Discover Off-Center Ball Training

by Jonathan Ross on Sep 25, 2008

Do you think you’ve seen it all with the ball? Do many of your clients master stability ball exercises rapidly and want to move on to different challenges? Are you ready to discover a concept that will open up new exercise options equally well suited to a stability ball or a BOSU® Ballast® ball?

Then welcome to Off-Center Ball Training. One of the main features of the vast catalog of current stability ball exercises is that, for the most part, the body is kept symmetrical with the center of the ball. Off-Center Ball Training creates new exercise options by moving your center of gravity off the midline of the ball. This strategy immediately creates increased torque and angular momentum on the trunk—dramatically increasing activation of the core musculature.

Sample Exercises

How do you get off center? Here are two common stability ball exercises performed in an off-center position.


From the traditional stability-ball-crunch start position supine on the ball, carefully shift your entire body to one side, taking small steps with your feet. Now perform a crunch just as you would in the center of the ball (i.e., moving your body in the sagittal plane). You will immediately experience a dramatic increase in activity in the oblique and transversus abdominis muscles. For even more challenge, hold the outside arm straight out to your side (in the frontal plane).

Torque Squat

Start by standing perpendicular to the wall in a wide stance, right shoulder on the inside, arms fully extended in front of the chest and palms together. Hold the ball against the wall at shoulder height using the back of the right hand (where your knuckles are) positioned slightly higher than the midline of the ball. Squat as normal, but push to the right using your torso to keep the ball against the wall as you move up and down. Arms should stay parallel to the floor as you squat up and down. The back of the right hand will naturally roll from just above the middle of the ball at the start to just below the middle of the ball at the bottom of the squat. Repeat on other side.

Inventing Different Exercises

To create your own exercises, simply choose one of two options below and apply them to exercises you already know:

Option 1. Move the true center of gravity away from the midline of the ball by moving your trunk away from the midline of the ball.

Option 2. Change the effective location of the center of gravity by moving one or more extremities asymmetrically with respect to the center of the ball.

With this template you can invent virtually endless options for new versions of exercises you have been using for years. Be aware that this concept will be most useful for those clients who are already comfortable with stability ball training and who have mastered many of the common exercises.

For more exercises and further insight into the Off-Center Ball Training concept, get the Off-Center Ball Training DVD by Jonathan Ross, available from the IDEA Education Store.

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About the Author

Jonathan Ross

Jonathan Ross IDEA Author/Presenter

Simply put, Jonathan changes lives. Jonathan Ross is a two-time Personal Trainer of the Year Award Winner (2010 IDEA and 2006 ACE), creator of Funtensity, and his book, Abs Revealed, presents a modern approach to getting great abs. He is popular speaker and a regular expert source for the media on a wide range of fitness topics and his cutting edge insights bring an honest and fresh perspective on fitness. He is a Master Trainer for TRX and ACE (American Council on Exercise). He is the owner of Aion Fitness - a fitness training and consulting company. He was voted Exercise TV's Top Trainer in 2008.