Flexibility Exercise Ball Stretches for Balance and Stability By Paige Waehner, CPT Paige Waehner, CPT Facebook LinkedIn Paige Waehner is a certified personal trainer, author of the "Guide to Become a Personal Trainer"; and co-author of "The Buzz on Exercise & Fitness." Learn about our editorial process Updated on February 23, 2020 Medically reviewed Verywell Fit articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and nutrition and exercise healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Michael Lau, PT, DPT, CSCS Medically reviewed by Michael Lau, PT, DPT, CSCS Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Michael Lau, PT, DPT, CSCS, is a licensed physical therapist, strength and conditioning coach, and co-founder of The Prehab Guys. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print When it comes to flexibility and balance, the exercise ball is an excellent tool for targeting both. What makes the ball so versatile is that it can be used as a support, as in some of the stretching exercises shown below, or it can be used to challenge your balance. Anytime you're on an unstable surface, you work not just balance but other important things like coordination, stabilizer muscles and, most importantly, the core. This workout targets all areas of fitness with some unique and sometimes challengings moves that require your entire body to act as a stabilizer. You'll open up tight areas such as the hips and chest, all while building balance and stability. Precautions See your doctor before trying this workout if you have any injuries, illnesses or other conditions. Equipment Needed An exercise ball and a mat. How To After your workout, a warm up or when your muscles are warm, perform each exercise as shown for at least 1 rep, holding each stretch for 15-30 seconds.For more flexibility benefits, do this workout 3 times a week, performing each exercise 2-3 times.Relax into each stretch and avoid bouncing or straining.Skip any exercises that cause pain or discomfort 1 Chest Stretch Verywell / Ben Goldstein Sit on the ball and slowly walk the feet out until you're lying on the ball with your back fully supported. Hold onto a wall for balance if you need to. Relax your hips and head on the ball and let your arms fall gently out to the sides and towards the floor. Feel a deep stretch in your chest and core. Hold for 3-5 breaths. 2 Whole Body Stretch Verywell / Ben Goldstein This whole body stretch is perfect for stretching both the front and back of your body using the ball. Stand in front of the ball with your legs wide. Place your hands on the ball and, keeping a slight bend in the knees, roll the ball forward. Press down with your chest while rolling the ball out to stretch the hamstrings and the calves. Hold for 3-5 breaths. Stretching and Flexibility Exercises for Athletes 3 Back Stretch Verywell / Ben Goldstein This back stretch is perfect for targeting the lats and the back of the shoulders. Stand with the feet wide and the ball directly in front you. Take the right hand and put it on the ball. Rotate it so that the side of your hand is on the ball with the thumb facing up. Using the side of your hand, roll the ball to the left while keeping the hips square. Roll the ball as far as you can to feel a stretch in your arm and back. Hold for 3-5 breaths and switch to the other side. 4 One Leg Balance Verywell / Ben Goldstein For this move, you'll be holding the ball as you balance. Begin by standing on your left leg with the right leg resting on the toes behind you. Hold the ball straight up over the head. Now, tip from the hips while lifting the right leg straight up behind you, lowering the ball until it's parallel to the floor. Your body should be in a straight line from head to heels. Take the ball down to the floor and rest the hands on it while keeping the right leg up behind you. Try rolling the ball out a bit to lengthen the body from head to toe. Hold for 5 breaths and repeat on the other leg. 5 Modified Half Moon Verywell / Ben Goldstein This exercise is a modified half moon using the ball as both a support and a challenge to your balance. Begin in the previous pose, balancing on one leg with the ball on the floor and the hands resting on the ball. Now, rotate your body to the side so that your chest and hips face the front wall, still balancing on the other leg. If you can, sweep the top arm up and directly over your shoulder while keeping the other hand on the ball for balance. Hold for 3-5 breaths and repeat on the other side. 6 Lunge Stretch Verywell / Ben Goldstein For this one, you're going to use the ball to sit on in a type of lunge position to stretch the hip flexors and the upper body. Start by resting on the ball and taking one leg forward (bent to 90 degrees), back leg straight out and balancing on the toe. You should be resting on the ball. Bring the hands out in front of you or overhead and feel the stretch through the hips. Hold for 3-5 breaths and repeat on other leg. If this feels wobbly, try the move without the ball. 7 Warrior II Verywell / Ben Goldstein This yoga move is done using an exercise ball for added support. Start from the Lunge Stretch in the previous exercise, sitting on the ball with one leg forward and bent and the other one straight back behind you resting on the toe. Now, if your right leg is forward, turn to the left towards the front of the room. You should turn your feet so that the right foot faces the side wall and the left leg, which is straight, faces the front wall as in a Warrior II. Take the right arm straight out in front at shoulder level, left arm back. Hold for 3-5 breaths and repeat on the other side. Popular Types of Yoga Explained 8 Inner Thigh Ball Stretch Verywell / Ben Goldstein Sit on your exercise ball and take the legs out in a wide stance, toes out at a slight angle. Bend forward, keeping the back flat and place the elbows on the inside of your knees. Relax into the stretch, using your elbows to gently push the knees out for a deeper stretch. You should feel this in the inner thighs. Hold for 3-5 breaths. The Best Exercise Balls, Recommended and Tested by Experts in Our Lab 9 Standing Back Stretch Verywell / Ben Goldstein This standing stretch is the perfect way to stretch out your back. It may be a little challenging with a larger ball, but it still works. Start by standing and hugging the ball to your chest with your arms draped over the ball. Bend forward so that you're resting the ball on the thighs while letting your arms hang down towards the floor. Relax your body, letting your legs support you, and open up through the back. Hold for 3-5 breaths. 6 Stretches to Reduce Back Pain 1 Source Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Emilio EJ, Hita-Contreras F, Jiménez-Lara PM, Latorre-Román P, Martínez-Amat A. The association of flexibility, balance, and lumbar strength with balance ability: risk of falls in older adults. J Sports Sci Med. 2014;13(2):349-57. By Paige Waehner, CPT Paige Waehner is a certified personal trainer, author of the "Guide to Become a Personal Trainer," and co-author of "The Buzz on Exercise & Fitness." 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