What are the Different Fitness Ball Exercises?

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of ways to use a fitness ball to slim down, maintain a healthy weight, increase stamina, and build muscle. In most cases, fitness ball exercises are broken down according to the area of the body that they target or the muscle groups that they train. Some of the most common categories for fitness ball exercises include workouts that target the abdominal region, the legs, and the upper body. These categories may be broken down into fitness ball exercises that tone the thighs, buttocks, arms, and shoulders. In some cases, fitness ball exercises are organized according to exercises in which one is seated on the ball, exercises in which one is lying on the floor, and exercises in which one is standing.

A woman does pushups with her feet elevated on a fitness ball.
A woman does pushups with her feet elevated on a fitness ball.

Some of the most common fitness ball exercises have to do with the abdominal region. Many people use fitness balls to perform crunches and variations on this exercise in order to strengthen the muscles in their abdomens and tone the region in general. The most basic kind of crunch that can be performed on a fitness ball requires a person to sit on a fitness ball and maintain her balance by keeping both feet firmly on the floor. The crunches are performed when the person holds her hands behind her head and her elbows pointing away from her ears. She leans back, maintaining balance and engaging the abdominal muscles, and then returns to the basic seated position.

There are various other seated fitness ball exercises, but there are also plenty of fitness ball exercises in which one begins in a standing position. A person may use a fitness ball to perform wall squats. Instead of positioning oneself with the back against a wall, maintaining a seated position, one can make this a more active exercise with a fitness ball. Begin by facing away from a wall, holding a fitness ball between the middle of the back and the wall. While keeping pressure on the ball so that it rolls with the body, squat down into a seated position.

Many fitness ball exercises that require one to lie on the ground target the legs and buttocks. In one such exercise, a person lies on the ground with her calves resting on the top of the exercise ball. While continuing to grasp the ball with her calves, she rolls the ball slightly away from her body and raises her hips off the ground.

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for wiseGEEK, Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

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