Core Exercises on the Ball

The exercise ball is one of the best tools for building strength, endurance, and stability in the core. Because you're on an unstable surface, your stabilizers have to snap into gear to keep you from rolling off the ball. By adding a medicine ball to some moves, you add even more intensity, making this a challenging core workout.

Not only will you strengthen the core, you'll improve your balance and coordination. Just make sure you're very comfortable using an exercise ball as some of the moves may be very challenging. The moves progress in difficulty, so take your time and use a wall for balance if you need it.

Using an Exercise Ball

All that's needed is an exercise ball, a mat, and a light-medium medicine ball (suggested weight: 4-8 lbs).


See your doctor before trying this workout if you have any injuries, illnesses or other conditions.

How To

  • Warm up with 5 to 10 minutes of cardio or do this workout after your regular cardio or strength routine.
  • Perform each exercise as shown, completely 1 to 3 sets of 12 to 16 reps.
  • Modify the moves to fit your fitness level and skip any exercises that cause any pain or discomfort.
  • Take at least one day of rest between each workout.

Ball Marches

woman getting ready to march while on exercise ball

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Sit on the ball with the abs engaged, back straight, feet flat on the floor. Take the arms behind the head or, for a modification, place them on the ball or hold onto a wall for balance if needed. Lift the right foot off the floor, lower and then lift the left foot off the floor. Continue marching on the ball for 60 seconds.


Butt Lift

Lie on the ball with the head, neck, and shoulders supported, knees bent and body in a table-top position. Lower the hips towards the floor without rolling on the ball. Squeeze the glutes to raise hips until body is in a straight line like a bridge. Hold weights on the hips for added intensity and make sure you press through the heels and not the toes.  Repeat for 16 reps


Back Extension

Position the ball under your hips/belly with the knees on the floor (easier) or straight, as shown. With hands behind the head or back, slowly roll down the ball. Lift your chest off the ball, bringing your shoulders up until your body is in a straight line.

Make sure your body is in alignment (i.e., head, neck, shoulders, and back are in a straight line), your abs are pulled in, and don't hyperextend the back. Repeat for 16 reps. You can also modify and do this on your knees.


Plank With Toe Taps

This is an advanced exercise, so make sure you're very familiar with the ball before trying this move. Get into a plank position with hands under shoulders and feet on the ball. You can be on your toes (harder) or on the tops of your feet.

When you have your balance, slowly take the right foot off the ball and tap it to the floor. Bring it back to start and now tap the other foot to the floor. Repeat for 12 to 16 reps.


Ab Rolls

 Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Place your hands on the ball in front of you, arms parallel. Pulling your belly button towards your spine and tightening your torso, slowly roll forward, rolling the ball out as far as you can without arching or straining the back.

Don't go too far, or you may not make it back. Push the elbows into the ball and squeeze the abs to pull the body back to start. Avoid ab rolls if you have back problems. Repeat for 12 to 16 reps.


Med Ball Throws

Lie with the ball under shoulders and lower back and hold a light-medium medicine ball. Straighten the arms and take the ball straight back behind you, parallel to the floor. Crunch the shoulders off the ball and, at the same time, sweep the med ball up and reach it towards the ceiling. Lower and repeat for 16 reps.


Ball Twist

Get into a pushup position with the feet on either side of the ball. Think of turning your ankles so that you're hugging the ball on either side. Make sure your hands are directly under the shoulders and your head and neck are in alignment.

Holding your body in a straight line with abs pulled in, slowly rotate the ball to the right while trying to keep your shoulders level, then to the left. Repeat for 12 to 16 reps, alternating sides.

2 Sources
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.
  1. Sekendiz B, Cuğ M, Korkusuz F. Effects of Swiss-ball core strength training on strength, endurance, flexibility, and balance in sedentary women. J Strength Cond Res. 2010;24(11):3032-40. doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181d82e70

  2. Yu W, Cha S, Seo S. The effect of ball exercise on the balance ability of young adults. J Phys Ther Sci. 2017;29(12):2087-2089. doi:10.1589/jpts.29.2087

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."