Ball Exercise Instructions for Strength and Balance

Ball Walks

Paige Waehner

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.

  1. Sit on the ball with the hands behind the head (harder) or resting on the ball, abs engaged.
  2. Slowly walk forward, rolling your torso down onto the ball.
  3. Continue walking the feet forward until you're in a tabletop position on the ball, head and neck supported and the hips lifted.
  4. Slowly walk back, coming all the way up to a seated position.
  5. Use a sticky mat or shoes with good traction to avoid slipping and hold onto a wall for balance if needed.
  6. Repeat for 1-3 sets of 10-15 reps.

Ball Circles

Paige Waehner

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.

  1. Sit on the ball and place the hands on the ball for balance or behind your head (more difficult).
  2. Slowly begin to roll the hips in a circle towards the right, making small circles and then, as you get comfortable, larger circles.
  3. Focus on contracting the abs each time you roll the ball forward and let the hips move while keeping the shoulders stable.
  4. Repeat for 20 circles to the right and then the left.

Plank Toe Taps on the Ball

Paige Waehner

If you're tired of the same old core exercises and you really want a challenge, this plank exercise fits the bill. By balancing on your toes on the ball, a very advanced move, you'll engage your core along with your arms and legs, making this a whole body movement. The toe tap challenges your core even more as well as your balance and stability. This exercise is tough and it's easy for the ball to get away from you. Practice this move on the floor or on a more stable platform (like a step) before trying this on a ball. You can also modify by staying on the tops of your feet rather than your toes.

  1. Get into a plank position, balancing with your toes on an exercise ball. It's easier to get into position if you begin with the tops of your feet resting on the ball. Once you feel stable, slowly prop your body up on your toes one foot at a time.
  2. Keeping your upper body as still as possible, lift the left leg off the ball and tap the toes to the floor.
  3. Bring your left foot back to the ball and repeat, tapping the right toes down.
  4. Continue alternating each side for 1-3 sets of 10-15 reps.

Side to Side Ball Rolls

Paige Waehner

Side to Side Ball Rolls are probably one of my favorite total body warm up exercises, especially for those days when you're just not feeling up to strenuous exercise. This exercise stretches the upper body while getting your lower body circulation moving, and you can make it was intense or as easy as you want.

  1. Stand with the feet wide, ball in front of you and the right hand on the ball.
  2. Bend the left knee into a side lunge, right leg straight as you roll the ball across the body to the left, stretching through the entire left side of the body.
  3. Straighten and come back to center.
  4. Switch hands on the ball and bend into a lunge to the right side, stretching and rolling the ball across and feeling a stretch in the right side of the body.
  5. Continue going side to side, adding intensity by lunging lower, stretching further and/or going faster as you feel more warmed up.
  6. Repeat for as 30-60 seconds or as long as you want.

Ball Squat and Roll

Paige Waehner

This Squat and Roll is a great warm up exercise and it's also perfect for when you need to work out the kinks in the back and the lower body. Squat low to engage the legs and really use the ball to stretch through either side of the back.

  1. Stand with feet hip-distance apart, both hands on the ball.
  2. Bend the knees as you roll the ball out, sending the hips behind you.
  3. Squat as low as you can and really stretch the ball out in front of you as far forward as you can for a good stretch.
  4. Stand up, roll the ball in and repeat for 30-60 seconds or as long as you want.

Seated Leg Extensions on the Ball

Paige Waehner

Seated leg extensions are great for the quads and adding a ball adds a level of stability that will engage all those tiny muscles of the connective tissue, making you stronger and more balanced. Take the hands behind the head as shown for a more advanced version.

  1. Sit on the ball with hands behind the head (harder) or hold onto a chair for balance if needed at first.
  2. Keeping the left foot on the floor, knees close together, straighten the right leg so that it's parallel to the floor.
  3. Try to keep the back straight and tall and the ball steady.
  4. Lower the foot and repeat for 16 reps before switching sides.
  5. Make it harder by adding ankle weights or a resistance band.

Seated March on the Ball

Ball March
Paige Waehner

Seated marches on the ball are great for challenging balance and stability while also engaging the core.

  1. Sit on the ball with the hands behind the head (optional).
  2. Keeping abs engaged lift one foot off the floor with the knee bent.
  3. Lower the foot and then lift the other foot.
  4. Continue alternating marching on each foot for 60 or more seconds.
  5. You can add a bounce for added intensity.