Updated: Apr 8
Once you’ve found a ball that fits your size, it’s time to get to work! Here are some great benefits to incorporating a stability ball into your daily workout routine:
1. Engage your Core Stabilizing Muscles
Whether you are sitting on the ball for overhead presses or with your back on the floor doing leg curls, stability balls force you to engage your core muscles in order to perform the movement. If these muscles weren’t engaged, you’d be flopping all over on the ball (probably falling off) and would not be able to execute the desired movement. You probably don’t even think about it while performing an exercise on a stability ball, but your core muscles are definitely engaged!
2. Improves Posture
Improved posture goes hand-in-hand with the fact that your core muscles are being engaged – especially when you are performing seated exercises on the ball. You have to sit up straight to execute any movement properly, so your postural muscles are getting lots of great practice while you are balancing on the ball.
3. Strengthens Accessory Muscles
Your accessory muscles are the small muscles around the big ones (i.e. biceps, quads, etc.) that often get overlooked while we are working out. Many exercise movements focus on those bigger muscles without engaging your accessory muscles, which are very important for stabilizing your joints and executing movements properly. Performing a movement you may already have in your workout, such as an overhead press, on a stability ball, helps you to work those accessory muscles while you work the major muscles as well.
4. Increases Balance and Coordination
Obviously, doing a biceps curl on a stability ball is going to be different that doing so standing up or sitting on a bench – your surface is unstable. Having an unstable surface creates the opportunity for you to learn to stabilize your body while performing another movement. This ties back in with your core muscles being engaged as well. The more engaged your core is, the more stable you will be on the ball and you will increase your balance and coordination skills.
5. Grow the Mind-Body Connection
Often, our mind tells our body to do one thing, but we struggle to perform a movement or exercise the way we think we should, per what our brain is telling us. This means, the mind-body connection for that particular action needs to be strengthened. There are many actions you do tens, if not hundreds of times per day and the neural pathways for that movement are well established. However, exercise presents the opportunity for new movements and new neural pathways to be created. The more pathways you have, the better control you will have over your body, not only in exercise, but in everyday life as well. A stability ball forces you to focus and think about a movement that you may have mastered on a stable surface, helping to increase your mind-body connection.
I love using stability balls in my own workouts, and I know you will find them challenging and fun as well. Use the chart at the beginning of the article and pick up a ball that works for you. Keep an eye out this week on exercises for you whole body that you can do using a stability ball!