Yoga ball exercises are designed not just for adults but for everyone. In fact, they can be done by the entire family – a great way to combine fun, bonding, and health in the household.
In yoga, as in all other exercises, the body is the best tool you can ever have. That’s what your muscles, joints, and bones, among others, are meant for. However, some exercises can be difficult, especially for beginners. Thus, we have “reinforcements” or various pieces of equipment like yoga mats, blocks, and wheels. You can also use Swiss balls, which are awesome not only for muscle toning and strengthening but also for improving the family bond. Yes, these balls can be used by children as young as 5 years old.
Yoga Ball Exercises | Fun And Exciting Poses You Can Enjoy With Your Family
Great Fun, Great Time While Keeping Fit And Healthy
Before I get into the different yoga ball exercises you can do with your family, let me talk about the ball briefly. This ball has other names such as exercise ball, stability ball, balance ball, or Swiss ball. It’s used not only in yoga but in a wide variety of exercises that can improve your yoga performance, technique, or posture (as you’ll learn in the exercises below).
To differ the yoga ball from other types of exercise balls like medicine or Bosu ball, the former are air-filled balls made from a very strong material so they are durable and burst resistant.
They are also used for different reasons:
- Improving posture, core, and abdominal muscles by providing adequate support during exercise
- Enhancing balance while exercising various muscle groups
- Relieving back pains
For children, these yoga ball exercises can be a complement to their therapy or fitness program as they find the ball interactive, tactile, and easy to manipulate. They can also be more creative in how they work, play, or exercise with the ball.
Speaking of children, I seriously consider them when I picked these yoga ball exercises. These exercises should be easy (but not too easy you get bored quickly) and fun, as well as pose the least risk for both adults and children. Here we go:
Benefits: V-sits can help improve posture, muscles in the legs, and, most of all, the abdominal muscles and core. A strong core is essential in yoga.
Directions: Place the ball under your legs with the rest of your body flat on the floor or ground. Slowly raise your body from the ground while being supported by your arms and the ball when trying to balance. Hold for three counts and feel the contraction of the abdominal muscles before lying back again. Repeat for ten times.
2. Superman Lift
Benefits: The Superman is one of the best yoga ball exercises for the lower back, especially for the part of the spine that works tirelessly and is often strained due to prolonged sitting. For this reason, it’s ideal for parents who may have desk jobs and kids who spend a lot of time sitting in the classrooms or at home.
Directions: While lying in prone position, insert the ball in between your legs. Then raise your front body up while lifting the legs and the ball together, as if you’re Superman! Hold for three counts then repeat for ten times.
3. Side Plank
Benefits: A plank can engage many of your major muscle groups simultaneously. If you’re looking for a very quick yoga ball exercise you and your family can do, this is it. A side plank is also a yoga posture, so that is one quickly learned asana for the entire family.
Directions: With the ball steady, slowly lean on the side while extending your legs. You can either raise one of the legs or keep them close together. If you want to add some good muscle tension, however, I suggest you do the former. Hold the position for at least 10 counts.
Benefits: I am not a huge fan of push-up, but it lets you work the core, improve the alignment of your back, strengthen your arms, and tone several muscles. It also prepares you for yoga postures like sun salutations.
Directions: Get into plank position. Place your hands firmly on the ground and under the shoulders. Instead of placing your feet on the ground, lift them up onto the ball. Keep your focus on eye level. With your abs tightened, slowly bring your body down, making sure your hips are not sagging and the back remains straight. Use the ball to achieve stability while doing this exercise. Repeat for ten times.
5. Plank Pike
Benefits: Like the plank, the plank pike works many muscle groups, but it’s especially awesome for the glutes. Strong glutes prepare you for yoga postures such as Locust, Upward-Facing Dog, and Pigeon.
Directions: Get into plank position (like the initial steps of a push-up) with the ball supporting and stabilizing the lower body. Tighten the abdomen and engage the glutes and thighs as you slowly point your toes and lift your hips up. Hold for three counts. Then place the hips back down. Repeat for ten times.
6. Reverse Lift
Benefits: This is another great workout for the glutes, the arms, and the lower back, not to mention it teaches you a lot about balance.
Directions: Get into plank position. This time, let the ball support the upper body. Place a ball in between your legs. Then slowly lift your legs with the ball as high as you can without losing your balance. Hold for three counts and return to original position. Repeat for ten times.
7. Lower Back Stretch
Benefits: This is probably one of my favorite yoga ball exercises since it releases a ton of pressure on the back and shoulders. My kids love it too since they can just throw themselves onto the ball and hold.
Directions: With the ball underneath the upper body and supporting the back, stretch your legs and arms. Hold for 15 counts. If you can’t do that, especially if you have a back pain, you can sit on the floor then hug the ball as much as you can. That should also stretch your back.
8. Oblique Crunch
Benefits: Dads, if you want to get rid of the dad bod, then you have to work on those ab muscles, and this is one of the best exercises to do if you hate sit-ups and typical abdominal crunches.
Directions: Lie on the ball with your knees and feet not too far from the rest of the body, enough to keep your balance and stability. Place your hands at the back of your head or in front of your chest, whichever works for you. Then push yourself against the ball as you twist or create an oblique on each side. Start with the left, bring your body back to center, then to the right. Repeat the set for 10 times.
9. Overhead Ball Squat
Benefits: Kids spend a lot of time playing, horsing around, etc. In other words, they need excellent leg power. This is, by far, the easiest yoga ball exercise they can do.
Directions: Raise the ball above the head but level with the rest of the body. Make sure the body isn’t leaning toward the front or back. It should be at full attention and straight. Then slowly bring your body down as if you’re trying to sit on a chair. You’ll know you’re doing it right when your knees don’t extend too far from your feet.
10. Russian Twist
Benefits: A great resistance training, this engages your abdominal muscles and lets you be more adept when doing yoga twists.
Directions: Place your back against the ball while holding a smaller ball (or any weighty object) for resistance. Keep your legs and knees steady then twist from left to right. Do each set for at least ten times.
Want to make these yoga ball exercises even more fun? Then add some nice music and a bit of dance such as in this video from valeoclub:
So you can definitely have a lot of fun and maximize the health benefits of these yoga ball exercises, choose the right size for you and your kids. You can use the size chart as a guide:
There are two important things to remember: When you sit on the ball, your feet should be flat on the ground and your knees in about a 90-degree angle. Your body should not be leaning to one side whether forward or backward. For the kids, the ball should be easy to grasp by both hands. Other than that, buy those yoga balls and have some great healthy fun time as a family.
It’s never too early to get your kids interested in fitness! Get great ideas for beginners here. Have you tried using the yoga ball? I’d love to hear your thoughts.