The swiss ball is as versatile as kettle bells, TRX and many other fitness tools you can think of. It goes by many different names such as the fit ball, swiss ball and balance ball to name but a few.
What makes swiss ball exercises so effective is that any exercise performed on the swiss ball becomes more intense due to the instability.
Why use the Swiss ball?
To gain some type of stabilisation your body is forced to recruit extra muscle groups in addition to the main muscles needed to perform the exercise.
Many of these extra muscles recruited are in the abdominals. This means that even though you may be doing an exercise for the legs, your abdominals will also work, which makes it an ab exercise as well.
As a result, you will work harder and gain strength at a quicker rate. Here are 28 of the best stability ball exercises:
Best Swiss ball ab exercises and ab workout
Swiss Ball Ab Exercises With Full Description
1) Ab curl
Lie back on the ball with your lower back on the middle of the ball and your head back. Make sure your feet are wider then shoulder width apart to help with balance. Raise your body up from the Swiss ball until you are in an upright position. Lower yourself back till your head and shoulders are in the start position.
2) Back with hip extensions
Start with your stomach on the ball with your feet and hands in contact with the floor. Raise your legs so that your ankles, hips and shoulders are in line.
3) Ball roll out
Start with your body in an upright position and have your hands on the ball. Tilt forward at the knees keeping your body upright and straight the whole time. Let your arms extend as far as they can.
4) Figure of 8 ball roll out
Roll your arms out like in the previous exercise, but rather than extending your arms in a straight line you are going to draw a figure of 8. Draw one half of the 8 and then the other half as you return to the start. Keep your back straight right through the movement.
5) Hamstring curl
Your feet should be in the centre of the ball to create the maximum amount of instability. Raise your hips of the floor, and then bend your knees as much as you can. Keep your hips elevated all through the exercise and keep your belly button pulled in.
6) Hamstring extension
Raise your bum off the floor as high as you can while pushing your feet down into the ball. Keep your hands on the floor as this will help you maintain balance. Squeeze your stomach once you raise your hips.
7) Jack knife and rotation
Your feet should be in the centre of the Swiss ball with lace part of your footwear in contact with the ball. Make sure your hands are flat on the floor shoulder width apart. Bend both your knees and hip to move your legs in a forward direction to the outside of your body. Return to the start position and alternate between rotating on both sides of the body.
8) Jack knife with press ups
Begin by having your feet in the centre of the Swiss ball with your laces down and flat on the ball. Shoulders should be wider then hip width. Bend your knees and hips to bring your knees directly under your hips without your bum going up into the air. Return your legs to a straightened position and then perform a push up by lowering your chest to the ground and then extend your arms to return to the start position.
9) Jack knife
The same start position as number 8, but without the push up. Make sure your back remains straight throughout the entire exercise.
10) Kneeling on ball
This exercise takes a lot of practice to learn. To begin with you must be able to balance on your knee with 2 hands on the ball for 30 seconds. The next progression is one hand on the ball for 30 seconds. Once you have mastered this you can attempt to kneel on the ball with no hands.
11) Stand on ball
Make sure you can kneel on the ball before attempting this exercise. Place one leg on the ball with both your hands on the ball to keep it steady. Quickly place your other leg on the outside of the ball and quickly stand.
12) Oblique curl
Spread your feet as wide as you can on against a wall. Place your hips and side of your trunk on the ball with your head and arms below the height of the ball. Curl your body in a sideways motion as high as you can. Make sure there is no forward or backwards bend and that there is no twisting. Lower yourself back to the start position.
13) One arm ball roll out
The same start position as exercise number 3 the ball roll out but with one arm on the ball. As you roll forward and extend your arm ensure that your body does not twist in either direction and that you do not bend excessively at the hip.
Have the laces of your feet on the ball with hands on the floor. Bend your hips, but keep your knees as straight as you can. As your feet get closer to your body your feet will move from having your laces on the ball to your toes being on the ball.
15) Plank with arms on the ball
Place your forearms in the middle of the Swiss ball with your body fully elongated and hold. Make sure your hips do not start to drop.
16) Plank with feet on
Hands on the floor shoulder width apart and place your feet on the ball with your laces down. Hold this position without your hips dropping.
17) Plank with toes on (one foot)
Like the previous exercise but with one foot on the ball. Also, instead of having your laces on the ball you will be on your toes.
18) Plank with toes on
This exercise almost duplicates the starting position of plank with feet on, but your toes are in the centre of the ball instead of your laces.
19) Press ups with hands on
Place both your hands in the centre of the ball with your feet on the ball. Lower your chest towards the ball by bending your arms and then extend your arms to revert to the start position.
20) Press ups with feet on
The exact same start position as plank with feet on. From your start position bend your arms until your chest touches the floor and then fully extend your arms to end the movement. Keep your hips level with spine and ankles always.
21) Press ups with one foot on
The start position is identical to plank with one foot on, only now you are adding a press up in. Your chest will be lowered towards the floor as your arms bend. Make sure you keep the leg that is off the ball in the same position as all times.
22) Press ups with toes on
This is very similar to the previous exercise. The only difference is that you will have both of your feet on the ball.
23) Russian twist
Lie on the Swiss ball with the upper part of your back in contact with the Swiss ball. Extend your arms so that they are above your chest. Have your feet shoulder width apart with your feet elevated. Roll your upper back along the Swiss ball till your body twists and the side of your shoulder is in contact with the ball. Try to make sure your hips are elevated all the way through this motion. Reverse the motion so that you rotate in the other direction.
24) Single leg jack knife
This exercise looks like the jack knife exercise, but you only have one foot on the ball. The foot that is off the ball will do the opposite to the foot on the ball. For instance, when the foot on the ball bends, the other leg straightens and vice versa.
25) Standing ball roll out.
Start with your body full elongated with your feet on the floor. Start with the Swiss ball under your head and both hands on the ball. Extend your arms forward and keep your body as upright as possible. Do not allow your hips to drop or move upwards during the movement.
26) Single leg hamstring curl
Same points as for exercise number 5, hamstring curl but perform this exercise with one leg. The leg that is off the ball must be extended throughout the exercise.
27) Triceps dips feet on
Place the heels of your feet o the ball. Place your hands on the bench and keep your back as close to the bench as you can. Bend your arms to 90 degrees and lower your body towards the floor. Extend your arms until they are straight again to complete the exercise.
28) Triceps dips hands on
Start with your hands in the middle of the Swiss ball with your hands shoulder width apart. Have your feet flat on the floor with your knees bent at 90 degrees. Lowe your bum towards the floor by bending your arms until your arms are at 90 degrees. Extend your arms until they are straight. Keep your back close to the swiss ball during the exercise.