30 Swiss Ball Exercises For The Upper Body, Abs, Back, And Lower Body

Medically reviewed by Dr. Sudhansu Singh, Physiotherapist
by Charushila Biswas
ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition

Adding Swiss ball exercises to your workout is like adding a catalyst to a reaction. These light and bouncy balls help you shape up by improving your balance and flexibility and strengthening your body.

Fitness coaches believe that Swiss ball exercises have a noticeable advantage over other fitness tools or training with your own body weight. You must know how to use a Swiss ball to reap all its benefits. Otherwise, you will see zero results and may injure yourself.

In this article, you will find detailed steps to do Swiss ball exercises for the upper body, lower body, and core, sets and reps, and much more. Read on.

What Is The Swiss Ball And How Does It Work?

The Swiss ball is also known as the exercise ball, gym ball, balance ball, gym ball, or pezzi ball. It is soft and comes in different sizes. It is made of elastic and filled with air. It was developed by Aquilino Cosani, an Italian plastics manufacturer, and was known as the gymnastik.

Initially, it was used for physical rehabilitation, but in the 1980s and 1990s, American therapists started using these balls in the athletic arena. Later, these balls became a key tool in the fitness industry.

The Swiss ball works by acting as a surface, weight, and workout machine. The instability of a bouncy round ball works on all the major and minor muscle groups in your body. It also adds resistance to your movement, thereby making you use muscle strength and muscle power to complete the exercise.

Swiss ball exercises work on a deep core muscle, the transverse abdominis. The benefits of adding Swiss ball exercises to your workout routine are that they help you build a strong core and get flat abs (or belly), improve balance, and reduce back and neck pain (1), (2), (3). Here are 30 Swiss ball exercises you can try out.

30 Best Swiss Ball Or Stability Ball Exercises

Always warm-up before starting any exercise. Here’s a warm-up routine for you.

Warm-Up

  • Head tilts – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Neck turns – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Arm circles – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Wrist circles – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Shoulder circles – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Waist circles – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Side lunges – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Calf raises – 2 sets of 10 reps
  • Spot jogging – 3 minutes
  • Jumping jacks – 2 sets of 20 reps
  • Ankle circles- 1 set of 10 reps
  • Standing side crunches – 1 set of 10 reps

Let’s begin with the Swiss ball exercises for the upper body.

Upper Body Swiss Ball Exercises

1. Swiss Ball Dumbbell Tricep Extension

Target – Triceps, biceps, wrist flexors and extensors, shoulders, core, and glutes.

Steps

  1. Grab the dumbbells and sit on the stability ball.
  2. Walk ahead and assume a supine position. Your upper back must rest on the ball, shins should be at right angles with the thighs, and feet flat and shoulder-width apart, in line with your knees. Keep your glutes and core engaged and hips in line with the upper back.
  3. Lift your hands above your head. Breathe in, flex your elbows, and slowly drop your forearms until the dumbbells are in line with your ears. Make sure your elbows point toward the ceiling when you flex your hands.
  4. Exhale and push your forearms up and extend your hands back up above your head.

Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 15 reps

Rest – 90 secs

2. Swiss Ball Tricep Dip

Youtube

Target – Triceps, biceps, wrist flexors and extensors, glutes, hamstrings, shoulders, and calves.

Steps

  1. If you are a beginner, push the ball to a corner and stabilize it.
  2. Sit on top of the ball and place your hands on it, right beside your buttocks. Walk your feet out and support your body on your heels and palms that are slightly pushing into the stability ball. Your shins should be at about 60 degrees with your thighs.
  3. Slowly, move your buttocks away from the stability ball and go down until they are about to touch the floor.
  4. Keeping your core engaged, get back up, and repeat.

Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 15 reps

Rest – 90 secs

3. Swiss Ball Rear Deltoid Row

Youtube

Target – Back of your shoulders, biceps, wrist flexors and extensors, hamstrings, glutes, and core.

Steps

  1. Lie on your belly on the Swiss ball. Support your lower body on your toes. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and let the weight of your body fall on the Swiss ball. Keep your neck in line with your spine.
  2. Extend your arms sideways, bend your elbows a little, and lift your arms until they are in line with your shoulders. Squeeze and contract your shoulder blades.
  3. Pause for a second and slowly lower your arms.

