Five Ways To Upgrade Your Core Training With A Gym Ball

Woman holds plank with feet resting on a Swiss ball
(Image credit: Miljko / Getty Images)

Almost every gym has a gym ball (AKA Swiss, exercise or stability ball), but you rarely see it used. That’s a pity because it adds another dimension to core exercises.

“One of my favorite reasons for using the Swiss ball is how much it challenges your stability,” personal trainer and online coach Tess Glynne-Jones told Coach. “It means that your core is having to work that little bit harder in order to prevent you from falling over.”

“Thanks to the variation of movements you can do on the Swiss ball, you can target all aspects of the core, rather than just working on one portion, so you’re getting more bang for your buck,” she adds.

Glynne-Jones shared five of her favorite gym ball exercises on Instagram, and they’re well worth integrating into your core training. 

Most bodyweight and free-weight exercises work your core, but it’s worth spending five to 10 minutes a couple times a week on dedicated core training. That’s how Glynne-Jones recommends incorporating these moves into your training, rather than trying to do all five in one session.

She suggests working for time, moving slowly and intentionally, rather than aiming for maximum reps. “Moving slowly enables really good form. It means you’re not dumping into your lower back and giving yourself back pain,” she says.

To promote good form across all the moves, Glynne-Jones shared a form cue she uses. Imagine a piece of string attached to your bottom rib and the top of your hip, and try to avoid snapping the string by keeping the distance between your rib and hip the same throughout the movement. This will ensure your core is engaged and reduce the likelihood that you will strain your back muscles.

To make further use of the gym ball, try this exercise ball workout which challenges muscles all over your body.

Alice Porter

Alice Porter is a journalist who covers health, fitness and wellbeing, among other topics, for titles including Stylist, Fit & Well, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Grazia, VICE and Refinery29. When she’s not writing about these topics, you can probably find her at her local CrossFit box.