Inflatable balls are also referred to as stability balls or exercise balls. You may have seen these inflatable balls at your gym or you may even have one in your home. They are available in many sporting goods stores. Stability balls require you to maintain your balance during exercises, which forces you to use your core muscles, including your abdomen, chest and back. Incorporating an inflatable ball in your exercise program can add a new challenge to old exercises or spice up a workout that has become boring.
Squats are an effective exercise that targets your hips, butt and thighs although this exercise can cause injury if the movement is performed incorrectly. Using an inflatable ball to perform wall squats will help ensure that your form is correct and prevent injury. Place an inflatable ball against a wall and lean your back against the ball to hold the ball firmly in place. Arrange the ball so that the center of the ball is touching your lower back. Keep your feet shoulder width apart. Start the movement by bending your knees slowly until you are squatting with your upper legs parallel to the floor. Hold the lower position for a moment and then slowly straighten your legs. Avoid extending your knees over the ends of your toes during this exercise. If this happens, readjust your position by placing your feet farther away from the wall.
Crunches are a popular abdominal muscle exercise, but performing crunches on a hard surface can cause discomfort. A stability ball provides a cushion that may prevent skin chaffing, back pain or general discomfort. Start by sitting upright on the ball with your feet flat on the floor. Walk your feet forward a few steps and allow the ball to roll backwards until you are reclining on the ball. The ball should be in the middle of your back and you should be able to lean back comfortably. Keep your feet flat on the floor with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Place your hands behind your head and gently raise your upper body off of the ball while your lower back and tailbone remain on the ball. Focus on using only your abdominal muscles to move your upper body. If you find yourself pulling on the back of your neck or experience neck strain, cross your hands on top of your chest to continue the exercise.
Stability ball push-ups target your back and shoulders, and this exercise is more challenging than regular push-ups because you are forced to balance on the ball during the movement. Lay down on the ball with your stomach on top of the ball. Straighten your legs behind you and keep your feet together with your toes on the ground. Place both hands firmly onto the ball and push your body up and off of the ball while keeping your back straight. Slowly lower yourself down until your stomach is almost touching the ball again and then push back up for your next repetition.