A Stability Ball Warm-Up That Targets the Entire Body

by Christy Stevenson on Aug 28, 2015


Get the workout party started with a standby piece of equipment.

Instructors tend to spend most of their creativity on the main body of the workout and forget to choreograph an equally inspiring warm-up. Instead of relying on ho-hum step-touches and classic knee lifts, incorporate the stability ball for an unforgettable warm-up that limbers up the body in all planes of movement. Before beginning, make sure the stability 
balls are properly inflated and are the right height and size for each individual.

Jog and Dribble (not pictured)

Break the ice and get the blood flowing with this move. Encourage participants and tell them they don’t have to be superior athletes to have fun!

  • Line everyone up in two or three rows and ask people to dribble their ball 
(like basketball players) while jogging across room.
  • Depending on space available, 
complete 4–6 sets, switching lead arm with each pass.
  • If space is limited, cue class to jog in place and do alternating hamstring curls while dribbling ball from hand to hand or bouncing it with both hands.

Squat With 
Overhead Extensions

Warm up the thighs and glutes while lengthening the spine. Encourage attendees to “check in” with how their bodies are feeling, particularly their lower backs 
and knees.

  • Begin with basic squat, holding ball in relaxed grip at chest height.
  • Cue class to keep spine long, abdominal muscles engaged and chest lifted as they sink into 90-degree squat, feet hip-width apart, toes and knees forward and aligned.
  • Keep knees soft throughout movement. Avoid hyperextension.
  • After 8 reps, add upper-body extension. 
Reach arms straight up beside ears on down phase, and lower to chest level on standing phase. Movement is fluid and controlled.
  • Progression: Squeeze ball between palms as you lower arms to chest height, working chest and shoulder muscles.
  • Complete 8–16 reps.

Sumo Stance 
With Torso Twists

Change the movement plane and warm up the hips, adductors, abductors and trunk rotators with this core exercise.

  • Cue participants to externally rotate hips, step out into sumo squat and sink to 90 degrees if possible.
  • Hold stability ball at chest level and twist right.
  • Keep arms strong throughout movement, elbows elevated and slightly bent.
  • Pulse and twist for 3 counts; return 
to center.
  • Repeat left.
  • Complete 8 reps, each side.

Bucket Brigade

Complete your stability ball warm-up with this fun exercise that awakens the core and increases total-body mobility.

  • Beginning in sumo squat, ask participants to imagine they are passing buckets of water, scooping ball from L to R in frontal plane, pivoting feet.
  • Sweep arms up to chest height or higher during rotating lunge phase and as low to floor as possible on center squat phase. Movement is smooth and controlled, arms lengthened and engaged throughout.
  • Complete 8–16 reps, both sides.

Set the ball aside, finish with a few shoulder rolls and some tips for the upcoming workout, and you are ready to go! No grapevines necessary. n

Fitness Journal, Volume 12, Issue 9

Find the Perfect Job

More jobs, more applicants and more visits than any other fitness industry job board.

© 2015 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

About the Author

Christy Stevenson

Christy Stevenson IDEA Author/Presenter

Christy Stevenson, fitness writer/presenter and owner of the YouTube channel Real Fit for Real Life, has been teaching group fitness classes for 20 years and has certified with AFAA, ACE, and FiTOUR in Group Exercise, Yoga, Pilates, Kickboxing, Stability Ball Training, Group Barbell Conditioning, Core & Functional Training, and Personal Training. She has also certified with Reebok University in Coreboard Training & Body Training Systems RPM, a pre-choreographed cycling program, as well as Zumba® & TRX. She has taught virtually every land aerobics class format that exists, including specialty classes such as Go-Go Robics, Teen Sports Conditioning, Strollercize, Shakti Running, and Senior Strength and Stretch. Prior to moving to CT, Christy served as the land aerobics supervisor at American Fork Fitness Center in UT for over 4 years, designing a new schedule to meet the needs of expansion, doubling class sizes, and growing strong Yoga & Indoor Cycling programs. She tries to inspire the world to fitness by voluntarily teaching church & school groups, planning and promoting fundraising fitness campaigns, designing a personal training program for overweight children, and teaching yoga in schools. Christy has run 10 Ragnar relays, several half marathons, 7 marathons, and one sprint-distance triathlon. Christy graduated from BYU in 1998 with an English Teaching major and Theatre Arts minor & has taught 7th, 8th, and 11th grade. Her education background lends to her dynamic ability to lead instructor workshops, as well as her ability to bring fitness to youth ages. She is a freelance editor and writer and contributes to the prestigious IDEA Fitness Professional Journal & American Fitness. Christy is married to a wonderful husband and is the mother of 3 awesome and fit kids.