Improve Your Balance on the Ball

There is no better way to improve your balance than by balancing on an unstable surface. With a stability ball—arguably one of the most versatile props—your core muscles are forced to activate, no matter what movement the exercise involves. Here are five of my favorites that can be practiced in the comfort of your own home. In addition to strengthening your core abdominals, these exercises also target muscles in the upper body, lower back, and legs.

One Arm Balance

To Start: Lie with your stomach on the Ball and both hands on the floor. Walk your hands forward until your hips are resting on top of the Ball. Extend both legs behind you, keeping your body in a long, straight line from head to toe.

Movement: Lift one hand off the floor and extend your arm straight forward. Try to hold your balance for at least 10 seconds. Repeat about 10 times, alternating sides.

Skier

To Start: Lie with your stomach on the Ball and both hands on the floor. Walk your hands forward until your mid-thighs or knees are resting on the Ball. You should be in a long, straight line from head to toe.

Movement: Tuck your knees toward one shoulder, rolling the Ball forward on a diagonal. Keep your shoulders still and let your torso twist at the waist. From there, straighten your legs, rolling the Ball back to the starting position. Repeat about 10 times, alternating sides.

Twist

To Start: Lie with your stomach on the Ball and both hands on the floor. Walk your hands forward until your mid-thighs or knees are resting on the Ball. You should be in a long, straight line from head to toe.

Movement: Twist your body at the waist, so that your hips are square to the side. Keep your shoulders still and your legs straight. From there, roll back to the starting position. Repeat about 10 times, alternating sides.

Side Leg Lifts

To Start: Lie sideways over the Ball with your legs together, so that only your feet and one hand are on the floor. Place your other hand on the Ball to help keep it still.

Movement: Keeping both legs straight and in a parallel position, lift and lower your top leg. Repeat, about 10 reps per side.

Side Sit-Ups

To Start: Lie sideways over the Ball with your feet supported against the base of a wall. Only the side of your hip should be resting on the Ball, not your ribcage. Keep your knees and inner thighs together, with the bottom leg straight and the top leg bent (the top foot will be behind the bottom one). With your hands behind your head, lean out so that you are in a straight, diagonal line from head to feet.

Movement: Bend at your waist to raise your torso up to a vertical position, then lower back to the diagonal. Keep your hips still, so that the hinge happens at the waist. Repeat, about 10 reps per side.

If you suffer from an injury or other health condition, or have any questions regarding the suitability of stability ball training, please consult your doctor before attempting these exercises.

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