If you have a stability ball, then we have six moves you need to try. This simple fitness prop makes classic exercises like crunches and push-ups much more effective, since keeping the ball stable forces you to work harder. And in this case, working harder is working smarter.
For really targeting your tush, an exercise ball can be a big help. If you're over your standard routine of squats and lunges, you're sure to find a favorite in the following three moves.
Lying Hamstring Curl
If working out your backside and your hamstrings at the same time sounds up your alley, it's time to try out this easy-to-follow lying hamstring curl.
- Start by lying flat on your back with an exercise ball under your heels. Bridge your hips up and hold that position through the entire exercise.
- Flex your feet and dig your heels into the ball. Place your arms straight out to your side for support — don't use them, though; they are just for support.
- Slowly roll the ball toward your body as you curl your heels. Keep your hips in the bridge position; don't thrust them toward the ceiling as you do the move.
- Then slowly return to the start position (straight legs, hips bridged) to complete one rep.
- Do three sets of 10-15.
Superman Booty Lifts
For a challenging variation on your standard Superman, the power of this Superman booty lift is all worth the extra effort.
- Lie on your belly and hold an exercise ball between your feet. Engage your abs and extend your arms straight out in front of you.
- As you inhale, squeeze the ball and lift your knees, arms, and chest off the floor. Hold for a count of 10 and then slowly release your body back to the floor.
- Repeat for a total of 10 lifts.
Keep reading for one more lift that will tighten up your bottom.
Doing crunches on the ball is one of the most effective ways to tone your core, but the basic move can get a little stale. Mix things up and work your abs harder with these challenging variations.
- Bring your legs together. The closer your legs are, the harder it is to stay balanced on the ball, which means the better the ab workout.
- Slow down the movement. Count 1-2-3 up, and 1-2-3 down.
- Add a little weight to your torso by holding a light dumbbell in your hands in front of your chest. This will provide added resistance and further challenge your abs.
- Roll the ball so it's just above your hips instead of under the upper or middle portion of your back — crunches are much harder in this position.
- Lower your torso all the way back into Wheel Pose in between crunches to make you abs work even harder.
- Add a twist to really target your obliques (love handles), touching your elbow to the opposite knee as you crunch up.
- Work your upper body at the same time. Place the ball under your shins while in plank position, and do a Knee-Tuck Crunch.
Doing crunches on an exercise ball is one of the most effective ways to work your core since the unstable surface forces your abs to work harder, but it's not the only way to a six-pack. If you're bored with that basic move, then mix things up and challenge your tummy muscles with these three moves that utilize a ball.
Balancing your forearms on a ball is an amazing workout for your core. The variation shown below involves placing your palms on the ball, standing with your feet wide, and your hips over your ankles. Then lean forward, allowing the ball to roll underneath your forearms. Use your core and legs to bring the ball back to the starting position. Complete three sets of 10 to 12 reps. For a more challenging variation, check out this video demonstrating the circling plank. Complete three sets.
This fun move not only works your core, but will also tone your inner thighs. Lie on your back holding an exercise ball above your chest, extending your feet up toward the ceiling. On an exhale, move your arms and legs away from each other, lowering both toward the ground. Inhale to bring them back toward each other, and transfer the ball from your hands to your legs. Then lower your arms and legs toward the floor away from each other. Bring them back together, transferring the ball back to your hands. Continue like this, completing 10 to 20 reps. Here's a video of this move in action.
Continue reading to learn how to do one more exercise using a ball.
For even the most casual of home-workout enthusiasts, an exercise ball is a fact of life — and of home decor. If you're going to regularly use one, you need to keep it inflated and in your living space. Stashing it in the garage or basement only discourages you from using it, but all too often these giant balls simply look inappropriate when paired with your decor. The good news is that even if it requires a little creativity, integrating an exercise ball into your decorating scheme is absolutely possible (and even pretty).
Take, for instance, this photo of actress Krysten Ritter's living room, featured a few years back on The Selby. Ritter's delightfully bohemian style blends a Rapson-lookalike webbed armchair with oversized art and a vintage printed sofa. Look closely though — tucked in the background against the wall is an exercise ball.
The exercise ball lends a realness to the room that reflects the actress's fashionable yet casual style. To make this look work in your home, use an exercise ball that doesn't clash dramatically with the rest of your decor. Find an unobtrusive resting spot for it in between home workouts and, most importantly, never apologize for its presence in your house.
Want to see another totally different approach? Keep clicking to discover another way to decorate with an exercise ball.
We spend so much time working our legs with squats and running, our arms with strength training, and abs with crunches, so we can't forget about our backs. Strengthening this part of the body is excellent for posture; it keeps the spine healthy and prevents injuries due to imbalances in muscles. Prone Leg Raises are an awesome exercise, but this one will work your upper back and truly challenge your core.
If you want to know how to do this move read more.