Exercise Balls: Quick Tips For Beginners

Posted in Fitness by quadriceps on March 26, 2010
Tags: , ,

Exercise balls (sometimes called Swiss balls) are those large, pliant rubber balls that have gained favor in recent years among fitness addicts who are looking for a quality core workout. I’m sure you’ve seen them, but do you know how to use one during your exercise sessions?

To get a good core workout, you need to strengthen the musculature of your abdominals and lower back. That goes without saying. But it’s also beneficial to work on your balance and stability. Exercise balls give you a simple way to get these two major benefits.

Here are some simple exercises that are well suited to use with an exercise ball:

Back Extensions

Exercise ball back extensions

Using the exercise ball to perform the back extension exercise.

Just stick the ball under your hips (in front of your center of gravity, so your feet remain on the ground), and keep your hands behind your head for added intensity. Then, with your spine aligned, bring your upper body off the exercise ball until your spine is straight. It is best to avoid hyperextending your lower back. Keep to a rep range of 10-20 reps.

Buttocks Lift

Buttocks lift on the exercise ball.

Buttocks lifts on a Swiss ball

This is a great exercise for the hip flexors. With your upper back on the ball and your feet on the floor, just left your hips up until your back is straight, then allow them to dip down again. You can increase the intensity of this exercise by holding a weight across your hips.

When you first work with this exercise, it will deliver good results for you. But soon, you’ll get stronger and more fit. When you do, you should move on to the next movement, the hip extension.

Hip Extensions

Hip extensions on the exercise ball.

Hip Extensions on the exercise ball.

Similar to the buttocks lift mentioned earlier, this exercise works the hip flexors. It is harder than the previous exercise, so only start with this move once you feel like you’re getting in shape.


Rollouts on the exercise ball.


This is similar to using an exercise wheel, but nowhere near as intense. With the arms on the exercise ball, you want to pull your core towards the ball, all the while keeping your back straight.

This is a fantastic core movement, but you may find it difficult to perform unless you are in decent shape. A good way to improve your core fitness to the point where you can do rollouts is to start with static contraction moves. This move is similar to the plank from Yoga.


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