Fit Check: Stability Ball

Strengthen and tone your entire body on a stability ball. Verve’s Michael Lin shows us how.

Bouncy balls aren’t just for kids anymore. The stability ball, also known as the Swiss ball, is a favorite fitness tool among trainers and exercise enthusiasts looking to improve balance and core strength.

Michael Lin, co-owner of Verve Health & Fitness in Arlington, offers this seven-step, full-body workout using just the Swiss ball. A video and instructions are below.

Exercises 1, 2, and 3: The B.L.T. (Bridges, Leg Curls, Thrusts)
Muscle area: Hamstrings, calves, core, glutes
Reps: Two to three sets of 10 to 20

On a flat surface, lie on your back with legs extended and arms flat on the floor. Your hands should be about six inches from your body. Place your heels on top of the ball, then raise your hips off the floor. Keep your shoulders down during the exercise. Repeat.

Leg Curls
With your hips lifted, go straight into the leg curls. Bring your heels toward your body, so the ball rolls toward you. Keep your core stable and tight during this exercise. Roll the ball back out and repeat.

Walk the ball out a few more inches so the bottoms of your feet—rather than your heels—are flat on the ball. Bend your knees slightly and keep your hips elevated. Thrust your pelvis up and repeat.

Exercise 4: Standing Twist

Muscle area: Core and back
Reps: 10 to 20 each side or repeat for one minute

While standing, hold the ball to your chest with your arms wrapped around it. Twist your trunk side to side, keeping your core tight so you don’t over-rotate.

Exercise 5: Squat
Muscle area: Quads and gluts
Reps: 10 to 20

Hold the ball at waist height with your arms extended. Lower into a squat. Repeat.

Add some difficulty by raising the ball over your head as you squat, keeping your arms extended.

Exercise 6: Core Roll-Out
Muscle area: Core, hamstrings, back
Reps: 10 to 20

Sit on your knees, and place your hands, clasped, on top of the ball. Your arms should be extended.

Roll the ball out from your body as you lean forward, reaching your arms forward and extending your back. When the ball is rolled out, your back should be parallel to the floor. As you roll the ball back to your body and into starting position.

Exercise 7: Push Up
Muscle area: Arms, shoulders, core
Reps: 10 to 20

Place your hands on the sides of the ball, arms extended. Place your feet back so you’re on your toes and your body is at a 45-degree angle to the ground.

Go down into a push-up. Pop your chest off the ball as you raise yourself from the push-up. Repeat.

Be sure to keep your arms stable to avoid shaking and to increase stability and balance.

Subscribe to Washingtonian
Follow Well+Being on Twitter

More >> Health | Top Doctors | Well+Being Blog