How to Use: Exercise Balls

From your chest to your glutes, we'll give you a full body burn.

push up

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Sure, you know how to use treadmills and hand weights. But what about all the other equipment in your gym? In this series, we’ll cut the intimidation factor and give you new tools for getting your best workout.

Exercise Balls

You went to the gym and knocked out dozens of pushups and situps. You probably think you crushed the workout, right? Maybe so, but we’re here to make your gym routine even harder.

Enter: exercise balls, also called stabilization balls. Using one of these babies adds an unsteady surface, forcing you to work your muscles—especially your core—a little bit more.

You can add an exercise ball to many of your favorite moves, as long as you’re not standing on one. To stay safe, progress slowly from a stable surface to an unstable one. If you are a beginner, master moves off the ball first.

Here’s how to use exercise balls to get a full-body workout:

Exercise Ball Pushup

Start on hands and knees. Place your feet on the stabilization ball, with hands and knees still on the ground. Lift your body so your feet and ankles are on the ball, with hands directly below shoulders.

To maintain a neutral neck and spine, keep your gaze between your hands. Slowly push down and come back up, maintaining a tight core. That’s one rep.

Repeat five to seven more times, for a total of six to eight reps. Do three sets.

Exercise Ball Cobra

Start on your stomach. Place the ball between your feet and keep your arms by your sides, palms down, fingers facing your feet.

Squeeze the ball between your legs, working your inner thighs. Using your lower back and glute muscles, move your lower body up, then lower back down for one rep.

Repeat nine to 11 more times, for a total of 10 to 12 reps. Do three sets.

Exercise Ball Hamstring Curl

Lie on your back with your calves on top of the ball. Using your glutes, legs, and core, lift yourself up so that your back is off the ground, in a bridge position.

Contract your knees and move the ball as close to your body as possible, using your hamstrings. Roll the ball back to the original position for one rep.

Repeat 9 to 11 more times, for a total of 10 to 12 reps. Do three sets.

Exercise Ball V-Sit

Lie on your back and place the ball between your feet. Contract your abs and sit up toward your legs, creating a V shape with your body.

Grab the ball from between your feet and lower back down to starting position. The ball should now be above your head. That’s one rep.

Repeat 11 more times for a total of 12 reps. Do three sets.