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7 Gym Ball Exercises for a Crazy Strong (and Flat) Core

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Is that yoga ball you loved during pregnancy just gathering dust now?

Well let’s put it to good use with these challenging stability ball core exercises!

Fit mom doing ab exercises with yoga ball

The stability ball is one of the most underrated pieces of exercise equipment around and this workout will leave you feeling humbled by the large bouncy ball!

I love finding new ways to work my core because truth be told, ab workouts just are not my favorite. 

They are a muscle group that is worked in so many other exercises and as a busy mom, I really have to choose my exercises wisly when it comes to reaching and maintaining my weight loss and athletic goals. 

However, if you are someone who suffers from chronic low back pain, urinary incontinence or a tummy pooch that won’t budge, this could be a sign that it’s time to focus on strengthening your core. 

This intermediate stability ball workout will not only challenge your core but it will also require some booty and arm strength too! 

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Table Of Contents

The Benefits of a Strong Core

EVERYONE, and I quite literally mean EVERYONE, these days should focus more on core strength because the strength and stability of your core impacts the way you move in every area of your life.

Your core is being used in every single activity you do from walking across a room, carrying your children, strength training, running or just day to day tasks like cleaning, and even carrying groceries. 

Whether you are postpartum or not, a strong core is essential to maintaining strength and stability in your entire body, especially as we get older.

And most women who have had babies never fully regain their core strength from pregnancy. 

If these muscles are allowed to weaken, just standing up will become a challenge. 

So, even though core training isn’t my favorite and might not be yours either, it is essential for movement in our day to day lives and it’s why I place so much emphasis on it. 

How To Get A Flat Stomach Fast?

So now you know that having a strong core is essential to how we function in our everyday lives, but most people are on the search for the fastest way to get a flat stomach.

Unfortunately, you cannot spot reduce any part on your body, including your tummy.

The two most common things preventing you from a flat stomach are excess body fat and/or abdominal separation from pregnancy. 

If getting a flatter stomach is your goal, then you need a combination of improving your eating habits and healing any abdominal separation from pregnancy. 

Related: 6 Best Exercises To Heal The Postpartum Belly Pooch

Related: Melt Stubborn Baby Weight Once and For All

Choosing The Right Size Stability Ball?

Before you dive into this stability ball core workout, it is important you have the right size.

When sitting upright on your stability ball, your feet should be flat on the floor and your legs should make a 90 degree angle when you sit on the ball.

Here is a general recommendation. 

Person’s heightExercise Ball Diameter
5′ and under45 cm
5’1″– 5’8″55 cm
5’9″– 6’2″65 cm
6’3″– 6’7″75 cm
6’8″ and taller85 cm

Keep in mind that by releasing air, the ball losses some of it’s stability.

This means some balancing exercises will lose their effectiveness because they will become easier. 

Make sure you have the right size ball and it is blown up all the way to get the most benefits out of your workouts. 

Mistakes to Avoid With Stability Ball Ab Exercises 

Some common mistakes I often see with people doing ab exercises is they

  1. Rushing through the movement:

It is easy for other muscles, like the hip flexors, to take over your core workout. Slow down, feel the core and focus on the movement. You will get faster as you get stronger!

2. Allowing movement in your low back:

A common mistake I see with a lot of ab exercises is not focusing on keeping the lower back pressed flat against the ground during exercises that involve lowering the legs. 

3. Any abdominal coning:

Abdominal coning is a sign that your abs are not fully engaging and supporting the core properly.

If you see any bulging in the low abs or coning down the center of your core, then the exercise is too challenging and needs to be modified. 

How To Do This Stability Ball Ab Workout

Let’s get moving!

If you are a mama new to core workouts, make sure you have tested for abdominal separation and modify the exercises as needed. 

Instructions:

Perform each exercise for 45 seconds with 15 seconds rest. 

Complete as many rounds as possible in 10 minutes (or more if you feel up to it!)

