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Sample Class: Let’s Have a Ball!

Lead a fun and challenging total-body workout.

“Have a ball” with your class using this fun format, which 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 warm┬¡up 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)

Medicine Ball Exercise

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.



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


  • 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.


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


  • 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.



  • 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).


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


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


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



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


  • 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).


  • 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).


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


Stability Ball Exercise


  • Skaters while moving stability ball in figure-eight motion (1 minute).
  • Quick hops forward and back, pressing ball out and in (1 minute).


  • Squat + rollout: Slowly lower into squat while holding ball. Place ball on floor and do one rollout, forearms on ball. Slowly roll back into squat, grab ball and stand up; 8 reps.
  • Bird dog, leaning torso over ball; 16 reps/side.


  • Ladder run, holding ball overhead (1 minute).
  • Side steps, moving ball side to side (1 minute).

Note: Move a little more slowly to let heart rates come down for final strength section. Feel free to go longer than 1 minute if participants need more time.


  • Russian twist on ball, hands clasped over chest; 8 reps/side.
  • Hamstring curl, lying on floor with heels on top of ball; 8 reps/side.

Cooldown (5 minutes)

Lead class in stretches for all major muscle groups, using the stability ball to assist. For example, from a lying position, cue participants to place their legs on top of the ball and slowly roll the lower body to one side for a twist, keeping the stability ball under the legs.


See also: Sample Class: Yoga on the Ball

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