Body Ball Workout Exercises

While the body ball–also known as an exercise ball, fitness ball or stability ball–is designed to provide an intense workout for your core muscles by introducing an element of instability to your workouts, you can also use it creatively to exercise any major muscle group in your body.

Wall Squats for Legs

Brace a body ball against the wall and lean back against it; the ball should be centered behind and slightly above your hips. Place your feet hip-width apart, 6 to 12 inches in front of your body, toes pointing straight ahead.

Keep your weight centered on your heels as you slowly squat down, focusing on thrusting your hips back beneath the ball. The ball will roll down the wall with you and end up centered on your middle back as you sink into a full squatting position, as if you were sitting in a chair. Your legs and hips should both be bent at a 90-degree angle, and your knees and toes should both point in the same direction; adjust your toes slightly outward, if need be, to achieve this.

Squeeze your gluteal muscles to help bring your hips back underneath your body as you stand up, slowly rolling the ball back up the wall.

Shoulder Stabilization for Back

Drape yourself, stomach down, over a stability ball. Walk your legs back behind you until they’re extended straight, balancing yourself on the ball with your toes, feet placed hip-width apart.

Contract your abdominal and back muscles to bring your body into a straight line from heels to head. Raise your arms straight over your head so that they form a straight line with your body, thumbs pointed up toward the ceiling. Focus on maintaining this body position as you lift one left slightly off the ground. Hold for at least three breaths, then switch legs and hold for another three breaths.

Dumbbell Press for Chest

Sit down on a body ball, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Slowly walk your feet forward, leaning back on the ball as you go, until the ball is resting beneath your shoulders, head and upper back. Your knees should be bent at a 90-degree angle, and you’ll need to squeeze your abdominal muscles to help keep your body in a straight line from knees to shoulders. Place your feet hip-width apart.

Keep the dumbbells close to your body as you lay back; once you’re stable, press the dumbbells up so that they’re both directly over your chest; your arms should be straight but not locked at the elbow. This is the starting position. Inhale as you slowly bend your elbows, lowering the dumbbells down and out. Stop when your elbows are level with your shoulders; the dumbbells should be positioned directly above your bent elbows. Exhale as you press the dumbbells back up and in to the starting position.

About this Author

Marie Mulrooney has written professionally since 2001. Her diverse background includes numerous outdoor pursuits, personal training and linguistics. She studied mathematics at the University of Alaska Anchorage and contributes regularly to such websites as eHow, Garden Guides, LiveSTRONG and Trails.com. Print publication credits include national magazines, poetry awards and long-lived columns about local outdoor adventures.