Beginner Ball Workout for Balance, Stability and Strength
Beginner Ball Workout for Balance, Stability and Strength
By Paige Waehner
Updated July 15, 2016
Do you want to work on your balance and core strength without crazy, killer exercises? This workout is for you, showing simple 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 hold onto a chair for balance.
Check with your doctor if you have any injuries or medical conditions.
An exercise ball
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.
1 Ball Circles
Ball circles are a great way to warm up the abs, lower back, and the hips. The key to this move is to engage the abs as you roll forward and focus on the lower back as you roll back. Keeping the hands behind the head allows you to focus on good posture and balance.
- Sit on the ball and place the hands on the ball for balance or 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 and let the hips move while keeping the shoulders stable.
- Repeat for 20 circles to the right and then the left.
2 Ball Marches
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.
3. Seated Ball 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.
4. Ball Walks
If you’re new to the exercise ball, ball walks are a great way to practice using the ball while developing core strength and balance. If you haven’t tried this before or you feel wobbly, stay next to a wall in case you need to hold onto it for balance.
- Sit on the ball with the hands behind the head (harder) or resting on the ball, abs engaged.
- Slowly walk forward, rolling your torso down onto the ball.
- Continue walking the feet forward until you’re in a tabletop position on the ball, head and neck supported and the hips lifted.
- Slowly walk back, coming all the way up to a seated position.
- Use a sticky mat or shoes with good traction to avoid slipping and hold onto a wall for balance if needed.
- Repeat for 1-3 sets of 10-15 reps.
5. Ball Squats
Squats are a great exercise for the glutes, hips and thighs and adding a ball to the move can add great support for the back while allowing you to get into perfect squat position to protect the knees.
- Stand with about hip or shoulder-width apart and place an exercise ball behind your lower back and against a sturdy wall for support.
- If you choose to hold weights, you can keep them at your sides, hold them just over the shoulders or prop them on the upper thighs.
- Bend the knees and lower into a squat, keeping the knees in line with the toes.
- Lower down as far as you can (but no lower than 90 degrees) and push into the heels to go back to starting position.
- Do 1-3 sets of 10-16 reps.
- Keep your knees in line with your toes.
- Press through the heel of you foot as you push up from the squat.
- Avoid letting the knee bend over the toe.
6. Pelvic Tilt On The Ball
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.
7. Leg Press On The Ball
The leg press is a great beginner exercise targeting the glutes, hips and thighs. It mimics a machine leg press, but is easier since you’re using your own body weight for resistance.
- Sit on the ball and slowly roll down the ball, walking your feet forward until you’re sitting at an incline, knees bent.
- Place the fingertips on the floor or hold onto a wall for balance, if needed.
- Push through the heels of both feet (lifting the toes off the floor, if you can) and push back on the ball until the knees are almost straight.
- As you press up, move slowly, really engaging the muscles of the hips and thighs.
- Lower and repeat for 1-3 sets of 10-16 reps.
- Using a smaller ball will allow your finger tips to reach the floor, guiding you throughout the movement
- To make it harder, go slower or try the one-legged version below
- At the bottom of the movement, keep the knees behind the toes
8. Back Extension On The Ball
Using a ball for back extensions will give you more range of motion than you get on the floor and you’ll also have a balance challenge since the ball is unstable. You may want to prop your feet against the wall to get more leverage.
- Lie down with the ball under the belly and hips, legs straight out behind you (or knees bent for a modification).
- Place the hands behind the head or under the chin – you can also keep the hands resting on the ball if you need a modification.
- Round down over the ball and then squeeze the lower back to lift the chest off the ball.
- Raise up until the body is straight (don’t hyperextend), lower down and repeat for 1-3 sets of 10-16 reps.
9. Hip Lifts On The Ball
The hip lift is a great way to work the glutes, hamstrings and the lower back. By propping the feet on the ball, you also add a balance component which makes the exercise more dynamic and more intense. Do it right:
- Lie down and place the heels on the ball, keeping the legs straight.
- Squeeze the glutes and lift the hips up until the body is in a straight line.
- Keep the hands on the floor for more balance if needed.
- Release the hips down, barely touching the floor, and repeat for 1-3 sets of 12-16 reps.
- If the exercise is too hard, re-position the ball under the calves or thighs to make it easier.