Best 11 Stretching Exercises with the Big Ball

Get ready to bounce your way to flexibility with the ‘Best Stretching Exercises with the Swiss Ball’! In this quick guide, we’re rolling out some fun and effective ways to enhance your stretching routine. Perfect for beginners and pros alike, these ball exercises are your ticket to a more enjoyable and dynamic workout. Let’s roll!

The Big Ball is not only one of my favorite tools for boosting stability and strength but also excels in stretching exercises, making it a fantastic choice for increasing flexibility. Its simplicity and effectiveness are unmatched! The range of motion you achieve with this ball surpasses any other small home equipment you might have, particularly when it comes to stretching exercises. Whether you’re looking to enhance your stability, strength, or flexibility, the Big Ball’s versatility in stretching exercises is sure to meet your needs.

The ball adds a flowing, almost relaxing motion to your workouts – a real joy for many! It’s my top pick for home exercise gear, offering great value. Just a little spending opens up a world of unexpected exercises. Curious for more? Dive into my YouTube video from a few months ago, where I explore a fun variety of exercises with this fantastic ball

It’s becoming increasingly clear that more people are recognizing the value of stretching, which has inspired me, as a fitness expert, to spread my insights on the subject. I’ve selected my top 11 favorite stretching exercises with the ball for you. This collection of smooth, flowing stretches is designed to enhance your flexibility, posture, boost your circulation, and generally make you feel great.

All you need is a quality ball… and let’s get moving! 😉

Stretching Exercises with the Swiss Ball

Ball Stretch Exercise #1: Pelvic Tilt and Circles

Why? This easy yet effective mobility exercise is perfect for loosening your hips and back. Next time you’re on the ball, try tilting and circling your hips – your back will be grateful!

Movement: Begin by sitting on the ball with your feet placed on the ground in front of you, hip-width apart. Place your hands on your hip bones. Gently tilt your pelvis forward and back, feeling the ball roll underneath you. Next, move from side to side; lift your hip from right to left. Finally, combine these movements into circular motions. Do 3-4 circles in each direction.

Technique and Key points:

  • Isolate the lower body:Focus on moving only your lower body. Ensure that the movement is concentrated in the hips, separating it from the torso.
  • Keep the upper body stable: Avoid any forward and backward rocking motions with the upper body.
stretches with the big ball
Forward Pelvic Tilt
stretches with the stability ball
Backward Pelvic Tilt

Ball Stretch Exercise #2: Side to Side

Why? Experiencing such a delightful stretch on the ball is surprisingly simple! The side-to-side movement of your body in sync with the ball maximizes the range of motion, making for a gentle and effective back stretch.

Movement: Position yourself on the ball with your feet spread wide in front. Rest one hand on the ball and extend the other arm up and over your head. Let the ball roll to the side opposite of where your body is stretching. Then, alternate to the other side. Establish a comfortable rhythm, exhaling into the side stretch and inhaling as you transition to the opposite side.

Technique and key points:

  • Extend your arm long, reaching far up and over to the side.
  • Let the ball roll from side to side.
  • If you feel unstable, spread your feet further apart. The wider they are, the more stability you’ll have, and vice versa.
stretching with the ball
stretching exercises using the big ball

Ball Stretch Exercise #3: Seated Hip Flexors Stretch

Why? A comfortable and effective way to stretch your hip flexors from a seated position. If you use the ball as a chair while working at your desk, you can easily transition into a ‘stretching break’.

Movement: Sit sideways on the ball as if in a lunge position. Tilt your pelvis backward (with your tailbone tucked under) while extending back through the heel. You should feel a nice, gentle stretch at the front of your hip.

Progression: Reach the arm (on the same side as the stretching leg) back and over your head.

Technique and key points:

  • Ensure that your hips are squared to the side.
  • Maintain an upright posture and avoid leaning forward.
  • Avoid hyperextending (arching) the lower back. Keep your pelvis tucked under to achieve a better stretch.
hip flexors stretch with ball
Seated Hip Flexors Stretch
stretching on the big ball
Progression: reach the arm up and back

Ball Stretch Exercise #4: Standing Spine Rotation

Why? I do this exercise quite frequently because it feels amazing. Whenever my back feels tight or stuck, this is my go-to move. It’s important, though, to get the starting position just right for it to be effective.

