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10 Ways to Add an Exercise Ball to Your Workout
This push-up variation will have your arms feeling like jelly in seconds, in the good way.
Targets shoulders, chest, triceps, and abs
- Start on floor in a modified push-up position, hands under shoulders, knees on floor, and feet crossed. Place ball under palm of right hand.
- Bend left elbow to lower body a few inches from floor. Keep right arm straight while gently pushing through right palm, right arm sliding over ball until ball reaches elbow. Keep back straight and hips facing floor.
- Press back up with left hand and roll ball back down right arm to return to start position.
- Do 30 reps; switch sides and repeat.
- MAKE IT EASIER: Lower body only halfway down or use a folded towel instead of a ball.
Don't be fooled: This exercise looks like you're taking it easy—but using your heels to hold an exercise ball in place, while contracting your glutes and abs as you raise your hips will totally reshape your rear (and have you ready for a nap after!).
Targets back, hips, butt, hamstrings, and inner thighs
- Lie facedown with legs extended behind you, squeezing ball between heels, feet flexed, shins lifted off floor; cross arms in front of you, propping up torso slightly on elbows.
- Squeezing heels into ball, lift knees off floor as high as you can; lower.
- Do three sets of 10 to 15 reps.
Loaded Hip Dip
Use a medicine ball to work your core up to 28 percent more than doing standard crunches. The added resistance on your hips will trim your obliques and tighten your middle all over.
Targets deep abs and obliques
- Lie on floor on your right side, bent right elbow on floor propping up torso and hips, feet stacked; with left hand, hold a 4- to 6-pound medicine ball firmly atop left hip.
- Lift hips to get into side plank, body forming a straight line from head to toe.
- Slowly lower right hip to briefly tap floor, then return to side plank.
- Do 10 reps. Switch sides and repeat.
Med Ball Waltz
Get an upper- and lower-body burn with this medicine ball move. Just remember to focus on your form and go deep into your lunge to reap the benefits of this resistance exercise.
Targets shoulders, chest, and legs
- Stand facing each other; partner A holds a medicine ball in both hands in front of chest. Partner A lunges forward with right leg, passing ball to partner B as B lunges back with left leg, bringing ball toward chest.
- B immediately lunges forward again with left foot, passing ball to A as A lunges back with right leg.
- Do 20 passes, then switch legs (A lunges forward with left leg and B lunges back with right to start).
By pulsing your legs up as you balance the ball with your thighs you'll work your lower legs and butt muscles all at the same time. If you feel the ball is too big to start try something smaller, like a yoga mat or rolled towel, and work your way up.
Targets butt, hamstrings
- Stand facing a wall with feet hip-width apart. Bend left knee behind you with foot flexed and place ball between calf and butt; place hands on wall.
- MAKE IT EASIER: If ball feels too big to stay put, squeeze a rolled-up towel behind your knee.
- Press left foot up 1 to 2 inches toward ceiling while squeezing ball with leg.
- Do 20 to 25 reps, switch sides and repeat. Do three sets.
Child's-Pose Ski Slope
Your favorite yoga pose just got a little more complicated. Squeezing a mini exercise ball with your thighs as you lift your torso up will flatten your abs and sculpt your legs at the same time.
Targets back, shoulders, arms, abs, quads, and inner thighs
- Holding a dumbbell in each hand, arms by sides, kneel on floor, squeezing ball between inner thighs.
- Hinge forward from hips and lower butt to heels until forehead touches floor in child's pose, resting hands on floor by ankles, palms up.
Ball Wall Hold
You control how much you want this move to hurt by the size of the ball you choose. The bigger the ball, the bigger the burn. Make sure to keep your arm steady as you hold it in place to work your upper back, too.
Targets upper back, shoulders, and abs
- Holding stability ball with both hands, stand with back to wall, feet hip-width apart.
- Position ball against wall a few feet above right shoulder and, with right arm extended overhead, press back of right hand into center of ball to hold it steady. (Stand far enough in front of wall so that spine is flush with edge of ball.)
- Lift right foot off floor a few inches and hold ball in position for 30 to 45 seconds.
- Switch sides; repeat.
Use a beach ball for an upper-body sweat session you can't get on dry land. Make sure to keep your arms straight and your core engaged.
Targets shoulders, back, triceps, and abs
- Holding beach ball with arms stretched straight in front of you, float facedown in chest-deep water so legs are extended behind you, feet together.
- Keeping arms straight, pull ball underneath you, drawing it as fast as you can through water toward thighs in an arc. (As the ball is pressed underneath, it will lift you out of water to take a breath; beginners can keep head above water throughout.)
- When ball reaches thighs, bend elbows to bring it back to surface and press it forward to return to start position. Continue for 30 seconds.
Tip: Keep your arms as straight as possible and your body straight and stiff to get the most muscle sculpting.
Crossing the Plank
Stack your legs on top of a stability ball to take your side plank to the next level. Crossing your legs isolates each side of your obliques, pushing them to work just a little bit harder. Remember: The more your middle is shaking the more fat you're sizzling.
Targets shoulders, abs, obliques, and legs
- Place ball against wall, then lie on left side with hips stacked, left elbow under shoulder and sides of feet resting on top of ball, right leg crossed in front of left.
- Slowly lift hips, forming a line from head to toe, and extend right arm toward ceiling.
- Hold for 30 seconds; lower.
- Switch sides and repeat.
Reverse Fly Girl
Be a beast on the Bosu with this move that's a little bit balance, a little bit strength training, and a lot a bit sweat. Doing a reverse fly as you soar from leg to leg over the Bosu is a total-body toner that's the perfect move to incorporate into your next HIIT workout.
Targets shoulders, back, inner thighs, and outer thighs.
- Stand with Bosu to your right, holding band with both hands, arms extended in front of you (wrap ends of band around fists).
- Sidestep right foot atop Bosu, then push off center to hop up and over Bosu, landing with right foot to right of ball and left foot on ball; as you land, pull hands farther apart so that arms form a T.
- Repeat, pushing off Bosu with left foot (as you bring hands back to start at center) so that right foot lands atop it and left foot is to the left of ball; pull hands apart to form a T.
- Continue alternating sides for 20 seconds (10 to 15 reps).