Ball squats are a simple exercise to help you build muscles and tone your legs. They are easy and can be done by anyone of any fitness level.
To do this exercise:
Select an appropriate ball size. The ball should come up to a height between your knees and hips. You should choose a ball that can provide enough resistance for your workout.
- Place the ball against the wall or a flat surface and stand up with it firmly planted between the small of your back and the wall.
- Place your feet approximately one foot in front of the wall and keep them one foot away from each other.
- Hang your arms at your sides.
- Look straight ahead ensuring your head to your feet is a straight line.
- Take a deep breath then exhale as you lower your body towards the floor until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
- Hold then lift your body to the starting position.
- Repeat 10 times for one set then perform three sets between breaks.
- Another variation of ball squats is the overhead squat.
- To do this exercise:
- Raise the ball straight up above your head.
- Lower into a squat position while maintaining the ball above your head.
- Hold then return to the starting position.
- Repeat as needed.
You can also hold out the ball ahead of you with the ball against your chest.
As you lower into the squat, push the ball ahead of you until your arms are straightened completely.
What Muscles do Ball Squats Work
Ball squats target the glutes, squats, hamstrings and calves.
The glutes include the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus.
Ball squats will primarily target the gluteus maximus. This is the largest gluteal muscle. It is the muscle that gives the buttocks their rounded shape. It helps produce power.
Ball squats are some of the best exercises for glutes because they enable the biggest load to be handled by the glutes.
Doing squats provides the glutes with maximum tension during stretching contraction. This happens when you lower into the squat.
Ball squats provide stretching contraction (eccentric contraction) which is the most effective for building power and strength.
These are muscles located at the front of the thighs.
They are made of four separate muscles. The vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius, and the rectus femoris.
Each of the vastus muscles originates on the femur bone and attaches to the kneecap.
The three vastus muscles are also partially covered by the rectus femoris, which also attaches to the kneecap.
However, the rectus femoris inserts into the hip bone.
The quads provide the main support for leg extension. They also protect the knee from instability.
Wall ball squats may be limited in their range of motion so they can’t provide maximum contraction and stretching tension. However, the overhead ball squat and front ball squat can help increase your range of motion.
These are three muscles located in the back of the thigh. They are the semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and biceps femoris.
The hamstrings help stabilize the glutes during ball squats.
The hamstrings may not be as engaged as the glutes or quads during ball squats. To ensure you maintain their strength, add deadlifts to your routine.
Your calf muscles are made up of the soleus and gastrocnemius.
The calves play a stabilizing role in ball squats. They provide stability for your ankles and your legs.
BALL SQUATS BENEFITS
1. BUILD LOWER BODY STRENGTH
Ball squats help build muscle in your legs. As mentioned earlier, ball squats help increase muscle tone in the quads and glutes.
Building these muscles helps keep your knees stable and increases the load your body can withstand when walking, running or other exercises that utilize your legs.
2. BUILD JOINT STRENGTH
Ball squats help build strength in the muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments.
The squats help improve the function of your knees and ankles. Working with heavy loads helps increase bone density.
If you work out with a weighted ball, this will help improve the health of your skeletal muscular system.
3. IMPROVE FLEXIBILITY
Ball squats are a form of dynamic stretching. Adding full ranges of motions you work on the mobility and flexibility of your lower body.
If you want to improve the flexibility of your legs, you need to increase your squats.
4. INCREASED ATHLETIC ABILITY
Ball squats help improve balance, coordination, sprint speed, power and vertical jumping.
Squats are always added to athletes’ routines to increase their athletic ability.
They can also improve your athletic ability by increasing the resilience of your joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments. This reduces the risk of injury when doing athletic or daily activities.
5. IMPROVED POSTURE
Squats help align your back which can correct any postural issues you had from slouching.
6. BURN MORE CALORIES
Ball squats help recruit many muscles to perform the exercise. This ensures more calories are burnt.
Additionally, if you have muscle mass, you can burn more calories when in a rest state after doing squats.
Ball squats are a great exercise to help keep lean.
ALTERNATIVES TO BALL SQUATS
Squats can be diversified easily. If you are finding ball squats monotonous, you can add ranges of motion or switch apparatus.
You can use resistance bands, barbells, dumbbells or go back to bodyweight squats.
However, there are some alternatives to ball squats that can still give your lower body the same workout.
1. BANDED LATERAL WALK
To do this exercise:
- Place a mini-resistance band underneath your feet.
- Standing with your feet hip-width apart, ensure your knees are slightly bent.
- Engage your core and step your left foot out to the side, followed by your right. Then step back to the left.
- This is one rep.
2. ROMANIAN DEADLIFT
To do this exercise:
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
- Hold a weight in your hands, such as a kettlebell or dumbbells.
- Keep it in front of your thighs with your hands facing inward.
- With your knees slightly bent, lower the weights toward the floor by hinging your waist and pressing your hips back.
BALL SQUATS MISTAKES TO AVOID
Ensure you don’t lean your torso forward. When lowering into the squat, make sure your knees are aligned with your hips. This keeps your torso as straight as possible.
Do not raise your toes. Keep your weight on your heels. Your knees should be in line with your toes.
Do not arch your back. To avoid this, keep your shoulder blades pressed together and lift your chest. Arching your back can lead to back pain.
Drive out your knees to reduce the chance of buckling.
When rising from the squat, do not extend your back, keep your spine neutral to avoid injury.