Fit & Happier Workout of the Month: Strength Training with a Stability Ball

Fit&Happier Workout of the Month defined:  These are 30 minute general fitness workouts designed to offer a complete and balanced approach to strength and cardiovascular training in the most efficient way possible.  Strength training workouts will each feature a different form of resistance, or load, so that you can choose the type of resistance based on equipment availability and your preference.  These will offer full-body strength training and muscle toning with base exercises appropriate for beginners and progressions for those more experienced in strength training.  Cardio workouts are designed to get the most calorie burn possible in the time allotted.  Combo workouts combine strength and cardio training into one, efficient, full-body, calorie-burning workout.  All workouts conclude with flexibility training as no workout is complete without it.  Click on the exercises to link to step-by-step written and video instructions provided by ACE Fitness.


Stability BallStability Balls: Also known as fit or yoga balls, stability balls are a great strengthening workout tool.  Because the stability ball provides an unstable surface, the core must be engaged throughout the exercises in order to maintain balance and proper form.  Therefore, stability balls are an important piece of equipment for those interested in balance training and developing core strength.  They are used in a similar fashion to a weight bench, where one can perform various exercises while sitting or lying on the ball.

Selecting the correct size and inflation amount is key.  For those 5′-5′ 7″ tall, a 22″ (55cm) ball is recommended, while a 26″ (65cm) ball is appropriate for those measuring 5’7″-6′.  While these are the two most common sizes, smaller and larger balls are available for those shorter than 5′ or taller than 6′.  Generally speaking, the ball is the proper size if one’s knees are bent at a 90 degree angle while seated on the ball.  Though, for people who have back issues, a slightly larger ball tends to be more comfortable.  A fully inflated ball will be less stable – more likely to roll – but offers better support under your body.  While a less inflated ball will make the exercises slightly easier in terms of stability but may not offer enough support, particularly for the back when lying on the ball.

To get the most out of your stability ball workout while using the ball in the safest way, the best approach is to first select the correct size ball for your body and then use it at the most inflated state you can tolerate to reach the minimum amount of repetitions for each exercise.  I also like to place the ball on a yoga or exercise mat while using it to keep it from slipping on the floor.

Stability Ball Strength & Flexibility Workout

Concept: Use body weight against gravity as resistance and a stability ball as the base of support to tone and strengthen the body’s major muscle groups while training balance and core stability.  Base exercises are for those new to stability ball training.  Progressions are offered for those with more experience with these exercises.  Be sure you can perform the base exercise, and each subsequent progression, with excellent form for the maximum recommended repetition amount before progressing to the next level.  Check your surroundings, you should have enough unobstructed space around you to allow for full range of motion of arms and legs.  Perform this workout 1-3 times per week, allowing at least 48 hours before repeating this workout.

Warm-Up: 2-5 minutes of high knee marching, swinging opposing arms to shoulder height as you lift knees to hip height or any other form of moderate cardio movement you choose.  The goal is to raise your heart-rate slightly before working your muscles.

Strength Workout: Perform the following exercise circuit in succession with no rest between exercises:

  • Ab Crunches: 10-20 repetitions. Targets abdominal muscle toning, progressions also work shoulders, upper back & chest. Progression 1: Knee Tucks, 10-20 reps; Progression 2: Pikes, 10-20 reps
  • Shoulder Stabilizer: 10-20 repetitions. Works core, deltoids, rhomboids, traps & lats. Progression: follow progression variations offered in exercise link, 10-20 reps
  • Wall Squats: 10-20 repetitions. Works core, hip flexors, quads, hamstrings, glutes, lower back & calves. Progression: Hamstring Curl: 10-20 repetitions, more progressions offered in link to this exercise
  • Push-Ups: 10-20 repetitions. Works core, chest, shoulders & upper back. (Easier variation is offered in the link if base exercise is too difficult.) Progression 1: follow progression variations offered in exercise link, 10-20 reps; Progression 2: Prone Walkout, 10-20 reps
  • Glute Bridge: 10-20 repetitions. Works core, glutes & lower back. Progression 1: follow progression variations offered in exercise link, 10-20 reps; Progression 2: Reverse Extensions, 10-20 reps
  • After performing each exercise once, rest for 1-2 minutes and repeat the circuit (ab crunches through glute bridges) for a second set of each exercise.  After performing the circuit twice, perform the flexibility workout.

Flexibility Workout: Hold each stretch for 20-30 seconds and breathe deeply throughout the stretches:

Author’s Note: Always consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program.

Previous Fit&Happier Workouts of the Month – January: Body Weight Strength Training; February: Resistance Band Strength Training; March: Free Weight Strength Training; April: Medicine Ball Strength Training

Check back for these upcoming Fit&Happier Workouts of the Month – June: Balance & Strength Training; July: Functional Training (Strength); August: Interval Training (Cardio); September: Schoolyard Play Workout (Combo); October: Outdoor Cardio & Strength Combo; November: Timed Circuit (Combo); December: HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training-Cardio)

Click on the link to view previous Activity-Specific Workouts of the Month: Hockey & Cross-Country Skiing, Snowboarding & Figure Skating, Golf & Softball, Distance Running, Racquet Sports, Swimming, Waterskiing & Surfing, Cycling, Rowing & Desk Jockeys, Track, Field & Court Sports, Throwing & Pitching, Dancing, Downhill Skiing


  1. […] If you have any of these tools available to you, I have previous Workouts of the Month using a stability ball and summer or winter sport workouts using either an Airex Pad or BOSU […]

  2. […] Training; March: Free Weight Strength Training; April: Medicine Ball Strength Training; May: Strength Training with Stability Ball; June: Strength & Balance […]

  3. […] Training; March: Free Weight Strength Training; April: Medicine Ball Strength Training; May: Strength Training with Stability Ball; June: Strength & Balance Training; July: Functional […]

  4. […] Training; March: Free Weight Strength Training; April: Medicine Ball Strength Training; May: Strength Training with Stability Ball; June: Strength & Balance Training; July: Functional Training; August: Interval Training; […]

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