Movement: Begin by standing with your feet set wide apart, wider than shoulder-width, and the ball positioned in front of you. With your knees slightly bent, hinge forward at the hips (keeping your spine straight) and place your right hand on the ball. Leave your left arm open to the side. From this position, roll the ball to the side (towards your left) and open your left arm up towards the ceiling, entering into a rotation. Return to the center and repeat on the other side. Alternate sides 3-4 times.

Technique and key points:

  • Ensure that before you rotate your spine, your back is in a neutral, flat position, similar to a tabletop, without any flexions.
  • If you find it challenging to keep your back neutral before rotating, bend your knees more and aim your tailbone back (in other words: stick your buttocks out).
stretching with the big ball
Starting position- Standing Spine Rotation
stretching with ball - spine rotation
Standing Spine Rotation

Ball Stretch Exercise #5: Cobra Stretch

Why? This exercise excels in enhancing spine mobility and stretching the entire front of your body. It’s akin to performing the Cobra stretch on the floor, if you’re familiar with it. Performing this stretch on the ball creates an angle that can reduce pressure on your back while still providing an effective frontal body stretch.

Movement: From a prone position on the ball, with your feet widely spaced behind you, place your hands on the ball in front of your hips. Lift your chest as high as you’re comfortable with. Hold this position for a few seconds, then bend your arms and lower your chest back down over the ball. Repeat this 3-5 times.

Techniques and key points:

  • Slightly bend your knees to ease the strain on your back.
  • To intensify the stretch, try straightening your knees.
stretching exercises with stability ball
Cobra Stretch

Ball Stretch Exercise #6: Prone Twist Stretch

Why? Rotational spine movements are incredibly soothing for the back. They help to release tension and open up the area. You might even hear some ‘popping’ sounds during the process. The feeling of relief afterwards is even more satisfying – it’s just wonderful!

Movement: Start in a prone position over the ball, with your hands on the floor in front and your feet set wide apart behind you. Place one hand directly in front of you in the center, and open the other arm up and back into a spine rotation, turning your body sideways. Then return to the center and switch to the other side. Alternate between the right and left sides.

Technique and key points:

  • Inhale as you open the arm and rotate the spine, and exhale as you close the arm.
  • If the ball is too large to the extent that you can’t touch the floor with both hands and feet, then either skip this exercise or do it without the ball from a kneeling position.
stretching exercises with the yoga ball
Prone Twist Stretch

Ball Stretch Exercise #7: Kneeling Chest Stretch

Why? This exercise is excellent for enhancing posture. It’s particularly beneficial for counteracting the forward slouching that often results from long hours sitting at a desk, holding a baby, and similar activities.

Movement: Start in a kneeling, all-fours position with the ball at your side. Place one arm over the ball, forming a 90-degree angle at both the elbow and shoulder. Keep your chest squared off to the ground, and bend your supporting arm, attempting to lower your chest closer to the ground. You should feel a gentle stretch in the chest and shoulder of the arm that’s resting on the ball.

Technique and key points:

  • Maintain the stretch for 10-30 seconds, and then repeat on the opposite side.
chest stretch with the big ball
Kneeling Chest Stretch

Ball Stretch Exercise #8: Kneeling Lat Stretch

Why? One of the muscles that can become shortened due to poor posture is the Latissimus Dorsi, commonly referred to as the ‘Lat.’ This stretch will assist you in opening up the front of your body and achieving a more upright position.

Movement: Start from a kneeling position with the ball right in front of you. Place the back of your hands on the ball, with your palms facing up. Roll the ball forward, hinging at the hips until your trunk is parallel to the ground, resembling a tabletop. Continue reaching forward with your arms. If your Lat muscles are tight, you should already be experiencing the stretch along your sides.