1
Stability Ball Plank
2
Stability Ball Mountain Climbers
3
Stability Ball Pass Throughs
4
Stability Ball Single Leg Glute Bridge
5
Stability Ball V-Ups
6
Stability Ball Windshield Wipers
7
Stability Ball Push-Up Knee Tuck
8
Stability Ball Knee Tuck
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1. Stability Ball Planks

fit mom doing postpartum plank on stability ball

This exercise will help warm up your core and engage those core muscles.

  • Start by placing your forearms on top of the exercise ball with your knees bent on the ground. Keep those shoulders down and away from your ears.
  • Inhale and on the exhale, engage your core and pelvic floor to lift your knees off the ground into a forearm plank position. 
  • Hold this position as long as you can without letting your low back sag toward the floor or up toward the ceiling. 
  • Come back down to your knees as needed to readjust your form and repeat for the interval. 

Tips on form

  • To engage your core, think about lifting your belly button toward your ribcage, NOT sucking it

2. Stability Ball Mountain Climbers

mom postpartum doing stability ball mountain climbers
  • Place your hands on top of the stability ball, engage your core and begin in a push-up position. 
  • With your core firmly engaged and shoulders drawing down and away from your ears, slowly bring your right knee up toward the exercise ball then extend it back to the starting position.
  • Repeat on the opposite leg and continue alternating back and forth for the duration of the interval, resting and readjusting as needed.

Tips on Form 

  • Focus on using your core to keep the ball from too much movement.
  • If your back starts to sag toward the floor or you feel any pain, rest and readjust before continuing the interval.

3. Stability Ball Pass Throughs

This exercise is very deceiving and really challenges your core.

fit mom after pregnancy doing core exercises with stability ball

If it feels too challenging at first, here is a great modification. Try a couple rounds with the modification then try this version. 

  • Start on your back with your legs in the air and arms holding the stability ball straight above your face. 
  • Engage your core (think lifting the belly button and bringing your pubic bones together with your core muscles).
  • On your inhale, in one motion extend the ball behind your head and lower your feet toward the ground, keeping your low back firmly pressed against the ground.
  • Only go as far as you can without your lower back coming off the ground or coning in your core.
  • Exhale and really engage your core to bring your arms and legs back together. 
  • Pass the ball legs and on the inhale, extend your legs toward the ground holding the ball and arms behind you. 
  • Repeat passing the ball back and forth for the duration of the interval.

Tips on form

  • Once you feel your low back start to come off the ground, return to the starting position. This means your core is not as engaged. 
  • As you get stronger, you will be able to lower your arms and legs further down. 
  • Focus on keeping the core engaged the entire time and breathing through the movement. 

4. Single Leg Stability Ball Glute Bridge

This exercise works your core, and glutes!

fit mom postpartum doing stability ball exercise for glutes and core

In order to get the most of this exercise, you must really focus on engaging your core for maximum stability.

  • Start by lying on your back with your heels on the ball and arms straight down by your sides. 
  • Now lift your left foot off the ball and keep the knee bent
  • Engage your core (think pelvic tilt) as you press your right heel into the ball and squeeze your glute to lift your pelvis off the floor. 
  • Your spine should form a straight line from shoulders to glutes. 
  • Lower slowly and continue for the duration of the interval.

Tips on Form

  • Start by only lifting your as far as you can while maintaining stability.
  • Keep your core engaged during the entire movement to prevent arching or low back pain.
  • If you do experience low back pain, it could be a sign your abs are not engaged enough. Return to the starting position and try again. 

