When it comes to weight loss, any accessory that’ll help burn more calories is beneficial.
One such accessory is the swiss ball, an underrated yet versatile fitness equipment that adds extra core activation by default, hence amping up the number of calories you can burn in a workout.
The best 19 swiss ball exercises for weight loss are:
- Incline push ups
- Decline push ups
- Plank to pike
- Tricep dip
- Glute bridge
- Single-leg glute bridge
- Wall squat
- Overhead squat
- Lying hamstring curl
- Arm and leg lift
- Reverse hyperextension
- Incline plank
- Decline plank
- V-sit ups
- Around the world
- Knee tuck
- Mountain climber
We’ll cover these exercises in more detail below and show you how to perform them correctly so you can reap the benefits of using a swiss ball to burn more calories in your workout.
Weight Loss: Quick Overview
There’s one important thing we need to mention before we start getting into the swiss ball exercises.
While exercising can help you lose weight, it does need to be accompanied with a caloric deficit.
That means, you need to be eating fewer calories than what your body burns to promote weight loss.
So while these swiss ball exercises are a great way to burn calories and assist in contributing to a deficit, nutrition and diet play an integral role in reaching your weight loss goal.
For more resources on weight loss nutrition, check out our guides on:
- Does “If It Fits Your Macros” Work For Weight Loss?
- Should You Cut or Bulk First If You’re Skinny Fat?
- Can Eating At Home Help You Lose Weight?
Swiss Ball Exercises For Weight Loss: 19 Workout Examples
Upper Body Swiss Ball Exercises For Weight Loss
1. Incline Push Ups (Hands On Ball)
- Begin by balancing your upper body on the swiss ball with your toes on the ground. Keep your body straight with your hands directly beneath your shoulders, arms straight.
- Engage your core, glutes and quads.
- Slowly, bend your elbows to a 45-degree angle to work the chest, or keep them tucked in close to your body for a tricep-dominant push up. Either way, try to keep your body as stable as possible.
- Once you’ve lowered yourself as far as you can go, push yourself back up in an explosive movement.
- That’s one rep. Now, repeat.
Related Article: Hip Adductor Exercises: 10 Must-Do Exercises
2. Decline Push Up (Feet On Ball)
There’s another method of executing a push up using a swiss ball that you can also use in your workout routine.
- Place both your hands on the ground, wrists directly underneath your shoulders with your arms extended. Balance your lower body on the swiss ball, with your legs straight. The ball should be on your shins.
- Brace and engage your core, quads and glutes.
- Slowly, lower yourself into a push up. Get as close to the ground as possible while keeping your body straight. Try not to arch your back.
- When you’ve reached your full range of motion, push back up to the starting stance.
3. Plank To Pike
- Begin this exercise in a high plank position. This means that you’re supporting your body on your hands instead of your forearms, with your wrists beneath your shoulders and arms nice and straight.
- Your lower body should be up and balanced on the ball tucked under your ankles. Keep your glutes, quads and core engaged, with your legs straight.
- This is the plank position. Now, roll the ball towards you, shooting your hips nice and high. You should roll the ball under the top of your feet until you are on your toes and your upper body is in as close to a straight vertical line as possible.
- Slowly, roll the ball back over your feet and lower your hips into a straight line so that you are back in the high plank position.
4. Tricep Dip
- Sit on the swiss ball and place your hands behind you, with your fingers pointing towards you.
- When you’re ready, lift your hips off the ball and take a step forward with both feet, so only your hands are in contact with the ball. Ensure that your feet are shoulder-width apart, toes pointing forwards.
- Descend into a drip, bending at the elbows. Lower your body towards the ground until your glutes are near the floor or you’ve reached as low as you can go. Make sure that you’re really bracing here and squeezing your abdominal muscles to keep yourself stable.
- Push back up until your arms are nearly extended and then repeat.
Notes: If you need help with stability, then push the ball against a wall while doing this exercise. You’ll still need to engage your core but the wall adds extra support to ease the difficulty.