Sets And Reps – 2 sets of 15 reps

Rest – 60 secs

4. Swiss Ball Dumbbell Chest Press

Youtube

Target – Chest, shoulders, core, biceps, and triceps.

Steps

  1. Sit on the Swiss ball and hold a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Walk forward and rest the upper side of your back on the Swiss ball. Keep your feet flat on the ground, glutes in line with the thighs and upper body as if you are bridging. Engage your core.
  3. Hold the dumbbells at the chest level, with your arms at right angles with the forearms and palms facing forward.
  4. Exhale and press the weight up and extend your hands right above your chest.
  5. Inhale and lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.

Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 15 reps

Rest – 20 secs

5. Swiss Ball Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Youtube

Target – Shoulders, biceps, triceps, and chest.

Steps

  1. Sit on the Swiss ball. Keep your feet flat on the ground and hold a dumbbell in each hand right near the edge of your shoulders. Keep your palms facing forward, elbows in line with the chest, and core engaged.
  2. Exhale and lift the dumbbells as you extend your arms above your head. Let the two dumbbells touch.
  3. Inhale and bring the arms back down to the starting position.

Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 15 reps

Rest – 20 secs

6. Swiss Ball Decline Push-Up

Youtube

Target – Biceps, triceps, chest, upper back, shoulders, wrist flexors and extensors, and core.

Steps

  1. Roll up on a Swiss ball, walk on your hands, and roll ahead until your knees and shins are resting on the Swiss ball, and the rest of the body is supported on your palms.
  2. Keeping your core engaged and palms facing forward, push your body down by flexing your elbows until your chin is about to touch the ground.
  3. Come back up.

Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 5 reps

Rest – 60 secs

Tip: Increase the reps as you progress and become more comfortable with this exercise.

7. Swiss Ball Incline Push-Up

Youtube

Target – Biceps, triceps, chest, upper back, shoulders, wrist flexors and extensors, and core.

Steps

  1. Hold a Swiss ball and place it on the floor.
  2. Stabilize your body by placing the palms on the ball, slightly pointing outward, and extend your legs behind. Your body should be at 60 degrees with the floor. Keep your core engaged, arms extended, and toes flexed.
  3. Look at the floor and push down by flexing your elbows until your chest almost touches the ball.
  4. Push back up to the starting position.

Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 5 reps

Rest – 50 secs

Tip: Increase the reps as you progress and become more comfortable with this exercise.

8. Swiss Ball Lat Pull

Youtube

Target – Lats, shoulders, biceps, triceps, and chest.

Steps

  1. For this exercise, you need to keep your Swiss ball on the edge of a pull lift machine.
  2. Stand on the platform and grab hold of the pull handles. Sit down on the Swiss ball. Keep your feet wide apart to stabilize your body. Your palms must face each other.
  3. Sitting straight and keeping the core engaged, pull down the handles until your elbows shoot past your chest and move toward your back.
  4. Extend your arms slowly and go back up again to the starting position.

Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 15 reps

Rest – 50 secs

9. Swiss Ball Dumbbell Chest Fly

Youtube

Target – Chest, shoulders, biceps, triceps, and upper back.

Steps

  1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and sit on the Swiss ball. Place your feet flat on the ground.
  2. Flex your elbows and bring the dumbbells at the same level as your chest. Hold them as if you are going to do hammer curls.
  3. Walk out toward the front until your upper back is resting on the Swiss ball. Your feet must be flat on the ground, and buttocks lifted and in line with the rest of your body.
  4. Push your arms up, extend them fully above your chest, and keep your neck in line with your spine. This is the starting position.
  5. Bring the dumbbells down from above your chest to above the sides of your chest. Your arms should be at 60 degrees with your forearm.
  6. Push your arms back up to the starting position.

Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 5 reps

Rest – 50 secs

Tip: Increase the reps as you progress and become more comfortable with this exercise.

These were the exercises for the upper body. Now, let’s move on to the core.

Swiss Ball Exercises For The Core

10. Swiss Ball Crunches

Youtube

Target – upper abs, lower abs, middle abs, obliques, lats, and shoulders.

Steps

  1. Sit on a Swiss ball with your feet flat on the ground.
  2. Roll down by walking forward and rest your back on the Swiss ball. Support your head and neck by placing the fingertips on the sides of your head. Make sure you are pushing your back into the ball and keep your neck in line with the spine.
  3. Lift your upper body and crunch.
  4. Go back down to the starting position and repeat.

Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 10 reps

Rest – 30 secs

11. Swiss Ball Russian Twist

Youtube

Target – Obliques, core, deltoids, and lats.

Steps

  1. Sit on a Swiss ball, and keep your feet flat on the ground.
  2. Roll down and let your shoulder blades rest on the ball. Your hips should be in line with the rest of the body.
  3. Extend your hands up above the chest. Clasp them together, and start rotating first to the right and then to the left. Make sure the movement happens through your upper torso. As you do so, the ball will also move and help you stabilize the movement.
  4. After finishing your set, walk-in and return to the seated position.

Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 10 reps

Rest – 30 secs

12. Swiss Ball Knee Tuck

Youtube

Target – Core, shoulders, hamstrings, and quads.

Steps

  1. Put a stability ball in front of you on the floor. Bend down and rest your hands on the ball. Keep your knees on the ball, hands on the floor, and walk ahead on your hands until your knees and shins are resting on the ball. You are in a decline push-up position now.
  2. Keep your core engaged, head down, and hands shoulder-width apart. Roll the ball and bring your knees close to your chest.
  3. Roll the ball back and extend your legs back to the push-up position.

Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 10 reps

Rest – 30 secs

Tip: Increase the reps as you progress and become more comfortable with this exercise.

13. Swiss Ball Pike Crunch

Youtube

Target – Core, shoulders, glutes, hamstrings, and quads.

Steps
  1. This is an advanced move. Ask your trainer to help you if you are a beginner.
  2. Position the Swiss ball behind you, lift your legs and place them on the ball. Support your upper body by placing your palms flat on the floor. Lift your hips in line with the rest of your body and keep your toes pointed. This plank position is the starting position.
  3. Push your hips up towards the ceiling, drop your head, and look at your thighs. Hold this pose for 2 seconds.
  4. Push your hips down and go back to the plank position.

Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 5 reps

Rest – 30 secs

14. Swiss Ball Crossover Crunch

Youtube

Target – Core, obliques, and shoulders.

Steps

  1. Sit on a Swiss ball. Keep your feet flat on the ground. Roll down and let your lower backrest on the ball. Support your head by placing your hands behind it.
  2. Fall back on the ball, keep your core engaged, pull your upper body up, and twist to your left.
  3. Fall back on the ball, pull your upper body up, and twist to your right.

Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 5 reps

Rest – 30 secs

15. Swiss Ball Pelvic Tilt

Youtube

Target – Abs, pelvic floor muscles, and glutes.

Steps

  1. Sit on the floor and put the Swiss ball under your heels. Lie back down on the mat and align yourself. Keep your hands on the sides and palms facing down.
  2. Squeeze your glutes and pull your hips up. Go as high as you can. Hold this position for 2 seconds and then go back down.

Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 10 reps

Rest – 30 secs

16. Swiss Ball Incline Plank

Youtube

Target – Core

Steps

  1. Stand behind the Swiss ball and position your elbows on the top center of the ball and interlock your fingers.
  2. Extend your legs back and support your body on your toes.
  3. Hold this position for 30-60 seconds.

Sets And Reps – 2 sets

Rest – 60 secs

[ Read: 3 Amazing Benefits Of Bosu Ball Exercises ]

17. Swiss Ball Decline Plank

Youtube

Target – Core

Steps

  1. Bend over a Swiss ball and place your palms on the floor. Walk out on your hands until your legs are straight, and your knees and shins are on the Swiss ball.
  2. Keep your arms straight and core engaged and hold this pose for 30-60 seconds.
  3. Walk back to the initial position.

Sets And Reps – 2 sets

Rest – 60 secs

18. Swiss Ball Side Plank

Youtube

Target – Core and obliques.

Steps

  1. Kneel down and keep the Swiss ball on the right. Hold it with your right hand and stabilize it by holding it close to your pelvic region.
  2. Straighten your left leg. Keep your foot flat on the ground, and bend on your right to support and stabilize your body.
  3. Straighten the right leg, but keep it behind the left. Keep your right elbow behind the shoulders, and rest the side of your torso on the Swiss ball.
  4. Exhale and pull your body off the ball. Support your body on your feet and keep your hands on the ball. Keep breathing and hold this pose for 30 seconds.
  5. Breathe out and lower your body back to the starting position.

