Swiss Ball Exercises / Gym Ball Exercises

The swiss ball (also known as a gym ball, exercise ball or fit ball) is a great piece of equipment for all types of exercise. Because it provides an unstable surface, it is particularly useful for core strengthening and adds extra difficulty to many exercises. In some cases, a Swiss ball can make an exercise easier too, for example a Swiss ball squat exercise helps maintain form for those new to squatting.

Swiss ball exercises can be done on balls of different sizes. It is important to get a ball which is the right size for your height. They tend to come in 45 / 55 / 65 and 75cm diametre sizes. People under 5ft should use the 45cm ball, those 5ft - 5ft 6" should use a 55cm ball, those between 5ft6" and 6ft use a 65cm ball and those over 6ft use a 75cm ball. Using the right size helps to ensure you are in the correct position when performing exercises and you do not put undue stress on your back especially.

Use the tabs below to select gym ball / swiss ball exercises with video demonstration, coaching points and muscles worked.

Ball crunch Ball crunch


Gym ball exercise working the abdominal muscles and stomach as well as the lower back.

Reverse plank Reverse plank


Works the core muscles, a slightly easier version of the plank ball exercise.

Back extension Back extension


Works the extension muscles of the lower back in particular. Core muscles and glutes are involved.

Roll away Roll away


Works the core muscles and abdominal muscles. Ideal beginners core exercise.

Jackknife Jackknife


A more advanced Swiss ball exercise which works the abdominal muscles.

Side crunch Side crunch


Gym ball exercise for working the side muscles in particular the obliques and quadratus lumborum.

Ball rotation Ball rotation


Gym ball exercise working the lower abdominal muscles and the oblique muscles.

Plank Plank


Plank exercise with a gym ball adds an extra dimension of difficulty to this popular core exercise.

Woodchop Woodchop


Swiss ball exercises which focus on the oblique muscles involved in twisting.

Push-up Push-up


A more difficult variation of the good old press up or push up exercise. Works the chest muscles.

Reverse push-up Reverse push-up


The reverse push up gym ball exercise is easier than a wall push up but harder than a standard ball press up.

Wall push-up Wall push-up


The easiest of the gym ball push up exercises which work the chest muscles.

Tricep-dip Tricep-dip


Tricep dip press up exercise works the backs of the upper arms or triceps.

Swiss ball squat                 Swiss ball squat


Swiss ball squat is a way of making the squat exercise easier with support from the gym ball.

Hamstring curl Hamstring curl


Works the hamstring muscles, glutes and lower back.

Single leg squat Single leg squat


Progression from the wall squat exercise using just one leg for more difficult.

Inner thigh Inner thigh


Gym ball exercise working the groin muscles. Knees bent works the short adductors.

Swiss ball lunge Swiss ball lunge


Using a gym ball for support can make the lunge exercise a little easier.

Reverse ball bridge Reverse ball bridge


Reverse bridge swiss ball exercise works the lower back and glute muscles.