Balancing on a stability ball forces major and minor muscles to fire like crazy. And all the moves on the following slides are unilateral—one side, then the other—adding more instability, and revealing weaker areas of the body, says Joel Seedman, an athletic performance specialist in Atlanta who designed the workout.
The basic moves may be familiar, but don’t be fooled. This is hard. Don’t ditch the sphere. Focus on balance and moving with the ball rather than fighting it. You’ll gain overall strength, allowing you to move more weight, knock out more pushups, even run more miles—all thanks to 65 centimeters of rubber.
Get to Work
To start, do 8 to 10 reps of each move; work up to 12 to 15 reps. Start with 2 rounds, working up to 3 rounds. When choosing kettlebells, divide the weight you’d normally use by 3. (So if you usually do a 45- pound Bulgarian split squat, grab a 15-pound weight.) As you progress, aim to increase reps rather than weight. Do this workout twice a week.
Expert Tip: Plus and Minus
Did we mention these moves are a doozy? Make it easier—and more effective.
Subtract shoes. All moves can be done barefoot, though #2 and #6 require it. Ditching the soles frees up small muscles in your toes and heels to grip the ground for additional balance. Plus, it contributes to ankle stability, which helps you lift, run, or run up a flight of stairs more safely.
Add a partner. Simply achieving the starting position takes practice. Ask a partner to hold the ball while you set up. If you’re using a kettlebell, he can hand it to you when you’re ready for it, too.
Subtract the weight. For your first set, lose the kettlebells. Make finding your balance the goal. (Even burly football players begin sans iron, Seedman says.) Body weight alone is plenty challenging.
Expert Tip: Foam Roll Like You Mean It
This is not the workout to half-ass the recovery. “All my clients say this circuit annihilates their glutes, hamstrings, and quads,” Seedman says. Unless you want to ease yourself into and out of furniture the next day, spend at least 10 minutes before you hit the showers rolling out the front and backs of your legs with a foam roller and stick, plus use a lacrosse ball on your butt and bottoms of your feet. Cap it with some ankle circles and shoulder rolls.