Lower Body Swiss Ball Exercises For Weight Loss
5. Glute Bridge
- Place your back on the ground, facing up towards the ceiling. Bend your knees and place your feet on the swiss ball. Your feet shouldn’t be on the top part of the ball but a little to the side closest to your body.
- Place your arms by your side.
- Thrust your hips up, balancing your lower body on the ball. Keep your knees out as you do so.
- When you reach the top position, squeeze your glutes.
- Lower back down to the starting stance and repeat.
6. Single-Leg Glute Bridge
- Assume the starting position as you would with the glute bridge in the previous exercise. However, instead of both feet balancing on the ball, we are going to do the unilateral version. Keep the working foot on the ball with your knee bent, back on the ground. Hold the other leg in the air and your arms are by your side.
- Brace and lift your hips up so that your body forms a straight line. You’re going to have to engage your core even harder for this exercise for extra stability. Squeeze your glutes.
- Come back down by lowering your hips.
- Complete all the reps on the one side before switching to the other leg.
7. Wall Squat
- Stand with your back towards a wall with the swiss ball in between. The ball should be in the small of your back. Gently push your bodyweight into the ball to hold it in place. Ensure that your body is facing forwards, with your feet in your normal squat stance.
- Bend at the knees and squat down, rolling the ball between your back and the wall as you do so. Make sure that your hips aren’t moving forward and that you’re sitting back into the squat.
- When you’ve reached the bottom position, stand back up.
- That’s one rep. Now, repeat until you’ve completed your set.
8. Overhead Squat
- Stand with your feet planted firmly into the ground, toes pointing slightly outwards, shoulder-width apart.
- Hold the swiss ball with both hands in front of you.
- Press the ball up overhead, keeping your arms close to your ears. Be careful not to arch your back in the position by tucking your pelvis in.
- Take a deep breath and brace. Then, lower yourself into a squat. Keep your hips back and knees out while the ball remains in an overhead position.
- Aim for your thighs to be parallel to the floor at the minimum. However, it’s okay if that’s not possible yet; depth is something that you can always work on.
- When you’ve reached your squat depth, drive through your heels and push yourself back up to the starting form.
9. Lying Hamstring Curl
- Lie on the floor on your back, facing the ceiling. Keep your heels on the swiss ball with your legs straight and arms by your side.
- Drive your hips up so that your body makes a straight line, from your head to toes. Only your upper body should be in contact with the ground.
- Squeeze your core and lower body as you bend your knees, rolling the ball close to your body.
- Roll the ball back out by straightening your legs, back to the starting position. Remember, to keep your hips up the entire time.
- That’s one rep. Now, repeat until you’ve completed your set.
Back Swiss Ball Exercises For Weight Loss
10. Arm And Leg Lift
- Lie on the swiss ball on your stomach, facing downwards, toes touching the ground. Your arms should be straight and wrists supporting you on your floor, directly beneath your shoulders. Bend your legs and tuck your toes under.
- Engage your core.
- Simultaneously lift your left arm up so that it straight in front of you while also extending your right leg straight out behind you. Ensure that both limbs are parallel to the ground.
- Hold this position for a moment then bring them back down to the starting position.
- Do this using your opposite arm and leg.
- That’s one rep. Now, repeat until you complete your set.
- Position the ball with enough distance from a wall so that your toes are touching the wall with your legs completely straight. You need to also be resting comfortably with your stomach on the ball. You can keep your hands extended in front of you or cross them behind your head.
- Bend at the hips so your upper body drops down. However, ensure that you keep your body tight; don’t lose tension here.
- Then, engage your back, hamstring and glutes and bring your body back up so you form a straight line. Your lower body remains still.
- Hold the top position for a moment.
- Go back down and repeat.
12. Reverse Hyperextension
- Lie on your stomach on the ball then roll it down until it sits comfortable in your hip crease. Lower your upper body towards the ground so that your forearms are on the floor with your fingers interlocked.
- Keep your legs straight behind you as you drive the legs up. Go as high as you can, working that lower back.
- Pause for a moment in the top position.
- Slowly lower your legs back down, ready for the next rep.
