Have a Ball Workout

by Daniel Marshall, MS and Ashley Artese, PhD on May 23, 2019

Lead a fun and challenging total-body workout with exercise balls.

This fun format incorporates exercise balls into cardiovascular and strength intervals. Each 8-minute round uses either a stability ball or a medicine ball, 4 minutes of high-intensity cardio training (combined), and about 4 minutes of strength-focused work (combined). For those who also enjoy a core challenge, this class delivers.

Have a Ball! Details

Goal/Emphasis: total-body workout that challenges the body through dynamic movements for stabilization and balance

Total time: 45–50 minutes

Equipment needed: stability balls and medicine balls

Music: 132–140 beats per minute

Additional notes: Provide additional safety cuing when using the stability ball to add elements of balance and core stabilization.

  • For exercises performed seated or lying on the stability ball, instruct beginning participants to keep both feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart.
  • The width of your base of support determines the level of balance challenge. A wider base is more supportive. To increase the challenge for more advanced participants, have them bring the feet closer together.
  • For planks performed on the stability ball, tell students to place the ball under the chest; forearms will be on the ball, elbows bent at a 90-degree angle, shoulders over elbows.
  • Have an off-the-ball modification for each exercise so you are prepared to meet each participant’s needs. One primary modification is to pin the ball against the wall or between dumbbells to minimize movement.

Warmup (5–8 minutes)

For the first few minutes, do a standard total-body warm­up of your choice—without the ball—to elevate heart rates. Then, add the stability ball using sweeping, lifting, pushing and pulling motions while moving. Be creative and have fun!

Work Phase (30–35 minutes)

The class consists of four rounds. In each round, 2 minutes of cardiovascular training alternate with approximately 2 minutes of strength training, for a total of 8 minutes.

ROUND 1 (MEDICINE BALL)

Cardio

  • Jumping jacks with overhead press (1 minute).
  • Jump-switch lunges with ball rotation (1 minute).

Strength

  • Medicine ball row balancing on right leg (single-leg deadlift, chest parallel to floor); 16 reps.
  • R reverse lunge, then lift R knee and press ball overhead, R arm; 16 reps.

Cardio

  • Squats with ball toss (1 minute).
  • Burpees, placing both hands on ball when in plank (1 minute).

Strength

  • Medicine ball row, balancing on left leg (single-leg deadlift, chest parallel to floor); 16 reps.
  • L reverse lunge, then lift L knee and press ball overhead, L arm; 16 reps.

ROUND 2 (STABILITY BALL)

Cardio

  • Alternating high knees, bringing ball to lifted knee each time (1 minute).
  • Three side shuffles, holding ball to front + one jump, lifting ball overhead. Repeat, other side (1 minute).

Strength

  • Side lunge, rotating ball, same direction; alternate sides; 16 reps/side.
  • Single-leg deadlift; lifted leg on ball; 16 reps/side.

Cardio

  • Jump squats, raising ball overhead with jump (1 minute).
  • Football runs, slowly moving stability ball overhead and to front (1 minute).

Strength

  • Forearm plank on ball with alternating knee pull-ins; 16 reps/leg.
  • Ball rollout, forearms on ball; 16 reps.

ROUND 3 (MEDICINE BALL)

Cardio

  • Jump squat moving forward and back, holding ball (1 minute).
  • Quick high knees, moving ball side to side (1 minute).

Strength

  • Diagonal wood chop; 16 reps/side.
  • Pushup: Place one hand on ball, other hand on floor, and do one pushup. Roll ball to opposite hand and repeat. Alternate hands; 16 reps (8 each side).

Cardio

  • Scissor jacks while pushing ball out and in (1 minute).
  • Double-leg side hops, circling ball to one side and then the other with each hop (1 minute).

Strength

  • Plié squat and biceps curl with ball as you come out of squat; 16 reps.
  • Triceps overhead extension; 16 reps.

For Round 4 of the exercises and a cooldown, see “Sample Class: Let’s Have a Ball” in the online IDEA Library or in the April 2019 print edition of IDEA Fitness Journal. If you cannot access the full article and would like to, please contact the IDEA Inspired Service Team at 800-999-4332, ext. 7.

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About the Authors

Daniel Marshall, MS

Daniel Marshall, MS IDEA Author/Presenter

Ashley Artese, PhD

Ashley Artese, PhD IDEA Author/Presenter