10 Best Stability Ball Exercises


Many of us have a stability ball at home, but we are unsure what to do with it. The stability ball can add variety and challenge to your workouts and challenge myself.

What Pilates ball exercises can you do? 10 of the best are Plank: knee tuck, roll in and out, hold, knee tap, forearm see-saw, bridge, hamstring curl, hip opener, v-legs curl up & catch and finally dead bug.

If you’re new to using a Pilates ball those titles may not mean anything to you, below we’ll dive in and take a closer look at how to do each. First let’s answer some common questions about the stability ball.

What size stability ball should I get?

Stability balls come in a range of sizes (and colours!), typically ranging from 55cm (21.6″) to 75cm (29.5″).  The size you get depends on your height, generally if you sit on the ball and your hips and knees are at a 90 degree angle with the floor you have the correct size.

HeightBall Size
5′ to 5’555cm / 21.6″
5’6 to 6’265cm / 25.5″
6’3+75cm / 29.5″

How firm should a Pilates ball be

When filling your ball with air don’t over fill it.  The ball should be filled enough to support you when you sit on it, but have a little give when you place your weight on it.  Imagine looking at yourself when you’re sat on the ball and you should see an indentation in the ball where you’re sat.  

What exercises can I do with a balance ball?

There are lots you can do, here are our favourite to give you a challenge via a range of motion. People of all abilities can try these, aim to do between 8 and 12 reps of each.  Remember to engage your core to stabilize, keep control of your breathing and maintain a neutral spine.  Always listen to your body and rest when you need to.

1. Plank: Knee Tuck

A simple move that helps strengthen your hamstrings while engaging your core.

  • Start in a plank position, but with your feet and lower legs resting on the exercise ball. 
  • Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. 
  • Pull your knees forward and tuck them under your body, then return to the starting position and repeat.

2. Forearm – See Saw

  • With knees on the ground place your upper arms on the ball.
  • Roll the ball away from your a little so you’re at an angle to the ground. 
  • From the starting position roll the ball forwards using your arms while remaining your upper body position.  Roll the ball back and repeat.

3. Plank: Roll in & Out

  • Setup in a plank position with upper body on the ball. 
  • Roll backwards until your feet are flat and you can raise yourself into a standing position. 
  • Reverse the motion to roll forward on the ball with your arms.

4. Plank: Hold

People have a love/hate relationship with the plank and this exercise will take your feelings to the next level. 

  • Get into a plank position on the ball and hold for 30 to 60 seconds.

5. Plank: Knee Tap

  • Rest your upper body on the ball with legs out straight. 
  • Bring your left need forwards to touch the ball, then extend back to the starting position.
  • Do the same with the right knee.

6. Bridge

  • Lie face up on your mat. 
  • Place your feet onto your ball, your bottom stays on the ground. 
  • Lift your pelvis off the ground and hold for a second, then slowly lower back to the mat.

7. Hamstring Curl

  • Set up in a bridge position with pelvis raised, roll the ball towards until your feet are as close to you as possible, then roll away and return to the starting position.

8. Hip Opener

  • Place the ball between your feet and bring towards your body using the soles of your feet, then push away.  

9. V Legs: Curl up & Catch

This is a tricky one and will take a bit of practice. 

  • On your back, form a V shape with your legs, hold the ball above your head and throw it towards your legs. 
  • Try to catch it between your legs, then return it back to the starting position.

10. Dead Bug

One to challenge not only your strength, but your co-ordination. 

  • Start on your back with the ball in the air, held by your hands and feet. 
  • Remove the left leg and right hand, lowering them to the ground, then return and lower the right leg and left hand. 
  • Your shoulder blades should be slightly raised from the ground, you should aim for a straight leg when holding and when lowering. 

Putting It all Together: Stability Ball Video

Now we’ve gone through the different exercises let’s put them together into a single routine.

What Pilates ball exercises can you do? Let us show you 10 of the best.

Donna Finnie

Donna loves to share her passion for Pilates with others. She is a fully qualified instructor who believes Pilates is for everyone, regardless of age, as it can truly help to increase strength, flexibility mobility and athletic performance.

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