Not enough time to go to the gym? An inexpensive exercise ball is all it takes to do a full body workout at home. We’ve rounded up 10 squat exercises you can do with a fitness ball. From beginner to advanced athlete, there is an exercise here for everyone.
All of these are body weight exercises that can be modified to fit your fitness level. For the perfect leg workout, see if you can get through the entire list doing 10 repetitions of each.
1. Squat to ball and stand
This is a good warm up exercise to do before you get into squat variations. Start by standing in front of the ball with feet, hips and shoulders facing forward. Squat down towards the ball using proper air squat form. Try to sit back into the ball without letting your knees pass over your feet. Then spring upwards while pushing your knees outward and keeping your back straight.
Complete 10-15 repetitions before moving on to the more advanced exercises. You can add light dumbbells to get a more intense workout.
2. Exercise Ball Air Squat
Another simple exercise is the fitness ball air squat. With this workout, you want to use the same positioning you would in a regular air squat. Move slowly and focus on proper form.
You want to keep your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms stretched out in front. Holding the swiss ball outward will help engage your shoulders and core. Squat down towards the floor as far as you can comfortably go and rise up slowly.
3. Wall Ball Squats
Wall ball squats are similar to the previous two, but they allow you to shift your weight much further back. Start with your feet out 6-10 inches in front of your shoulders. The ball should be resting on your lower back right above the glutes.
Squat back as the exercise ball rolls down the wall. With this type of squat aim to hit 90 degrees of flexion. To make this workout more challenging, add some small weights to your arms and hold them out in front.
4. Single Leg Wall Ball Squats
Single leg squats are a more advanced moment because they require balance and concentration. Just like the previous exercise, start with your feet 6-10 inches in front of your shoulders. Lean back into the fitness ball with it located on your lower back.
Very slowly, lift one leg off the ground and start to squat down on the other. This exercise will probably take quite a bit of practice to achieve. You can start with smaller squats and move deeper as you feel more comfortable.
This workout is also a great transition into learning CrossFit Pistol Squats because it will help you work the same muscle groups required.
5. Exercise Ball Overhead Squats
Overhead squats are more difficult than they look because they require a lot of shoulder and ankle flexibility. Don’t be discouraged if you can only go down a short ways in the beginning. The biggest thing to focus on is keeping your arms, head and shoulders upright.
Start by standing in a straight position with your arms holding the exercise ball overhead. Sit back and squat down just like an air squat. You don’t want to bend too much at the core. If the ball starts falling forward, rise back up and try again.
It’s normal to not be able to squat all the way to 90 degrees when you’re first starting out. Chances are, you’ll want to stretch your shoulders and ankles more to help you achieve this movement.
6. Modified Bulgarian Split Squat
Bulgarian split squats are a great way to workout your quads, hamstrings, butt and core. Traditionally, a Bulgarian split squat is performed with your back leg resting on a box or bench. With this modified version, you’ll swap out the box for a fitness ball and get an even more advanced workout.
Start by standing with the ball 12-24 inches behind you. The further back you place the ball, the more balance is going to be required.
Slowly squat down on the standing leg. You’re really going to feel the core and stabilizer muscles engage here. If it’s your first time, do a few reps to get comfortable with the movement. If you’re a more advanced athlete, try to work towards 10-15 repetitions per leg. To make the workout even more difficult, add some some hand weights.
7. Modified Pistol Squat
Perhaps the most advanced movement on this list is the modified pistol squat. Pistol squats require you to hold one leg out front, while doing a single leg squat on the other. In this modified version, you’ll place one leg on the ball in front of you and try to squat down to 90 degrees using your standing leg.
Be forewarned, this moment will take a lot of practice!
Balancing both the exercise ball and yourself is going to be the most difficult part. Remember to concentrate hard and do this workout in a place without any distractions. If this movement comes easy to you, try to hold the bottom of the squat for a few seconds before moving back up.
8. Fitness Ball Side Lunge
Side lunges are the perfect way to work out your hips and outer thigh muscles. Place the fitness ball at your side with one leg angled outward. Make sure the leg that is on the ball stays straight, it will help give you better balance.
Squat down on the standing leg as far as you can comfortably go while keeping proper form. You want to push your knee outward and keep your head and shoulders upright. If you start to fall forward, you are squatting down too far.
Try to complete 10-15 repetitions on each side.
9. Partner Back Squat
If you’re working out with a partner, this is a fun variation on the wall ball air squat. Having an unstable surface at your back will engage even more muscles and keep your focus on balance and good form.
Just like a wall squat, lean back into the ball towards your partner. Squat down together; remembering to push your knees out and keep your body upright. If you start to lean too far forward, your partner is immediately going to notice so it’s a good way to keep each other accountable!
10. Squat Hold With A Twist
The last exercise to perform is a squat hold with a twist. This workout is going to make you feel the burn faster than expected. Hold the fitness ball in front of you with arms stretched out. Squat down to 90 degrees of flexion and hold that position.
Then when you feel comfortable holding the squat, slowly twist the ball from side to side 10 times (if you can!) Try to complete this exercise three times.
You should feel the twist working out your core, and your legs will feel the burn! If it’s too easy, swap the ball out for a weighted medicine ball. If it’s too hard, cut down on the number of twists per set.