A stability ball is a large, inflatable ball made out of soft elastic. Also referred to as an exercise ball, balance training ball, or a Swiss ball, stability balls come in many different sizes and can be used for all sorts of exercises.
The stability ball is a popular piece of exercise equipment for home-based workouts because it’s lightweight, affordable, and offers a wide variety of exercises that you can do to target different muscles in your body — all while improving your balance and coordination.
Some of the best balance ball exercises target your abs, legs, glutes, and arms. Stability ball workouts can also help to spice up your regular fitness routine, and adding the ball to more traditional exercises like squats, lunges, crunches, and back extensions can increase the challenge.
Some women also find that stability ball exercises help alleviate painful period symptoms, like cramps and fatigue, because you can do low-volume strength training and balancing exercises with them. Other good workouts for women on their periods include running (which releases natural endorphins that boost your mood), swimming (which can help soothe painful cramps), and yoga (which can reduce back pain and relax your whole body).
Now that you know what a stability ball is, you’re probably wondering what size stability ball should I get? Look no further, because we’ve got everything you need to know about picking the right ball for you.
When choosing a stability ball for your workout, you want to make sure you pick the right size based on your height and your weight. The best way to choose the correct size is to sit on the ball. Just like when you’re sitting on a chair, you want your feet flat on the floor and your knees and hips to be in line. If you have a 90-degree bend at the knee, then the ball is the right size for you!
Of course, when you’re shopping for a stability ball, this isn’t always so easy. Since the balls are inflatable, they’re usually deflated and boxed up at the store — which means you can’t do the sitting test. In general, look for a stability ball with a diameter that’s approximately half your height (or slightly smaller). Here are some general size guidelines:
- If you’re between 5’1” and 5’7”, try a balance ball with a 22-inch (55 cm) diameter
- If you’re between 5’8” and 6’ tall, try a balance ball with a 26-inch (65 cm) diameter
Opt for a stability ball with an 18-inch (45 cm) diameter if you’re shorter than 5 feet, and one that’s 30 inches (75 cm) in diameter if you’re taller than 6 feet. Inflate the ball according to the directions on the packaging.
If you’re looking for a balance ball workout that targets your whole body, then this circuit is for you! This routine is so much fun that you might even have a coregasm (ok, maybe not — but it does happen to some people!).
Try doing 2–3 sets of this routine, doing 8–12 reps of each exercise.
Target your core with exercise balance ball walk-outs.
- Sit upright on your stability with your arms crossed over your chest, feet flat on the floor.
- Keep the spine long as you simultaneously walk your feet forward and lower your back and shoulder blades to the stability ball.
- Walk as far as you can without letting the hips drop lower than the height of the ball.
- Walk back in and return to the starting seated position.
One of the best stability ball exercises for legs is stability ball squats.
- Stand with your stability ball between your back and a wall.
- Extend the arms forward and bend your knees into a squat position, lowering your hips down.
- Slowly come back up to standing, without letting the stability ball drop.
Make your push-up more dynamic using the stability ball.
- Bring your chest to the stability ball and your hands to the floor.
- Walk your hands forward until the ball is at your hips or thighs. The farther the ball is down your legs, the harder the push-up will be.
- Perform push-ups with good form, lowering your chest toward the ground while keeping your body straight.
One of the best stability ball back exercises for your back is the stability ball back extension.
- Bring your midsection over the stability ball.
- Walk your feet back and extend the full length of the body into one straight line.
- Place your hands behind your head with your elbows pointing in opposite directions.
- Sequentially lift and lower your chest away from the ball or floor.
You can make your stability ball full-body workout more challenging by using dumbbells in exercises like the stability ball squats and the stability ball back extension. Strength-based exercises have the added benefit of helping reduce the appearance of cellulite.
If you’ve added weights, make sure you can still perform 8–10 repetitions per set.
Half balance ball exercises
There are half balance ball exercises you can do that make your ab and arm exercises more challenging.
For arms, trying doing your push-ups with your hands on the flat half of the balance ball.
For abs, come into a plank position with your elbows and forearms on the inflated half of the balance ball and alternate stepping your feet out to the side and back to center.
After all your hard work, it’s time for a nice stretch. Try these simple yoga poses using your stability ball:
For a backbend, start by sitting on your balance ball and then lean back over the ball with your arms reaching overhead.
For a forward fold, sit on the ball with your knees apart and then slowly fold your body forward between your legs.
These stability ball exercises give you a full workout routine that you can do from the comfort of your own home. As with any new fitness routine, speak with your doctor if you have any illness or injuries that may prevent you from doing the exercises. If you’re pregnant, make sure you ask your doctor which exercises are safe for you to perform.