Stability balls are more than just fun to sit and bounce on. Also known as a balance ball, fitness ball, exercise ball or yoga swiss ball, this bouncy piece of equipment is a great way to improve your balance, strength and cardio endurance. Even by making some of the most basic moves like planks, squats, and push-ups on a stability ball your muscles will become stronger. They are also great for improving the healing process after an injury because they help you perform exercises that can reduce your spinal and muscle strain.
If you want to get the most out of it, you need to make sure you buy the right size of a yoga Swiss ball. They usually come in three main diameters – 55cm, 65cm and 75cm. To ensure you got the right diameter, check if your knees and hips are at right angles with the floor. The reps and sets you should perform will depend on your personal fitness level but for most of the following exercises, 3-5 sets of 10-20 reps is just enough. Here are some popular lower body exercises.
Overhead ball squat
A great way to use your legs and arms. For this exercise, position your body for a traditional squat and hold the stability ball with your arms extended over your head. Adding weight while keeping your upper body in an upright position engages the deltoid muscles and shoulders. Repeat this move for ten to fifteen times.
Standing ball squeeze
This is a great way to work your lower back, inner thighs, and the hips. Stand upright and place the Swiss ball between your legs. Make sure the ball is placed higher, so the center is knee-high. Once you are ready and feel comfortable, start squatting down until your knees form an angle of 90-degrees, squeeze the ball and keep your balance. Stay as long as possible in this specific position and make sure your sets last from 30 to 45 seconds per set.
Lie on the floor and extend your arms right next to your torso while your heels and lower calves are resting on the yoga ball. Engaging the abs and glutes, start lifting your hips up from the floor and use your arms for stability. Slowly bring your knees towards your heels and let your feet rest on the top of the ball. Pause for a few seconds and then straighten your legs again. To get the most out of this exercise, keep your hips up the whole time and make 10 to 12 reps.
Last, but not least, get ready to work out your booty. Your toes and fingertips should rest on the floor while your chest should be placed right on the ball. Try to roll forward so your hips will be touching the ball directly and your hands will be under your shoulders. While your core is fully engaged and your feet are placed together, try to lift your legs straight from the floor and bring them in the same line with your torso. Hold for a while and repeat. Do no more than 12 to 15 reps before you head back to the ground.