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This Exercise Ball Workout Hits Muscles All Over The Body

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(Image credit: Unknown)

Exercise ball, gym ball, stability ball, Swiss ball – whatever you call it, introducing one of those big squidgy balls to the workout equation can add an extra degree of difficulty to exercises that involve a chair or a bench. When you rest any part of your body on one during a move, you increase the core challenge because you have to maintain your balance while supporting your body on an unstable surface.

That’s not the only way to use one, though, and this six-move workout from Marvin Burton – head of fitness at Anytime Fitness (opens in new tab) when he shared this workout – uses it in a variety of ways to help challenge the entire body. If you’ve got one lying around at home unused this workout is a great way to get some use out of it, or if you’re a committed gym-goer it’s ideal for breaking the monotony of pumping iron or pounding the treadmill, and challenge your body in a new way.

“This is a six-exercise superset programme,” says Burton. “Perform the exercises in pairs, with no rest between the two exercises – you can rest after you’ve completed both. Perform all sets of each superset, then move on to the next pair.”

1A Wall squat

Sets 3 Reps 12 Rest 0sec

“Stand with your arms by your sides and the ball positioned between your lower back and the wall,” says Burton.

“Squat down by lowering your hips towards the floor. Keep your feet flat on the ground and press into the floor to keep tension in the leg muscles.”

1B Hamstring curl

Sets 3 Reps 12 Rest 30sec

“Lie on your back with your heels on the ball and your legs straight,” says Burton. “Lift your hips off the floor. Press downwards into the ball with your legs and pull the ball towards your bum so your hips rise and the soles of your feet end up on the ball. Reverse the action, keeping your hips off the floor throughout.”

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(Image credit: Unknown)

2A Jackknife press-up

Sets 3 Reps 12 Rest 0sec

“Roll over the ball and extend your body into a press-up position, with your shins on the ball,” says Burton.

“Perform a press-up, then roll the ball in towards you by bending your knees and bringing them towards your chest. Then extend your legs back to a straight position to return to the start.”

2B Back extension

Sets 3 Reps 12 Rest 30sec

“Lie face down on the ball so it’s positioned under your stomach,” says Burton. “Place your hands on the sides of your head and set your feet wide apart on the floor to form a stable base. Hyperextend your back to raise your chest. Lower to the start position under control.”

3A Knee drive

Sets 3 Reps 6 each side Rest 0sec

Get into a plank position with your forearms resting on the ball and your body forming a straight line from shoulders to heels. Alternate driving your knees up towards you chest, with the knee touching the ball each time.

“Try to keep your hips low and avoid excessive upper-body movement,” says Burton.

3B Hands-to-feet transfer

Sets 3 Reps 12 Rest 30sec

“Lie on your back with your legs and arms extended and pointing at the ceiling and the ball held between your feet,” says Burton. “Lower your arms and legs towards the floor, then before your limbs touch the floor bring your arms and legs back to the center and transfer the ball from your feet to your hands. Lower the ball behind your head, then raise your limbs again and transfer the ball back to your feet.”

Anytime Fitness has over 160 gyms across the UK. Visit the website (opens in new tab) to find your local gym

Nick Harris-Fry
Nick Harris-Fry

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.