Sets And Reps – 2 sets

Rest – 60 secs

19. Swiss Ball V-Pass

Youtube

Target – Upper and lower abs, shoulders, glutes, quads, and hamstrings.

Steps

  1. Lie down on a mat and place the Swiss ball between your ankles.
  2. Hold the ball with the sides of your ankles.
  3. Keeping your legs straight, bring your legs toward your upper body. Simultaneously, curl your upper body up. Keep your hands extended and reach out for the ball.
  4. Pass the ball from between your ankles to your hands and lower your legs and hands, but do not let them touch the ground.
  5. Exhale and curl back up and pass the ball from your hands to between the sides of your feet.

Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 5 reps

Rest – 30 secs

20. Swiss Ball Mountain Climber

Youtube

Target – Core, obliques, quads, and glutes.

Steps

  1. Stand in front of a Swiss ball. Bend down and place your palms on it. Keep your arms shoulder-width apart, extend your legs behind, and get into a plank position.
  2. Keeping your core engaged, inhale, and bring your right knee toward your chest and then push it back.
  3. Bring your left knee toward your chest and then push it back.
  4. Do this on medium speed.

Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 15 reps

Rest – 30 secs

Doing these core exercises with the Swiss ball will help you strengthen and tone your abs. Here’s how to tone your back with the stability or Swiss ball.

Swiss Ball Exercises For The Back

21. Swiss Ball Arm And Leg Lift

Youtube

Target – Lats, deltoids, glutes, and hamstrings.

Steps

  1. Lie on your belly on a Swiss ball and support your body by keeping your arms straight and palms on the floor. Support your lower body by flexing your toes and keeping your legs shoulder-width apart.
  2. Raise your right arm and point it straight ahead. Keep your gaze down, toward the floor. Raise your left leg simultaneously, with the toes pointing out.
  3. Hold it for one second and release.
  4. Raise your left arm and point it straight ahead and simultaneously raise your right leg, with the toes pointing out.

Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 10 reps

Rest – 30 secs

22. Swiss Ball Back Extension

Youtube

Target – Lats, deltoids, rhomboids, and glutes.

Steps

  1. Kneel in front of a Swiss ball. Roll over it and bring your pelvis over the center of the ball. Keep your hands straight down and palms flat on the floor. Support your lower body on your toes.
  2. Keeping your lower back still, squeeze your glutes, and lift your right leg. Hold it for a second and lower your leg.
  3. Keeping your lower back still, squeeze your glutes, and lift your left leg. Hold it for a second and lower your leg.

Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 10 reps

Rest – 45 secs

23. Swiss Ball Superman

Youtube

Target – Middle back, shoulders, glutes, and hamstrings.

Steps

  1. Kneel in front of a wall and behind a Swiss ball.
  2. Roll over on the ball until your hips are on the top center of the ball and feet against the wall and a little wider than shoulder-width apart.
  3. Extend your right arm and then your left, and lift your upper body and go back down.

Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 10 reps

Rest – 45 secs

24. Swiss Ball Prone Cobra

Youtube

Target – Deltoids, rhomboids, and lats.

Steps

  1. Lie on the Swiss ball. Your rib cage area should be at the top center of the ball.
  2. Move your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart. Keep your toes flexed, and hands extended and a little more than shoulder-width apart.
  3. Move your arms back, pull your upper body up, and look down. Hold this pose for 10 seconds.
  4. Drop down and bring your arms back to the initial position.

Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 10 reps

Rest – 30 secs

These were the exercises for the back with a Swiss ball or stability ball. Let’s move on to Swiss ball exercises for the lower body.

Lower Body Swiss Ball Exercises

25. Swiss Ball Hamstring Curl

Youtube

Target – Hamstrings and gastrocnemius muscles.

Steps

  1. Lie down on your back on a mat. Lift your legs and tuck your lower leg so that the femur and shin are at right angles with each other.
  2. Place the Swiss ball right below your heels. Keep your hands on your sides and palms facing down.
  3. Lift your buttocks, roll the ball, and straighten the legs.
  4. Bring the legs back to the initial position and roll the ball back in.
  5. After completing the reps, lower your buttocks.

Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 10 reps

Rest – 30 secs

26. Swiss Ball Wall Squat

Youtube

Target – Glutes, hamstring, and quads.

Steps

  1. Place the ball between the wall and your back. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Squat down slowly and then get back up.

Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 10 reps

Rest – 60 secs

27. Swiss Ball Single-Leg Bridge

Youtube

Target – Glutes and core.

Steps

  1. Lie down on your back and put your feet up on a Swiss ball. Your shins should be at right angles with your thighs, and palms flat on the floor.
  2. Lift your hips so that your torso is in line with the thighs.
  3. Raise your left foot from the Swiss ball and hold this pose for 5 seconds.
  4. Lower your leg, put your foot back on the ball, and lower your hips.
  5. Bridge again and raise your right leg. Hold this pose for 5 seconds and go back to the starting position.

Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 5 reps

Rest – 30 secs

28. Swiss Ball Hip Extension

Youtube

Target – Calves, hamstrings, glutes, and lower back.

Steps

  1. Place the ball on the edge of the mat. Lie down on the floor and put your legs up on the ball. Your legs should form a 60-degree angle with the floor. Keep your arms in a ‘T’ formation and palms facing upward. Your calves and heels should rest on the ball. Ensure your toes are pointing to the ceiling, and abs are engaged.
  2. Inhale and lift your hips. Exhale and lower your hips back to the floor.

Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 10 reps

Rest – 45 secs

29. Swiss Ball Hip Raise

Youtube

Target – Glutes, hamstrings, lower back, and core.

Steps

  1. Place the ball at the edge of the mat. Lie down on the floor, extend your legs, and put them up on the ball. Keep your hands on the side and palms facing down.
  2. Inhale and push your hips up. Keep your legs straight. Hold this position for a second.
  3. Exhale and return to the starting position.

Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 15 reps

Rest – 60 secs

30. Swiss Ball Glute Kickback

Youtube

Target – Glutes, quads, hamstrings, adductors, and lower abs.

Steps

  1. Lay your body on the Swiss ball. Your belly and pelvis should be at the top center of the ball. Support your body on your palms and toes. Keep your legs a little wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Supporting your body on your palms, lift both your legs and kick back toward the ceiling.
  3. Lower your legs back to the starting position.

Sets And Reps – 3 sets of 10 reps

Rest – 45 secs

Before you start using or buy one, here’s how to choose a Swiss ball for exercising.

Which Swiss Ball Should You Choose?

Swiss balls come in different sizes. Depending on your height, choose the perfect Swiss ball.

If you are 4’11”- 5’4”  tall, you should opt for the 55 cm diameter Swiss ball. If you are 5’4” – 5’7” tall, go for the 65 cm diameter ball, and if you are 5’1” – 6’7” tall, use the 75 cm diameter ball.

Sit on the ball and check if your thighs and shins are at right angles with each other and your feet flat on the floor. Now, you are good to go and start exercising.

Conclusion

The Swiss ball is a great exercise tool to activate different muscles in the body and strengthen and tone them. Use a Swiss ball for working out, and you will start feeling the difference in just a few days’ time. Go on and add some fun element to your workout routine that will give you amazing results. Cheers!

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

Are exercise balls good for abs?

Yes, exercise balls are good for abs. You need to learn the right technique from a trained professional.

Does sitting on an exercise ball strengthen your back?

Swiss ball exercises are great for strengthening the back. However, if you have a back injury, you must do the exercises recommended by your doctor under the supervision of your physical therapist.

3 sources

Stylecraze has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.
  • The Effect of Swiss Ball Stabilization Exercise on Pain and Bone Mineral Density of Patients with Chronic Low Back Pain, Journal of Physical Therapy Science, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3820231/
  • The effects of trunk stabilization exercise using a Swiss ball in the absence of visual stimulus on balance in the elderly, Journal of Physical Therapy Science, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4968524/
  • Effects of stabilization exercises with a Swiss ball on neck-shoulder pain and mobility of adults with prolonged exposure to VDTs, Journal of Physical Therapy Science, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4434028/

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Charushila Biswas

Charushila Biswas is a Senior Content Writer and an ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist. She is an alumni of VIT University, Vellore and has worked on transgenic wheat as a part of her Masters dissertation from NRCPB (IARI), New Delhi. After completing her Masters, she developed a passion for nutrition and fitness, which are closely related to human psychology. And that prompted her to author a review article in 2015. She has written over 200 articles on Fitness and Nutrition. In her leisure time, Charushila loves to cook and enjoys mobile photography.
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