Hip strength-training exercises on the stability ball help reduce fat and replace it with muscle. Muscle occupies less space than fat and leads to a slimmer physical appearance. Exercises with the stability ball require core stabilization and strengthen the midsection while toning the hips. The American Council on Exercise recommends using a 45-cm ball if you are below 5 feet 1 inch tall, a 55-cm ball if you are between 5 feet 1 and 5 feet 7 inches, a 65-cm ball if you are between 5 feet 8 and 6 feet 2 inches, and a 75-cm ball if you are above 6 feet 2 inches. The 2008 Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends doing two weekly strength-training sessions to achieve your goals. Combine weight training with three weekly cardiovascular workouts and a diet rich in lean protein, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, fruits and vegetables to see additional benefits. Always consult your doctor before starting a new exercise program.
Stability Ball Squats
Stability ball squats tone and tighten the hamstrings, inner thighs, glutes, abs and quadriceps. Stand with your back against a wall, walk forward 24 inches and place the stability ball behind your back and head. Straighten your back and tighten your abdominal muscles. Stack your knees over your ankles. Lower your hips toward the floor, stopping when your hamstrings are parallel to the ground. Push through your heels and stand up. Complete the number of repetitions that challenge your lower body, typically 12 to 15. Hold 5-pound dumbbells in your hands to increase difficulty. Increase the dumbbell weight if this is too easy.
Stability Ball Bridge
The ball bridge tightens the hips, lower back and abdominal muscles. Sit on a stability ball, straighten your back and tighten your stomach muscles. Walk your feet forward and lower your back and head onto the ball. Stack your knees over your ankles and position your feet hip-width apart. Lift your hips parallel to the floor. Lower your hips toward the floor, stopping before they contact the floor. Push through your heels and lift your hips to the starting position. Complete the number of repetitions that fatigue your hips, typically 12 to 15. Turn your toes outward 45 degrees to target your muscles from a different angle.
Hip Lifts with Leg Drops
This exercise strengthens the glutes, abs and hips and targets the outside of the thighs. Lie on your back and place the stability ball under your knees. Bend your legs and place your feet on the ball. Tighten your abdominal muscles. Lift your hips into a straight line with your knees, back and shoulders. Lift your right foot off the ball, straighten your leg and lift it above your right hip. Lower your hips 2 inches, push through your left heel, then lift your hips back to the starting position. Lower your right leg 3 inches toward the right, then return it to the starting position. Complete the number of repetitions that fatigue your hips, typically 12 to 15. Switch legs and repeat the exercise.
One-Legged Hamstring Curls
One-legged hamstring curls tone the hamstrings, thighs, glutes and abs. Lie on your back and place the stability ball under your feet. Tighten your abdominal muscles. Lift your hips off the floor and into a straight line with your shoulders and back. Dig your heels into the ball, then lift your right foot off the ball. Bend your left leg and pull the ball toward you. Stop before the ball touches your hips, then complete the number of repetitions that fatigue your left hip, typically 12 to 15. Switch legs and do the same.
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans
- ACE Personal Trainer Manual; The American Council on Exercise
- American Council on Exercise: Strengthen Your Abdominals With Stability Balls
- Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.