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How to Stretch Your Entire Abdomen with a Stability Ball

When an Italian inventor started producing large toy balls made of vinyl in 1963, great abs may have not been on his mind. But once you've tried this effective and gentle tool, they'll be on yours.


  • Step 1: Sit on ball Sit upright on the ball, placing your hands on either side for balance.
  • TIP: Make sure you have plenty of room when using an exercise ball. The ball can easily get away from you when you are just learning—and avoid sharp edged furniture in the near vicinity.
  • Step 2: Lie back on ball Slowly walk yourself forward and down the ball until you are lying back on top of it, your torso parallel to the floor.
  • Step 3: Support head Interlace your fingers and put them behind your head for support.
  • Step 4: Arch back Drop your head and tailbone toward the floor, arching your back over the ball.
  • Step 5: Let elbows fall to side Allow your elbows to fall to the side.
  • TIP: Relax your abdominal muscles, letting your belly button drop toward your spine.
  • Step 6: Stretch sides Drop your right arm toward the floor when rolling onto the right side of your torso—this stretches the sides of your abdomen, your oblique muscles.
  • Step 7: Let head drop Carefully let your head drop to the floor, draping your left arm over your head.
  • Step 8: Hold 10 seconds Hold for 10 seconds.
  • Step 9: Switch sides Switch sides, using your hands to support your head as you roll onto the left side of your torso and repeat the stretch on your left side.
  • Step 10: Release stretch Release the stretch by rolling onto your back with your hands supporting your head. Tuck your chin, and walk back up to the starting position.
  • FACT: Dr. Susan Klein-Vogelbach, a Swiss physical therapist, first began using stability balls in the early 1960's, helping the nickname "Swiss ball" catch on.

You Will Need

  • Comfortable clothing
  • A stability ball
  • also known as a Swiss or exercise ball

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