Stability Ball Exercises That Don’t Suck Pt.2
Last week we looked at why a stability ball could add some serious value to your training program. We also looked at how you should be using the stability ball in order to get the most out of it, what to avoid, how to choose the right size for you, and what exercises you should be able to do (comfortably) before using a stability ball.
If you haven’t read that blog yet, you can do so by click on this writing here.
So, now that you’ve mastered the basics of core training, and you’re ready for a new challenge – lets dive into some stability exercises that don’t suck! Today we’ll be looking at three fantastic exercises that will challenge your upper and lower body, while you’re forced to stabilize the spine while the limbs are moving – intermediate/advanced core training.
1.) The Stability Ball Roll Out
The stability ball roll out is a great exercise for challenging the front line of the body, developing the ability to resist extension in the spine (bending over backwards). It’s a great one for runners, swimmers, or anyone who just wants a more stable and efficient core.
- Begin on all fours, with your elbows bent at 90 degrees on the ball in front of you
- Breath out, draw the navel slightly towards the spine activating the inner core musculature. Push the elbows down into the ball, activating the lats and shoulders.
- Keep the spine “neutral” from the back of the head to the tail bone … essential don’t round the spine or allow it to sag at all during the entire movement!
- Extend the hips by pushing the knees back and the pelvis forward, and extend the arms by straightening the elbows … do this at the same time. The hips and elbows should move together.
- Move only as far as you can while maintaining neutral spine (no spinal movement) and core engagement
- Pause for a moment, and reverse the movement
- Be sure to maintain breathing during the movement
2.) Stability Ball Hamstring Curl
If you’re looking for a very unique way to challenge your core stability, while training the lower body and posterior chain (back side) of the body – then look no further. The stability ball hamstring curl is a fantastic exercise for training the bodies ability to resist extension and rotation in the spine, while developing the hamstrings, glutes, and spinal muscles.
- Laying on your back, place your heels on the stability ball with your knees bent at around 90 degrees.
- Press the backs of your arms/elbows into the ground, breath out, draw the navel to your spine and engage your inner core. Press the heels into the ball, and perform a “glute bridge” pressing the hips the to the sky
- Keep your elbows pressing into the ground and your core engaged, as you slowly begin to extend the knees and allow the ball to roll away from you
- Only extend the knees and legs as far as you have control. Do not allow the spine to extend or bend, and do not allow the core to relax
- Reverse the movement and curl the ball back in towards you, maintain the heel pressure downward into the ball. Your pelvis and hips will rise up as you curl the ball back in towards your body.
3.) Stability Ball Pike
This exercise is a great way to compliment the stability ball hamstring curl, as they’re almost mirror opposites … almost. While the stability ball hamstring curl is primarily training the back side of the body (glutes, hamstrings, spine erectors), the stability ball pike is focused on the front side of the body (quads, hip flexors, abdominals). It’s important to train all sides of the body in order to avoid muscle imbalances, help promote a more balanced posture, and improved movement.
- Begin in the push up position with your feet resting on the ball behind you. If you want to make the exercise easier, simply rest the shins on the ball instead of the feet.
- Push down into the ground (engaging your lats and shoulders), draw the navel in and engage your deep core muscles, and keep the spine long/neutral from the back of the head to the tail bone
- While maintaining neutral spine and core engagement, begin to draw the knees to towards the stomach … DO NOT allow the bum to rise up into the air too much, attempt to keep the spine flat from back of the head to tail bone during the movement
- Only pull the knees up as far as you can with control, and without losing core engagement or neutral spine
- Reverse the movement
So there you have it, 3 fantastic stability ball exercise that will not only help you develop a more stable core, but also improve your body awareness, movement, posture, and physique. Try adding them into your existing workouts, or as a stand alone workout when you’re short on time.
Be sure to take it slow, and don’t do anything your uncomfortable with. If you’re new to stability ball training, it’s important that you learn how to do it correctly. If you have any questions or need help, ask one of our awesome Wynn Fitness Personal Trainers – they’ll be more than happy to help you.