Rehabilitation & Recovery

6 Best Gym Ball Exercises For Improved Balance & Stability

ball exercises

The great thing I find about stability ball exercises is that they can be done pretty much anywhere, whether that’s in your local gym or at home.  

This small, cost-effective piece of equipment isn’t just for working the abdominal muscles, there’s a range of movements you can perform making them very versatile and a worthwhile addition as part of your workouts.  

In this article, I’m going to provide a breakdown of full-body exercises that I regularly perform when using an exercise ball.  When done correctly and on a regular basis, they can help to increase strength, whilst improving stability and mobility to your joints.  

exercise ball

Recommended Reading – 7 Ab Bench Exercises To Destroy Your Core Muscles

When your joints can move through a wide range of motion with ease, this can improve your quality of life by making certain activities easier to do.  

However, if your goal is to add muscle mass, there are more effective ways than using an exercise ball.  Resistance based strength training is far more efficient for muscle hypertrophy.  

What Size Exercise Ball Do I Need?

A stability ball can go by several different names including an exercise ball, swiss ball, balance ball or a gym ball.  They do come in varying sizes and it’s important to choose the correct size stability ball based on your height.  The right size ball will allow you to perform the movements with a full range of motion

exercise ball size

Below is a guide to help out:  

Keep in mind that the below dimensions are based on a suitable size ball for exercising and not for when using your ball as a seat or as a birthing aid for expectant mums.  

Exercise Ball Size (circumference)Max User Height (Centimeters)Max User Height (Feet & Inches)
45cm152cm and under5’0” and under
55cm155cm to 167cm5’1” to 5’5”
65cm170cm to 183cm5’6” to 6’0”
75cm186cm to 195cm6’1” – 6’4”
85cm198cm and above6’5” and above

You’ll notice that they often come in a range of colours.  These colours aren’t indicative of anything specific, unlike resistance bands, and it’s more to do with personal preference.  Different brands may offer different sizes but the above tend to be the most common available.  

Suggested Products

balance ball

A balance ball is a great tool for a range of workouts ranging from warm ups and workouts to physiotherapy and rehabilitation.

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Suggested Ball Exercises

Transverse Abdominal Ball Crunch

This exercise will really work the abdominals including the transverse abdominis muscles making this a great exercise for building a strong core.  Your stabiliser muscles will engage to help steady you throughout the movement.

ab core strength

How To Perform The Abdominal Ball Crunch:

  1. Begin by sitting on your stability ball with feet flat on the ground.  
  2. Then roll yourself forwards lowering your torso so that your back is now fully supported by the ball. This will be your starting position.  
  3. Inhale and slightly raise your torso from the ball.  You won’t need to rise too much before you’ve fully flexed your abs. 
  4. Exhale at the top of the movement. 
  5. Inhale again as you lower back down to the start. 
  6. Repeat this exercise for 10 to 12 repetitions. 

Swiss Ball Leg Curl 

The double leg roll out will help to work the core muscles, hamstrings and glutes.  Make sure you do this movement with a full range of motion and straighten out your entire body at the bottom of the exercise and don’t allow your hips to drop.

lower body swiss ball leg curl

How To Perform The Swiss Ball Leg Curl:

  1. Place your ball on the end of an exercise mat.  
  2. Lie down on the mat, keeping your arms down by your sides and place your feet on top of the ball.  
  3. Your feet should be resting on their heels with toes pointing towards the ceiling. 
  4. Engage your glutes and core muscles and raise your hips up off the ground.  Your body should form a straight line from your neck to your heels.  This is your start position. 
  5. Begin to draw your feet towards you so that the ball moves towards your glutes.  Get as close to your glutes as possible. 
  6. Slowly roll the ball back to the start before repeating.

Ab Ball Pass

The ab ball pass is another core stability exercise that will help to strengthen your hip flexors.  With proper form, it will also improve flexibility to your lower back muscles.

stability ball exercises

How To Perform The Ab Ball Pass:

  1. Lie down on your exercise mat and keep your legs out extended.  
  2. Take hold of your exercise ball with both hands and position your arms straight and overhead. 
  3. Simultaneously, and keeping them straight, raise your legs and arms up towards the ceiling in a scissor like motion.
  4. Pass the ball from your hands to your feet and then lower both your arms and legs back down. 
  5. Continue this movement by passing the ball between your hands and feet.  

