Basic Exercise Ball Workouts and Stretches

A heart-healthy exercise program can include an exercise ball for stretching. To get the maximum benefit out of this piece of equipment, you need to be able to use it properly.

Good posture is important when sitting on the exercise ball.

Ideally, your back should be straight and your feet should be flat on the floor.

Position yourself as if you were on a straight-backed chair.

Leaning forward too far forward or back is not going to help you improve your balance or your core muscle strength.

Stretching While Sitting on the Exercise Ball

A simple stretch you can do once you get in the right position on the exercise ball is to move your hips gently from side to side. Pause for a second or two when you get to the end of the motion so that you can feel a gentle stretch. Alternate hips and repeat 8-10 times.

This hip stretch can also be performed in a front to back motion. To start, put your hands on your knees and rotate your hips forward by tucking them under your pelvis. Then push your hips out behind your pelvis. Only your hips should move; make sure that you are not moving your chest or knees.

Tabletop Position

A basic position you can perform with the exercise ball is the neutral or tabletop position. To start, position yourself with the ball under your abdomen and your arms extended down to the floor. Slowly move forward until the exercise ball is positioned underneath your knees or your shins. Your glutes and abs should be tight.

If your muscles are tightened properly, your spine should be held straight. You don’t want to arch your back or sag down when you are in the tabletop position.

Marching Exercise

This exercise is recommended for beginners; you can use a slightly-deflated exercise ball if it’s easier to keep your balance. Sit up straight on the exercise ball and lift the heel of one foot off the floor. From there, lift your toes up. Eventually, you will be lifting the entire foot off the floor. This exercise works your abdominal muscles.

Exercise Ball Squat

Stand up with your feet about shoulder width apart. Put the exercise ball on the wall in line with your lower back. Turn your face away from the ball and push against it with your back. Move your feet out so that they are slightly in front of your hips. Bend your knees slightly, come down into a squatting position for one or two seconds and then move back up. Repeat 10-12 times.

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