An exercise ball can be a great addition to your usual workout routine. It can improve your balance, coordination, flexibility, help with your back, and activate your core muscles. Some studies have even shown that using an exercise ball as a chair can make you more energetic and improve your posture. And it can definitely be a fun prop for your workout!

We at Bright Side are kind of tired of doing the regular crunches and planks. So we’re excited to mix things up a bit with these 4 sets of exercises you can do with a ball!

Set 1

1. Arm-leg extension

  • Roll onto your ball, so that it’s placed under your stomach. Your toes and hands should touch the ground.
  • Engage your core and slowly start to lift your right arm and left leg. Then slowly put them back down.
  • Repeat with your left arm and right leg.

2. Hip thrusts

  • Start by sitting on the ball.
  • Slowly start moving your legs forward, until your head and shoulders are on the ball and your feet are bent at a 90° angle.
  • Keep your knees in line with your feet, which should be placed hip-distance apart.
  • Slowly start to lower your hips toward the floor, and then lift them back up.

3. Wall squat

  • Put the ball against the wall and lean up against it with your lower back.
  • Move your feet one step forward and place them shoulder-width apart.
  • Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • Stand back up.

4. Plank

There are a couple of plank variations you can try.

  • Keep your hands on the floor and place your feet on the ball. You could also start by lying on your stomach on the ball, and walk your hands forward until the ball reaches your feet.
  • From that plank position, you can lower into a forearm plank.
  • You can also try doing it the other way around, keeping your legs on the floor and placing your forearms on the ball instead. To make it easier, start with your knees on the floor and then lift them up.

Set 2

1. Crunch

  • Lie on your lower back on the ball and put your hands behind your ears.
  • Roll your shoulders up, pause, and then lower them back down.

2. Prone cobra

  • Lie on the ball so that it is right below your ribcage area.
  • Your legs should be straight and a bit wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Place your arms alongside your body.
  • Lift your chest up, engaging your back muscles and rolling the shoulders back.

3. Jackknife

  • Start in a plank position, with your hands on the floor and your feet on the ball.
  • Bend your hips and knees, and bring your legs underneath you. Pause in this position.
  • Roll the ball back to the starting position.

4. Hip raise

  • Start by lying on your back with your calves and feet up on the ball.
  • Lift your hips up, so that they’re in line with your legs and back. Pause in this position.
  • Lower back down.

Set 3

1. Oblique crunch

  • Lie on your lower back on the ball and put your hands behind your ears.
  • Lift your shoulders up and twist to the right, as if you were going to touch your left elbow to your right knee.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.

2. Push up

  • Start in a plank position with your hands on the floor.
  • The closer the ball is to the top of your legs, the more support will it provide.
  • Make sure your hips aren’t too low or too high. Engage your core and legs to keep a straight line in your body.
  • Bend your arms and lower your body like you’re doing a regular push up.

3. Pike crunch

  • Start in a plank position on your hands.
  • Hinge your hips upward and your toes in toward you. Keep your legs and core engaged.
  • Return to a plank position.

4. Leg curl

  • Start by lying on your back with your calves and feet up on the ball.
  • Raise your hips off the ground, so that they’re in line with your back and legs.
  • Bend your legs so that your knees face the ceiling and roll the ball toward you.
  • Straighten your legs and move the ball back away from you.

Set 4

1. Ball pass

  • Lie on your back.
  • Put the ball between your feet and squeeze it.
  • Simultaneously start lifting your hands and your legs up, keeping them straight.
  • Take the ball with your hands and lower your arms and your legs back to the floor.
  • Repeat the motion, passing the ball from your hands to your feet.

2. Reverse hip raise

  • Lie on your ball so that your hips are in contact with the ball.
  • You can either stay on your hands or lower onto your forearms.
  • Use your glutes and hamstrings to lift and lower your legs.

3. Ab rollout

  • Start on your knees with the ball in front of you.
  • Put your forearms on the ball.
  • Start rolling the ball forward until your arms are fully extended, keeping your core engaged.
  • Roll the ball back toward you.

4. Reverse crunch

  • Lie on your back.
  • Bend your legs and put the ball between them.
  • Contract your abs and curl your hips and knees toward your chest.

Have you ever tried using an exercise ball? How has it helped you? What other good exercises do you know of? If you haven’t tried it yet, would you like to?