Ball Decline Push Up

The decline push up using a stability ball is a great way of working the muscles of the upper body, especially your chest, shoulders, and triceps.  


It’s an advanced move but is worth the effort to improve muscle endurance.  If this if your first time doing this exercise, it’s a good idea to get comfortable doing regular push ups before progressing to this movement.  

How To Perform A Ball Decline Push Up:

  1. Start by adopting the high plank position with your feet resting on the ball. 
  2. Your arms should be out straight with your hands directly underneath your shoulders.  
  3. Keeping your elbows tucked into your body, lower your chest down towards the ground.  
  4. Be sure to keep your spine in a neutral position and aim to get as low as possible. 
  5. Then push through your palms back up to start position and repeat. 

Stability Ball Hip Thrusts

The ball hip thrust exercise will work your glutes as you flex and extend your hips.  Improving strength to your glutes and hip flexors will help to better support your pelvis.  

top of the ball

How To Perform A Stability Ball Hip Thrust:

  1. Take a seat on your ball and then walk out until your shoulders are resting on the ball. 
  2. Your body should form a straight line from head to knees with your knees directly above your feet. 
  3. Support your head by either resting it on the ball or using your hands.  
  4. Lower your hips towards the ground by just flexing at the hip joint.
  5. Squeeze your glutes and press them back up to the straight position and then repeat. 

Swiss Ball Y Raise

The Y raise is a simple but effective targeting the upper back, rear shoulders, and traps.  You can make this movement a little more challenging by hold a weight in each hand. 

How To Perform The Swiss Ball Y Raise:

  1. Position yourself on the ball by resting your lower chest and abs on the ball.  Keep your upper chest and head up. 
  2. Ensure your legs are extended out behind you with feet resting on their toes.  
  3. Start with arms just out in front of you. 
  4. From here, raise both arms up and out so that at the top of the movement they form the letter Y.
  5. Squeeze your shoulder blades at the top of the exercise before lowering back down.

Modified DeadBug

The dead bug exercise will work your entire core along with your pelvic floor and erector spinae.  If you find this exercise a little difficult to begin with, you can start by simply moving the legs but maintain position of your arms. 

How To Perform A Modified Deadbug:

  1. Begin by lying down on your mat with knees bent and feet at shoulder width apart. 
  2. Position the ball so that its resting on your knees and upper legs.  Hold it here with both hands. 
  3. Raise your feet off the ground until your lower legs are parallel to the floor. Keeping holding the ball in place. 
  4. From this starting point, begin to extend out your right leg.  
  5. Simultaneously take your left arm behind you and overhead.  
  6. Together, bring your right leg and left arm back to the start and then repeat but switching to the left leg and right arm.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Does An Exercise Ball Help You Lose Belly Fat?

No, using an exercise ball will not reduce fat around your tummy or help with weight loss.  

Swiss ball exercises can certainly improve core strength, but the only way to get rid of stubborn belly fat is to perform either steady state cardio or high intensity interval training (HIIT) along with reducing your caloric intake.  This is the only sure-fire way of getting your abs to pop. 

Difference Between A Bosu vs Stability Ball

The bosu is essentially an exercise ball cut in half with a solid plastic base.  Whilst a bosu can be great for certain exercises promoting balance and ankle mobility, they’re not as versatile as a stability ball.  

Bosu stands for ‘both sides up’ meaning you can make use of it on either side allowing you to perform exercises such as body weight squats.  Again, this piece of equipment isn’t designed for vast muscle or strength gains but rather to improve balance by activating certain joints and improving mobility and flexibility. 


I’ve found that when executed with good form, the above exercises can offer an effective full-body workout helping you to increase your strength and improve mobility and stability.  

In conjunction with other strength-based workouts using weights, you can increase lean muscle mass helping to support your joints.  

If you’re new to stability ball workouts, you can seek the advice from a personal trainer to make sure you’re doing the exercises properly and with full range of motion.  

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