Technique and key points:

  • Gently tuck the tailbone under and avoid arching or sinking in the lower back.
  • Maintain the palms of your hands facing upward.
  • You can place your forehead on the ball while holding the stretch.
upper body stretch with the swiss ball
Kneeling Lat Stretch

Ball Stretch Exercise #9: Kneeling Hip Flexors to Hamstring Stretch

Why? Another group of muscles that often become tight, particularly when sitting for extended periods, are the Hip Flexors. Tight Hip Flexors can contribute to back problems. The large ball provides support for the upper body during this exercise. If you don’t have a ball, you can also perform this stretch using a chair, couch, or any stable surface to lean on.

Hip flexors stretch:

  • Open your chest and maintain an upright position.
  • Avoid leaning the chest over the ball.
  • Variation: For those who are more flexible, try bending the back knee, grabbing your ankle, and gently pulling it toward your buttocks. This also stretches the quadriceps muscles at the front of your thigh.

Hamstring Stretch:

  • Maintain a neutral spine with no flexion.
  • To increase the stretch, flex your foot by lifting your toes up toward your shin.
stretching exercises with ball
Hip Flexors Stretch
stretching with big ball
Hamstring Stretch

Ball Stretch Exercise #10: Kneeling Quads and Hip Stretch

Why? This stretch targets the entire front chain of your body, including the quads, hips, abs, chest, and front of the shoulders. If you find this stretch to be too intense, feel free to skip it.

Movement: Start from a kneeling position with your knees apart and the ball right behind you. Lean back and over the ball, with your arms either supporting your head or reaching back and over your head. Hold the stretch for as long as you are comfortable.

Important: If you feel dizzy when leaning backward over the ball, consider modifying as described above or discontinue the stretch.

Technique and key points:

  • The closer the ball is to you (behind you), the greater the spine extension (arch) required to lean back over it. Therefore, you may need to position the ball further away from you to adjust according to your flexibility.
  • If your hip flexors and/or thighs are very tight, you might find yourself over-extending your lower back as a compensation. Ensure that you tilt your pelvis backward (by pulling the pubic bone up towards your belly button) and adjust the position of the ball accordingly.
stretching exercises with the big ball
Kneeling Quads and Hip Stretch (head supported)
stretching exercises with the gym ball
Kneeling Quads and Hip Stretch

Ball Stretch Exercise #11: Middle Back and Abdominal Stretch

I saved the best for last 😉

Why? This exercise is exclusive to the big ball, and it allows you to perform an extension movement backward and over that’s only possible with this size of ball. It can also serve as a modification for the previous exercise if being on your knees is not possible. While this variation won’t stretch the thighs like the previous one, it offers significant benefits for your back.

Movement: Start by sitting on the ball, then walk your legs forward to lower your hips and roll backward until you are lying over the ball. Extend your arms overhead. You can gently rock yourself back and forth by pushing off with your legs.

Important: To return to a sitting position on the ball, start by lifting your head, followed by your chest. Simultaneously, walk your feet backward until you are sitting upright on the ball. You can use your hands on the ball for additional support if necessary.

Modification: Another way to perform this stretch is by sitting on the ground with your hands positioned behind your head for support, then lean back over the ball. If you feel unstable or dizzy while standing, as in the first variation, try this seated option.

Technique and key points:

  • Breathe deeply.
  • Stay in this position for approximately 10-30 seconds.
  • Keep your glute muscles relaxed.
  • To increase the stretch, gradually straighten your legs.
stretching on the stability ball
Middle Back and Abdominal Stretch
stretching on the big ball

In the Home Stretch…

In conclusion, incorporating stretching exercises with the ball into your routine adds a layer of fun and effectiveness. These exercises, specifically designed to be performed with a big ball, are not only beneficial for enhancing your flexibility and mobility but are also enjoyable. So, grab your big ball, dive into these stretching exercises with the ball, and transform stretching into a delightful part of your daily regimen. Your body will certainly thank you for it!

Join me in following along with these stretching YouTube videos 😉