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9 New Swiss Ball Exercises for a Rock-Hard Core

by
author image Holly Del Rosso
Holly Roser is a certified personal trainer and fitness expert in New York City and San Francisco. Holly is regularly featured on top broadcasts and publications including Self Magazine, Prevention,Men's Fitness magazine, Livestrong.com, Dr. Oz, Shape, and Women's Health Magazine. In 2014, Holly created Girl Fit, a non-profit for high school students in Los Angeles, CA, focusing on motivating low-income teens to live healthy lives.

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9 New Swiss Ball Exercises for a Rock-Hard Core
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A Swiss ball is one of the most versatile pieces of fitness equipment out there. You’ve probably seen people stretching or performing sit-ups on these big, squishy rubber balls, but there’s so much more you can do with one. (No, we’re not talking about using it as a giant clown nose.) This workout will strengthen your entire body, especially focusing on your abdominals and other core muscles. Best of all, the only equipment you need to do the workout is a Swiss ball and a set of dumbbells.

1. Hamstring Curl
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1 HAMSTRING CURL

Placing your heels on a Swiss ball during this exercise recruits more muscle groups because of the lack of stability. You’ll feel the burn in your glutes (butt muscles), hamstrings (back of the thighs) and calves. THE SETUP: Lie on your back with your arms at your sides and your palms pressing into the ground. Place your feet on the Swiss ball.

How to Do a Hamstring Curl
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HOW TO DO A HAMSTRING CURL

Bring your feet toward your body as you lift your hips off the ground and squeeze your glutes. Pause, then return to the starting position. Repeat this move for three sets of 15 reps.

2. Swiss Ball Chest Press
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2 SWISS BALL CHEST PRESS

This is a great exercise to target your core, chest and shoulders. THE SETUP: Start faceup with your feet flat on the floor, your knees bent and your upper back and head on the Swiss ball. Grab a pair of dumbbells with your arms fully extended upward.

How to Do a Swiss Ball Chest Press
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HOW TO DO A SWISS BALL CHEST PRESS

Lower the weights to your chest, keeping your elbows close to your body. Hold your body in a straight line from your knees to your chest. Make sure your core is engaged the entire time. Don’t let your hands dip lower than shoulder level. Repeat for three sets of 15 reps.

3. Swiss Ball Wood Chop
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3 SWISS BALL WOOD CHOP

This exercise will target all your abdominal muscles, even the often-overlooked oblique muscles (side abs). Keep your core tight throughout the movement to protect your lower back. THE SETUP: Start with your legs wide, holding a Swiss ball with both hands. Rotate your torso to the left side while holding the Swiss ball high above your head.

How to Do a Swiss Ball Wood Chop
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HOW TO DO A SWISS BALL WOOD CHOP

Make a downward “chopping” motion toward your right knee with the Swiss ball. Allow your legs and torso to follow the ball, swiveling your legs and reversing the lunge. At the end of the move the Swiss ball should be in front of your right knee. Try three sets of 15 reps.

4. Swiss Ball Leg Lift
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4 SWISS BALL LEG LIFT

This exercise really crushes your ab area and will mix up your usual tummy-tightening routine. THE SETUP: Lie faceup on the ground. Place the Swiss ball between your feet and squeeze it so it doesn’t slip. If desired, place your hands underneath your butt cheeks for lower-back support.

How to Do a Swiss Ball Leg Lift
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HOW TO DO A SWISS BALL LEG LIFT

Use your abdominal muscles to lift your feet off the floor. At the same time, raise your upper back off the ground. To complete the rep, lower your upper back and legs, but don’t allow the Swiss ball to touch the floor. Three sets of 20 reps will leave your core burning.

5. Swiss Ball Reverse Crunch
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5 SWISS BALL REVERSE CRUNCH

The instability of the Swiss ball is going to make this exercise much tougher than your usual crunches. THE SETUP: Place your feet on top of the Swiss ball with your knees bent and your toes pointed upward. Place your hands on the back of your head to support your head and neck.

How to Do a Swiss Ball Reverse Crunch
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HOW TO DO A SWISS BALL REVERSE CRUNCH

Tighten your abs to crunch up, lifting your upper back a couple of inches off the floor. Slowly lower your torso back to the starting position. Exhale as you crunch up, and inhale as you come down. Try three sets of 25 reps.

6. Swiss Ball Glute Raise
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6 SWISS BALL GLUTE RAISE

You’ll feel this exercise in your glutes, calves and hamstrings. The unstable surface of the Swiss ball recruits more muscles and further strengthens your body. THE SETUP: Lie faceup with your knees bent and your heels on top of a Swiss ball. Place your arms on the floor by your sides.

How to Do a Swiss Ball Glute Raise
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HOW TO DO A SWISS BALL GLUTE RAISE

Lift your hips off the ground. Keep your heels on the Swiss ball with your toes pointed up. Pause, then return to the starting position. Use your arms for balance. Do three sets of 20 reps.

7. Swiss Ball Cross Crunch
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7 SWISS BALL CROSS CRUNCH

This move is reaching your oblique muscles, our least favorite area to work. Be patient: You’ll see results soon after incorporating this move into your regimen. THE SETUP: Lie faceup on the floor holding a Swiss ball in your hands. With your hands on each side of the ball and over your head, lift your right knee toward your left elbow and crunch with the ball touching your knee.

How to Do a Swiss Ball Cross Crunch
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HOW TO DO A SWISS BALL CROSS CRUNCH

Alternate sides with that same movement. Don’t let your upper body rest on the ground in between crunches. Shoot for three sets of 20 reps for the best results.

8. Swiss Ball Squat Twist
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8 SWISS BALL SQUAT TWIST

Get ready to squat! You’re targeting your legs and obliques, so focus on engaging those areas throughout the movement. THE SETUP: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a Swiss ball in front of you at shoulder height. Bend at your hips and knees to lower your body into a slight squat.

How to Do a Swiss Ball Squat Twist
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HOW TO DO A SWISS BALL SQUAT TWIST

As you squat, twist your body to the right without moving your feet. Then switch sides: Stay in your squat, but twist the ball to the left. Do three sets of 20 reps.

9. Reverse Fly on a Swiss Ball
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9 REVERSE FLY ON A SWISS BALL

Time to target your upper back and shoulders! This move strengthens and defines your back with the help of your Swiss ball and two dumbbells. THE SETUP: Lie facedown with your chest on a Swiss ball and your toes on the floor behind you. Your legs should be slightly bent. Hold a light dumbbell in each hand.

9. Reverse Fly on a Swiss Ball
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9 REVERSE FLY ON A SWISS BALL

Lift your arms to your sides like a bird. Lift as high as you can with your arms slightly bent. Slowly return the dumbbells to the ground. Do three sets of 15 reps.

What Do YOU Think?
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WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Which of these exercises are you looking forward to trying? Do you currently use a Swiss ball in your strength training? What is your favorite Swiss ball exercise? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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