A little bit of history:

In 1963, an Italian petrochemical manufacturer by the name of Aquilino Casani perfected a way to make large puncture-resistant plastic balls. Although Casanis´s invention was not intended to be used in the health industry, physiotherapists in Switzerland started to use them for rehabilitation purposes hence the name Swiss Ball. In the early 1980´s the Swiss ball was introduced to the United States and by the late 1980´s it would make its way into the gym. Coaches, PT and many others in the fitness field felt that the Swiss ball could be used not only as a rehabilitation tool, but also for developing balance and core strength.

Well this object started out as a ¨Swiss ball¨ but you may know it or have heard of it being referred to as a balance ball, birth ball, body ball, fitness ball, gym ball, gymnastic ball, physioball, Pilates ball, Pezzi ball, sports ball, stability ball, therapy ball, or yoga ball.

Here in Sanoviv´s Fitness Center we call it stability ball.  Most of the guest/patients that come to Sanoviv have never used one before and as I mentioned, the GET STARTED fitness program is not intended to turn you into a super athlete, so our classes are easy to do but we keep in mind that the purpose is to help you improve your core strength and balance.

To effectively perform the sitting exercises on the Stability ball, it is important you know the following rules:

  1. Both feet should be flat on the floor with an even weight distribution. (it is recommended to use a yoga mat to prevent from slipping and provable injury)
  2. Knees should form a angle of 90 degrees
  3. Your upper body should not be leaning in any direction. In other words, your ears, shoulders and pelvis should be in a vertical line.

The following chart will help you know what ball size you should use.

Exercise ball diameter

Person’s height

45 cm

5′ and under

55 cm

5’1″– 5’8″

65 cm

5’9″– 6’2″

75 cm

6’3″– 6’7″

85 cm

6’8″ and taller

Helpful hint: It´s important to note that your height alone is not the only factor in determining ball size. Exercise balls are flexible and offer resistance, so weight is also an important factor. In other words, if you are larger than the average proportion, sitting on the ball will compress it down more, so I this is your case try using the next larger ball size to maintain a 90 degree and in your knees.

Are you ready to work on your balance and getting that core are stronger? Ok, let´s GET STARTED.

The exercises you are about to see, are the same ones that we do in our classes. Before you start this or any fitness program make sure to check with your doctor in case you have any injuries or medical conditions.


The first thing to learn is the basic sitting. Knees and hips should be at approximate 90 degree angles.


Sit on the ball with the spine straight and abs in.  Focus on contracting the abdominal muscles each time you roll the ball.  Repeat for a total of 20 rolls. (10 left side – 10 right side)


Sit on the ball with the spine straight and abs in.  Begin a slow march, alternating lifting the right foot and then the left.  As you get comfortable with the movement, include your arms and lift the opposite arm to the leg (left leg – right arm right leg- left arm). Repeat for 1 minute.



From a sitting position, walk feet forward while ball rolls up your back until it reaches your mid back. Make sure your knees form a 90 degree angle.


Crouch down on your feet, press your shoulder blades against the exercise ball and without moving your feet, extend your back until it is parallel to the floor and lower it back after a short pause.

Breathe out while extending and breathe in while returning to the starting position. Repeat this exercise 10 times




Lie on your shoulder blades on top of the balance ball, knees at 90 degree angles, keep your back straight and focus on keeping your balance. Breathe normally (inhale- exhale) and maintain this position from 15 to 20 seconds for beginners.


Rest your chest, abdomen and pelvis on top of your ball. Place one hand on the floor (make sure your arm is underneath your shoulder), take a deep breath and lift one arm and the opposite leg make sure both are parallel to your body (right arm – left leg). Exhale and lower both arm and leg and do the same with the opposite arm and leg. Repeat exercise 10 times (5 time’s right arm – left leg, 5 times left arm – right leg).

It´s is very important that if you’re just starting out (beginner), you only do 1 set per exercise. For intermediate/advanced perform 2-3 sets of each exercise, resting briefly in between. Remember to breathe freely and deeply throughout each exercise, and keep your abdominal muscles nice and tight. As you get stronger, gradually increase the quantity of sets per exercise.