The Best Fitness Ball Exercises

 

In a second, I’ll reveal some of the best fitness ball exercises. First though, there is something you should be aware of. If you use a fitness ball for your exercise program (and if you don’t, try it, a ball makes a great addition to a fitness program), be advised that fitness balls imported from China have been recalled due to possible bursting problems. The balls are sold under several different brands, including Bally Total Fitness, Everlast, Valeo and Body Fit. Hey, at least we don’t feed fitness balls to our dogs or kids! This is just the latest example of a Chinese-made product blowing up in our faces.

If you have a fitness ball that isn’t deflated, here are some of the best fitness ball exercises. Unlike a traditional bench, the ball requires you to do much more stabilizing, so you use all kinds of secondary core muscles that a standard bench leaves untested. That, and the additional balance required when using a ball, really serve to translate the fitness gained into more real-world improvements.

Great Fitness Ball Exercises –

Use the fitness ball bench press for great upper body development.

Use the fitness ball bench press for great upper body development.

Fitness Ball Bench Press – You can do these just as you would with a bar or traditional dumbbells, but using the ball in lieu of a bench. You’ll get the aforementioned advantages of increased secondary muscle involvement, but you’ll also  be able to vary the angle at will. For example, you can do a rep flat, then immediately switch to a more inclined position on the next rep by simply sliding your body backwards a few inches or so and changing your weight distribution. Try that with a standard weight bench!

What it works: Strongly stresses the pectoral muscles of the chest, the deltoid group in the shoulders, and the triceps at the back of the upper arms. You’ll also feel a burn in your abs a bit.

Seated Wall Roll – Sit with your back facing the wall, and the ball between the wall and your back. Stand up, allowing the ball to roll up the wall. For all subsequent reps, don’t go all the way to the floor. Only lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Pause for 1 second in the down position, then raise up.

What it works: You’ll feel it burn the heck out of your gluteals (butt), quadraceps, and hamstrings. If you’re really into it, for some extra intensity try holding a dumbbell while doing this.

Use your fitness ball to get your lower back into shape with trunk raises.

Use your fitness ball to get your lower back into shape with trunk raises.

Trunk Raises – These will really help strengthen your lower back and core. Lie face down on top of the ball, with the ball at about your hips. Interlock your fingers behind your head and point your elbows out, like you were about to get searched by one of your community’s finest. Keeping your upper body straight and bending only at the hips, slowly lower your head until it touches the ground. After it does, raise your head until it is above the level of your back. Make sure you concentrate on feeling your lower back muscles contract as you pull yourself up. Don’t jerk your body; raise it and feel the lower back muscles work.

Reverse Crunch –  Set up like you’re doing a push up. The fitness ball should be supporting your midsection, and your arms should be holding up your torso. Pull your knees in towards your chest, using your abdominal muscles to curl up your abs, until your feet hit the ball.

What it works: You’ll get a great burn in your upper body and core section.

These four fitness ball exercises will do a great job of burning fat and strengthening the major muscles groups and your core. It won’t take long for you to notice the difference. If you’re already involved in strength training with weights, try sprinkling in a few of these to spice things up and blast you past any plateaus.