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A Back and Chest Stability Ball Workout

Have I mentioned I love the stability ball? 🙂 There’s something about that giant bouncy ball that makes me feel like a kid again. Unfortunately for us Group X instructors, there’s a limited supply of stability balls in our studios. But, that doesn’t mean we can’t get creative in order to incorporate it into our class workout.

What I’ve found works well is to ask the Group X class to partner up, and each pair take one stability ball. Then, we’ll do the same workout twice through, and folks can do the exercises once on the stability ball and once on the floor (while their partner uses the ball).

Here’s a back and chest workout you can do on the stability ball.

The incline push-up

First, you’ll lead the class through push-ups. Participants can try to do this one on their knees, but it usually requires you to be on your toes based on the height of the ball. Place your feet squarely on the floor, and then put your hands on the top of the stability ball. I like to slightly angle my hands in order to face my fingers away from each other, because it tends to be easier on my wrist. From there, the class will lower and lift in push-ups.

Chest workout: push-up

Reverse Fly

The incline push-up transitions nicely into the reverse fly. Instruct participants to rest their lower abs on the ball, so that their belly button is roughly at the top of the ball and their legs are extended out behind them. Then, grab a dumbbell in each hand. Without moving your back, bring your slightly bent arms out to the side in a “fly” position. The elbows will be bent and maybe an inch or so higher than wrists. Palms are facing down towards the floor.

Back workout: reverse fly

Push-ups with Legs on Stability Ball

For a more challenging push-up, you can also put your legs on the stability ball. As you move the stability ball closer to your toes, the push-up gets harder. From there, keep your body in a plank position as you lower your chest to the floor.

Chest workout: push-up on stability

Alternating Rows

If you opt to do the push-ups with the ball under your calves, it’s easy to transition into alternating rows. Grab the dumbbells and maintain your plank. Then, lift one arm at a time towards your chest. Keep your elbow tight to your body, as you lift your elbow towards the floor. Abs stay tight and hips stay low to the ground.

Back workout: alternating rows

Chest Press on the Stability Ball

If you’d like a non-push-up option, you can also instruct participants to lay face up on the stability ball, so that their shoulders and head are resting on the ball. You’ll want to be in a plank position from your knees to your head, with your ankles right under your knees. Press your hips toward the ceiling the whole time. Then, press your arms up and down as you continue to press your hips toward the ceiling.

Chest workout: chest press on stability ball

Shoulder Workout with a Stability Ball

The chest press is a nice workout to combine with shoulders. You can go right into a shoulder exercise, keeping your arms straight, and moving at the shoulder joint to lower your hands towards the floor overhead. Make sure your participants are not moving at the elbow joint.

Shoulder workout with a stability ball

This is a great workout to try with the stability ball. You can provide these as options for participants, or include each exercise throughout the entire class.

For more push-up options without the stability ball, check out the three types of push-ups Part 1 and Part 2.