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Want To Make Any Exercise Harder? Try It On An Exercise Ball!

If you were a normal human, that headline probably would have made you run for cover! But since you are one of those crazy exercise addicts they call cyclists, you’re excited about making your hard exercise routine even harder!

It’s quite simple to make almost any exercise A LOT harder. All you have to do is incorporate an exercise ball! Also known as a “Swiss ball,” “stability ball,” or “inflatable ball,” adding one to your workouts takes each exercise to a new level. Instead of an exercise targeting one muscle group, it will target your entire body! That’s because you need to perform the exercise while staying balanced, which is harder than it looks!

Here are some examples:

The Abdominal Crunch

ball crunch step 1ball crunch step 2

While doing a few hundred crunches on the ground will strengthen your six-pack, doing 20 crunches on an exercise ball will strengthen your entire core (abs, obliques, etc.) That’s because you have to keep yourself from rolling off of the ball!

 

Push-ups

ball push-up version 1

Push-ups are one of the most common exercises, and doing them will build your upper-body to a common level. But if you want to be uncommonly strong, use an exercise ball!

There are two ways to add it in.

First, do push-ups with your feet on the ball and your hands on the ground. Having your feet elevated (decline push-ups) incorporates some stabilizer muscles, but having them elevated on a moving object really brings in the muscles of your entire body!

ball push-up version 2

Second, if you’re looking to make things even harder, try push-ups where your hands are on top of the ball and your feet are on the ground. These are extremely hard, especially for us cyclists with weak upper-bodies. See, your arms are supporting your body and stabilizing the ball at the same time. Expect to fall over the first time you try it!

 

Superman

ball super man 1

Here’s a great exercise for your lower back. But why not try it while balancing on top of a stability ball?

This is really hard, because it’s more about balancing your body over the ball. So you need back strength to hold yourself up, plus great balance to keep yourself up there!

 

Sitting Down

sitting on exercise ball

Sitting down is pretty simple. It’s hardly exercise.

But try sitting on top of an exercise ball and you might change your mind! This is a great way to sit around and watch TV, since it’s a non-stop workout.

 

Standing Up

standing on exercise ball

Got the hang of kneeling on an exercise ball? Then it’s time to step it up, and that next notch is quite a stretch from the first one – standing on the ball! If you think it’s easy to stand on an exercise ball, you’re either too naive or already an Olympic level athlete!

(Be careful. Falling off one of these things hurts!!)

 

Well, now is the time to go and try it out! (Just be sure to start at the beginning of the list!) 😉

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12 Comments
  1. FAKE! These are all clearly photoshopped. I am an expert, so you can trust me.

  2. Photoshopped??? These are simple enough for a fit well balanced person with absolutely no reason to photoshop. Trust you, you’re an expert??? Cheers fella pull the other one it has bells on.

  3. LOL photoshopped! Haha.

    You caught me… You can still see the outline of the recliner that I was on for the “sitting down” photo… 😉

  4. Wow those pushups really are hard!

  5. Last year I started doing a lot of my exercises on a Swiss ball as well, and it brings your ab muscles into play for sure!

  6. Photoshop or not this is way cool !! After showing these to my disbelieving wife she is at this very moment doing the lay up and with my help to get her started tried the sitting position with a bit of help to get “steadied off” just moments before . Maybe the ball I got her for Christmas will finally be of some use to us both ! Thanks !!

  7. Hi Dusty, thanks for stopping by! I love my exercise ball and some of those poses were extremely hard (and painful) to learn but it’s very rewarding 🙂

  8. These are great ideas. I really like the idea of sitting on the exercise ball while watching TV. I’ve never tried sitting on an exercise ball but I’m sure it would be very difficult since you’d have to keep your balance.

  9. Why bother with a swiss ball? Just do the exercise on one leg, or on your toes.

  10. @Samual

    1. Swiss balls are fun.
    2. Your comment doesn’t even apply to these exercises.

  11. That doesn’t look like a sand-filled ball, is it?

  12. @Lisa

    Nope, just your regular $6 ball filled with nothing but air.

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coach levi
Hi, I'm Coach Levi. I'm a USA Cycling Certified Level 3 Coach as well as Level 1 Certified with Precision Nutrition. Want to feel better, ride faster, and look great? Let's work together!

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Coach Levi is my favorite child and favorite cycling coach. I'd choose him over Christoper McCarmikael even. Did I mention that Levi can coach you to a healthier lifestyle where you look and feel your best?
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