What is an Exercise ball?
Exercise balls have so many names, including yoga ball, stability ball and Swiss ball.
It’s a light-weight plastic vinyl ball filled with air.
The material is elastic and burst-resistant.
It is often used in stretches and flexibility, stability, and resistance exercises, and many instances, yoga. This piece of equipment is great for any workout at home or at the gym.
Exercise ball benefits
There are more important reasons to get an exercise ball than it simply adds more exercise options to your home workouts.
Though, that alone can justify getting this inexpensive exercise equipment.
The true benefits of an exercise ball is in what you cannot accomplish without it.
Here are 4 majors things you absolutely cannot accomplish without using an exercise ball.
1. Additional muscle engagement
Your body responds to the instability provided by the ball to remain balanced by forcing the body to engage many more muscles.
You cannot get this body response from working on a flat surface or a bench.
Pushup on the ball is a great example. By adding an exercise ball to your push-up, you are able to activate core muscles to practice extra balance.
2. A wider range of motions
While stability balls are not the only solution to increasing the range of motions, they certainly help.
As opposed to performing a crunch on the floor, crunching on an exercise ball allows you to experience a wider range of motion and forces your abdominal muscles to lengthen further by responding to the curve of the ball.
This of course adds work loads to your muscles, thus you see faster results.
3. Core strength
Exercising on an exercise ball allows you to target hard-to-reach core (stabilizer) muscles.
Working the stabilizer muscles is important not for getting in shape but for your overall physical wellness as they support your supine and help with everyday movements such as running, pulling, and lifting.
Just by sitting on the ball, you are able to engage the stabilizer muscles and reduce the risk of injuries from daily activities, eliminate back pain, and improve posture.
4. Strength training
You can also use the ball to replace a weight bench in your strength training workouts for exercises like chest press, military press and even for some arm workouts and triceps exercises like skull crushers.
Simply lie with the ball supporting your upper back and head, and work your chest and arms while stabilizing your unsupported core with your abs, glutes, and legs.
Using the ball as a bench replacement transforms these upper-body moves into full-body workouts.
Here are step-by-step instructions to work the back of your arms lying on the ball.
The exercises you can do with a stability ball is practically endless.
To give you an idea of what exercises you can do with a stability ball, we have created several full-body ball workouts.
So grab your stability ball and try moves like hamstring curls to tone your backside and planks on the ball to work your core and just about every other part of your body.
You can also use the ball as a tool to focus on a target muscle groups like the abs.
For example, performing the ball crunch’s primary muscle engagement is with the six-pack muscle called, rectus abdominis.
For more exercise ball workout ideas, check our 30 best stability ball exercises for a full-body workout and developing core strength.
Exercise ball chart
Choosing the correct size ball for your height.
The balls are sized in centimeters, and at 10cm increments.
- 5’0” and under – 45cm
- 5’1” – 5’7” – 55cm
- 5’8” – 6’1″ – 65cm
- 6’2” and over – 75cm