitwirr to make health and fitness simple for everyone and share her tips through writing evidence-based articles on nutrition, weight loss, and exercise.

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