5. Stability Push-Up Pikes

This exercise will also strengthen your shoulder, chest and arms for a full body exercise.

postpartum mom doing stability ball pike exercise for core
  • Roll your body onto the ball in a push-up position with the ball under your shins. 
  • Draw your shoulders down and away from your ears and take a moment to find your stability.
  • Your abs should be engaged and no arching in your low back. Also think squeezing your glutes and quads for more stability. 
  • Now inhale and slowly push your body back to roll the ball onto your thighs. Your body should be stiff as a board. You will really need to engage your abs to prevent any sagging of your low back. Only go as far back as you can control without coning or sagging. 
    • If this step  is too challenging and you can’t keep your core engaged and back straight, then skip this part. 
  • Now exhale and in one smooth motion, use your core to pull your hips up into a pike position. The ball will roll up toward your ankles or you can go onto your toes. 
  • Hold for a breath then inhale and return to the starting positon. 

Tips on form

  • You can modify this exercise by bending your knees and bringing your knees to chest instead of piking up. 
  • Keep a lot of space between your shoulders and ears. You want those shoulder blades pulling down your back. 
  • Keep your chin inline with your arms and back, don’t crank it up or down. 
  • If you find your hamstrings are tight, try stretching them a little before the exercise. 

6. Stability Ball Windshield Wipers

This exercise emphasises the obliques and  helps build rotational strength and stability in the core, low back and hips.

Fit mom doing stability core windshield wiper exercise
  • Lie on your back with the stability ball between your feet. If this is too challenging, place the ball in between your knees. The further the ball is away from your body, the more challenging the exercise.
  • Stretch your arms out to your sides for extra support. 
  • Engage your core and on the inhale, lower your legs to one side as far as you can WITHOUT letting your back move off the floor. 
  • Exhale, and using your core, bring the ball back to center. 
  • Repeat on the opposite side and continuing back and forth, resting and readjusting as needed. 

Tips on Form

  • Focus on controlling the entire movement and don’t just let your legs fall freely. 
  • Pay attention to any coning or pressure in the pelvic floor.

7. Stability Ball Push-Up With Knee Tuck

This is the same set up as the stability ball pike except you will be adding a push-up and knee tuck.

fit postpartum mom doing pushup on exercise ball
  • Roll your body onto the ball in a push-up position with the ball under your shins. 
  • Draw your shoulders down and away from your ears and take a moment to find your stability.
  • Your abs should be engaged and no arching in your low back. Also think squeezing your glutes and quads for more stability. 
  • Inhale and lower your body as far as you can into a push-up, keeping your core fully engaged to prevent any sagging in your low back. 
  • As you return to the top of the push-up position, engage your core and draw your knees toward your chest.
  • Slowly extend them back to the push-up position and repeat, resting and readjusting as needed. 

Tips on Form

  • If you are unable to do the push-up, hold the pushup position for a few breaths then draw your knees in and out. This will also help build shoulder strength. 
  • Make sure you keep those shoulders away from your ears!

8. Stability Ball Single Leg Knee Tuck

Fit mom doing stability ball knee tuck exercise
  • Start with the exercise ball under your shins in a plank position. You can do this by kneeling in front of the ball and rolling yourself over the ball until it reaches your shins. Your hands should be shoulder width apart and directly under your shoulders.
  • Lift your right foot a few inches off the ball and pull the ball toward your chest with your left foot, driving your knee toward your chest.
  • As your left foot comes in toward your chest, try kicking your left foot back.
  • Continue this back and forth on one side for the duration of the interval then switch sides.

Tips of Form

  • This is a pretty advanced exercise that requires a lot of upper body strength as well.
  • Stop and readjust if you feel pain in your low back or sagging in your hips.
  • If this is too challenging, start with double knee tucks until you build a little more strength.

Final Thoughts On Stability Ball Ab Workouts

You may find this workout to be challenging but that is not a bad thing!

More challenging workouts can give you more motivation to improve and get stronger.

The results you get come from never giving up and telling yourself “I will figure this out!”

If you always quit during difficult workouts, you will never get the results you are looking for.

With that said, if you feel any pain, then stop, readjust or modify as needed until you get stronger.

Struggles of a Fit Mom uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within it’s articles. Read my  editorial process to learn more about how I fact-check and keep my content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

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