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Beginner Ball Workout for Balance, Stability and Strength

The following workout shows basic exercises for balance, stability and strength using an exercise ball.  If you're new to the exercise ball, this is a great place to start.  The exercises help your body get familiar with the unstable surface, allowing you to build a strong core while gently working your entire body.   If you need to, sit next to a wall or chair for balance.

Precautions

Check with your doctor if you have any injuries or medical conditions.

Equipment Needed

An exercise ball

How To

  • Warm up with 5-10 minutes of cardio
  • Beginners:  Perform 1 set of each exercise
  • Intermediate/Advanced:  Perform 1-3 sets of each exercise, resting briefly in between
  • Hold onto a wall for balance if you need to and use a sticky mat or shoes with good traction to avoid slipping
  • Learn more about Choosing and Using an Exercise Ball.
Ball Circles
 
Sit on the ball and place the hands on the ball for balance or place them behind your head (more difficult).  Slowly begin to roll the hips in a circle towards the right, making small circles and then, as you get comfortable, larger circles.  Focus on contracting the abs each time you roll the ball forward.  Repeat for 20 circles to the right and then the left.
Seated March
 
Sit on the ball with the spine straight and abs in.  Begin a slow march, alternating lifting the right foot and then the left.  As you get comfortable with the movement, lift the knees higher and march faster.  You can also add a bounce on the ball if you feel comfortable.  Repeat for 1-2 minutes.
Seated Balance
 
Sit on the ball with the spine straight and abs in.  Place the hands on the ball or behind the head (harder) and lift the right foot off the floor, holding it in the air for 5 or more seconds.  Lower and repeat on the other side.  Repeat for 5-10 reps.  Keep the abs in to help keep your balance.
Ball Walks
 
Sit on the ball and place the hands on either side for balance or place them behind the head (harder).  Contract the abs and slowly walk the feet forward as you slide the back down onto the ball.  Continue walking the feet forward until you're in a bridge position with the head and shoulders supported by the ball, hips lifted.  Walk all the way back until you're seated again and repeat for 10-15 reps.  If this feels difficult, hold onto a wall for balance and only walk forward a bit at a time until you feel more comfortable.
Ball Squats
 
Prop the ball against a wall and position it behind your lower-mid back.  Walk the feet out a bit so that you're leaning against the ball, feet about hip-distance apart.  Bend the knees and lower into a squat, going as low as you can (no lower than 90 degrees) and keeping the knees behind the toes.  Push through the heels to come back up and repeat for 15 reps.
Pelvic Tilt on the Ball
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Lie at an incline position on the ball with the hips down, head supported by the hands and feeling a stretch in the abs.  Without rolling on the ball, squeeze the hips up then lower and repeat for 15 reps. 
Leg Press

Sit on the ball and slowly walk the feet forward until you're at an incline on the ball with knees bent.  Bend the knees into a squat, rolling forward on the ball.  Push through the heels to come back to start and repeat for 15 reps.
Back Extension
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Lie facedown with ball under your hips and lower torso, resting on your knees.  Place the hands behind the head or under the chin.  Roll down the ball and then contract the lower back to lift the chest off the ball, bringing your shoulders up until your body is in a straight line.  Do not hyperextend.  Repeat for 12- 16 reps.  
Hip Extension
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Lie on floor with heels propped on ball.  Keeping abs tight, slowly lift your hips off the floor (squeezing the buttocks) until body is in a straight line.  Hold for a few seconds and lower, repeating 15 times.  To make it easier, place ball under knees rather than under heels.  To make it harder, cross your arms over your chest.  
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