Stability Ball Exercises: Dolphin

The stability ball is a versatile piece of exercise equipment that can add additional challenges to exercises you usually perform without the ball. However, it also allows you to perform a number of exercises much differently than you would without the ball. The dolphin is one such exercise.

The Targeted Muscles

The dolphin strengthens and tones the muscles in the buttocks and the lower back, specifically the glute muscles. The abdominal muscles, the shoulder muscles and the upper back muscles will also receive a bit of a workout.

Dolphin Basics

Position your stability ball on a non-slippery, flat surface. You may consider placing it on a yoga or gym mat or an even expanse of grass in order to better absorb the shock of your movement and help keep the ball steady and under your control.

  1. Face the stability ball and gently position yourself over it. The ball should roll into the curve you make as you bend over, with your hips positioned at the very top of the ball. Your elbows and forearms should touch the ground on the opposite side of the ball and your hands should hold each other in fists and be positioned about a foot below your head. Your legs should stretch out backward as far as they will go, with your toes resting on the ground and with the feet touching one another.
  2. Keep your upper body, neck and head straight throughout this exercise.
  3. Lift your legs together slowly, rolling them up as far as they will go, toward you and the stability ball. Tighten your buttock muscles in order to support the legs. You should arch your back inward once they reach the top. Keep your core straight and your feet together.
  4. Hold the feet in the air for a few seconds.
  5. Slowly roll the feet back down to the ground, keeping the feet together. You can relax your buttock muscles as they reach the ground.
  6. Pause and repeat for at least 10 reps.

Safety Tips

Do not place your stability ball on a slippery or non-solid surface, such as a carpet or rug. Work through the stretch slowly, especially at first, so that you don’t lose your balance on the ball or pull a muscle by moving too quickly. Make sure you have a stable position on the ball by keeping your forearms solidly on the ground and your core and neck straight during the exercise. Do not forget to adequately stretch before you begin any exercise routine, especially one during which you’re balancing on a ball. Not stretching your muscles can cause you to pull a muscle and experience pain during a routine, and if you’re balancing on a ball, you can injure yourself if your support muscles give out during the exercise.

Adding More Challenge

You can make the dolphin exercise more challenging by adding more reps to your routine. You should only add more reps gradually as you get used to the exercise. Do not add much additional speed, as this exercise is best performed slowly. You can hold your legs in the air for a few extra beats for another added challenge.


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