Stability Ball Workout Design: Working out with the big ball

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

Swiss ball or stability workouts are fun and effective and provide variety as part of a general exercise program. The ball workout format is the same as other workouts for personal training or group exercise. 


The workout can have a traditional resistance training format with 1-3 sets of 6-10 repetitions of each exercise, from 6-16 exercises depending on difficulty and intensity. And a 1-2 minute rest-pause between exercises. Or:

The workout can be performed as circuit training with 8-12 exercises and 30-60 seconds of each exercise (or 6-12 repetitions of each exercise) for 1-3 rounds.
All exercises should be adapted for the purpose and the person(s) working out.

Exercise suggestions

  • Squats and lunges with the ball as a prop
  • Chest and triceps via push ups
  • Lat work via roll outs
  • Back extension
  • Ab curl and oblique curl
  • Bridges and alternating superman
  • Planks and side planks

The structure may vary according to needs and preference, but here is an example of a group exercise swiss ball or stability ball class:


Part of class | Duration | Music tempo

  • Introduction | 1-2 minutes | No music
  • Warm-up | 5-15 minutes| 120-130 BPM (or no music)
  • Cardio (optional) | 20 minutes+ | 120-135 BPM (or no music)
  • Resistance exercise / balance | 20-60 minutes | 90-130 BPM (or no music)
  • Cool down / stretching | 5-15 minutes + | < 110 BPM (or no music)
  • Outro / closure | 1-2 minutes | No music

A typical swiss ball / stability ball class has no cardio section as this is not the primary focus, but it is possible to have som fun and/or challenge drills for light cardio work.

For more exercises:

Stability ball exercises (500 exercises for cardio, strength, stability and flexibility)

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