Core Swiss Ball Exercises For Weight Loss
13. Incline Plank
- Position your forearms on the top of the ball and clasp your hands together. Your legs should be straight out behind you, toes on the ground.
- Lift your hips up enough so that your body forms a straight line.
- Engage your core and hold this position for 30-60 seconds.
14. Decline Plank
- Place your palms on the floor, fingers pointing forwards. Ensure that your wrists are directly below your shoulders.
- Place one leg up on the ball, making sure it’s on your shin. Then, when you have your balance, prop the other leg on the ball as well.
- Keep your hips up so that there is a straight line from your head to toes. Face downwards towards the ground.
- Hold this position for 30-60 seconds.
Notes: For an even bigger decline, instead of supporting your upper body in a high plank position, instead assume a forearm plank stance so that you’re on your forearms instead. However, it’s still pivotal that you keep your hips up to create that straight line with your body.
15. V-Sit Ups
- Lie on your back on the ground with your legs straight and your arms overhead. Hold the swiss ball with your hands, keeping your arms as close to your ears as possible.
- Engage your core and simultaneously lift your upper body and legs off the ground.
- Transfer the ball from your hands to your feet, gripping it tightly.
- Lower back into the starting position, with your arms overhead and legs straight, only with your legs holding the ball this time.
- Then, repeat, passing the ball back to your arms as you crunch.
- Keep transferring the ball back and forth until your set is complete.
- Sit on the swiss ball with your toes pointing forwards, shoulder-width apart.
- Walk forwards with your feet as you roll down the ball until your back is on it and you’re facing the ceiling.
- Place your arms behind your head with your elbows pointing out so that your neck is supported.
- Squeeze your abdominal muscles as you crunch up.
- Hold the top position for a moment.
- Return to the lying position and repeat.
17. Around The World
- Get into a forearm plank position with your feet on the ground but your elbows supported by the swiss ball. Clasp your hands together for support.
- Squeeze your core, glutes and quads. Keep your upper body tight as well to maintain a strong, stable position.
- When you’re ready, slowly move your forearms in a clockwise direction. It doesn’t have to be a large circle; start off small first. As you do this, ensure that you’re engaging your core.
- After you complete your reps circling in a clockwise direction, switch to do the same number of reps circling in a counter-clockwise direction this time.
- Once both sides are done, rest.
18. Knee Tuck
- Place both your hands on the ground, fingers pointing forwards, arms straight. Ensure that your wrists are directly beneath your shoulders. Your legs should be balancing on the swiss ball on your ankles. Keep your core tight and your hips up.
- Bend your knees and tuck them into your body, rolling the ball towards you. Make sure that your hips remain up as you do so.
- Once you’ve tucked your knees in as far as you can, extend your legs out straight again, so that you’re back in the starting position.
19. Mountain Climber
- Assume a high plank or forearm position on the swiss ball (whichever you prefer). Keep your toes on the ground. If you’re in a high plank, ensure your wrists are directly beneath your shoulders and that both your arms and legs are extended. If you’re in a forearm plank, you can interlock your fingers but keep your legs extended behind you as well.
- Squeeze your abdominal muscles and bring one knee into your chest.
- Extend the leg to bring the foot back to the ground. Then, bend the other knee and tuck it into your chest.
- Repeat, alternating the knees to chest.
Notes: As you improve and become more confident in swiss ball mountain climbers, you can increase the speed in which your switch knees until you extend one leg back while simultaneously tucking the other knee in.
If you would like more swiss ball exercises to help with your weight loss goal, then check out the FitBod app. FitBod will generate a customized training plan for you, using the swiss ball as your main accessory.
As you can see, the number of exercises you can integrate with the swiss ball are endless. It’s such a versatile, flexible accessory. Not only that, but it’s so beneficial for weight loss thanks to the instability it provides and the subsequent need to activate your core muscles even more, hence burning more calories! However, bear in mind that while these 19 lower body, upper body, back and core swiss ball exercises are great to do to lose weight, you need to ensure that you pair this with a calorie deficit in your nutrition to see the best results.