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Stability Ball Exercise

Round Out Your Workouts with a Stability Ball

By Ian Cohen
From the Million Dollar Body Club - Join Today and Workout to Win!

Stability Ball

If Christopher Columbus had tried to sculpt and strengthen his body back in the day, you'd better believe he wouldn't have used some FLAT old bench during his workouts. Unfortunately, historians have seemed more interested in chronicling his travel exploits than his training methods, so we'll never really know if the man who discovered the world was round also discovered the roundness of fitness apparatus. And while there is no evidence that Chris ever attempted to balance his behind on an inflated ball while fine-tuning his washboard abs, there is proof that a globular training tool can work wonders for your entire body.

Stability Ball CrunchThe stability ball (or Swiss ball as it is commonly called) is rolling into more and more workout spaces, and bringing some much-needed shape to our typically flat routines. Aside from providing a fun, new approach to fitness, this plump piece of equipment presents the perfect platform for strengthening all your muscles, especially the all-important core. What was once performed strictly on a level surface can now be done on something more cylindrical, thanks to the advent of this unique training device. As a matter of fact, the stability ball can be used to perform such exercise favorites as curls, flys, back extensions, dips, presses, crunches, and even squats. The truth is, if you can do it on a bench or the floor, you can do it on a stability ball. But before you end up sailing headfirst through your living room wall, be sure to follow the specific instructions set forth by Beachbody's director of fitness and certified personal trainer, Steve Edwards.

Stability Ball Crunch Position 2"The reason it's called a stability ball is because the added energy you need to balance on the ball requires the use of smaller stabilizer muscles that are often not engaged during your workout," says Edwards. "While the benefits are great, this does require you pay closer attention to what you are doing. Always use a weight that you can easily control. And don't get caught up in the desire to heft large amounts of iron. These movements are all about control. It's not about excessive muscle growth, but balanced muscle growth."

Stability ball benefits:

  • Better balance
  • Stronger core muscles
  • A tighter midsection
  • Greater flexibility
  • Leaner muscle mass
  • Enhanced coordination
  • Improved posture
  • An extra chair
5 Ways to Use Your Stability Ball
Stability Ball Dumbbell PressImportant
: Never attempt to stand on a stability ball. When using dumbbells during an exercise on the stability ball, be sure to start off with much lighter weight than you would normally use on a flat surface. Your primary focus should be maintaining your balance on the ball. Once you're confident with your balance, you can gradually increase the dumbbell weight. Keep in mind, you will most likely never be able to lift as much weight as you can on a flat surface; however, you will enhance your overall performance by developing stronger and more powerful core and stabilizer muscles.
  1. Back Extensions (Focus: lower back no weights) Place your belly on the ball, legs extended straight out with toes on the floor. Clasp hands behind your head and allow body to drop "into" the ball. In a slow, controlled motion, raise your upper body until you create a slight arch in your back. Return to starting position and repeat.

  2. Dumbbell Press (Focus: chest using dumbbells) Lie with your midback on the ball, legs bent at the knees, and feet firmly on the floor. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, slightly above shoulder level. Press dumbbells straight up toward the ceiling. Slowly lower dumbbells back to the starting position and repeat.

  3. Wall Squat (Focus: legs no weights) Place the ball between your lower back and a wall, keeping feet hip-width apart. With arms dangling at sides, slowly lower body and squat into seated position. Stop when your knees are bent 90 degrees. Proceed to raise your body back up in a controlled manner.

  4. Curls (Focus: biceps using dumbbells) Sit straight up on the ball with a dumbbell in each hand. Maintain your balance and keep elbows in as you curl both arms simultaneously. Lower in a controlled manner until arms are straight down at sides.

  5. Crunches (Focus: stomach no weights) Lie so entire back is resting on the ball. Keep knees bent 90 degrees and feet flat on the floor. Lock hands behind head and proceed to bring chest towards your pelvis, until your upper back is off the ball. Slowly return to starting position and repeat.

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RICHARD DAFTER

I am a full time Beachbody Coach. I motivate and guide close to 2,500 Club members and head a team of 11 Beachbody Coaches who are all committed to helping you reach your goals. Before joining BeachBody, I was a certified personal trainer for more than a dozen years and have been a running coach for over 20 years. Continued...

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