How Do You Bench on a Yoga Ball?

Doing bench presses with dumbbells on a yoga ball, also known as a swiss ball or a stability ball, is an upper body strength exercise, a variation of the dumbbell chest press. You’re primarily using and strengthening your chest muscles, while other muscle groups like triceps, shoulders, core, and back muscles are involved in stabilizing you on the ball.

Benching on a yoga ball is similar to a regular bench press, with the difference that you first have to stabilize yourself on the ball. Sit on the ball with dumbbells in your hands, walk your feet out until your upper back lies on the ball with your feet planted on the ground. While your body is in line from shoulders to knees, lift the dumbbells straight up, wait a while, and bring them back down.

Continue reading to get more information about how to bench on a yoga ball, its benefits, and other workout variations you can try on a stability ball.

How to Do a Bench Press on a Stability Ball

First, choose the right stability ball that can handle both your weight and the weight of the dumbbells. Choose a ball height that your tights become parallel to the floor when you sit on the ball.

Secondly, pick up the correct dumbbells. They should be lighter than the ones you use for benching on a flat surface. You should be able to control the dumbbells considering the ball’s instability, so find the right weight with trial and error.

Hold the dumbbells in your hands with your palms facing your feet.

Sit on the ball and place your feet on the floor no wider than your hip’s width.

Start walking your feet out and roll down while your feet are firmly planted on the floor until your upper back sits on the ball. Don’t let your shoulder drive past the ball’s center.

Make your core tight, squeeze your shoulder blades together, and align your body from your shoulders to your knees.

The dumbbells should sit on the base of your palms. Once you’re balanced, drive the dumbbells straight up while the force of the weights drives down your wrists and forearms.

Lock your elbows while lifting the dumbbells to the top. To increase the effectiveness of the workout, don’t touch the dumbbells together at the top.

Wait a couple of seconds, and then bring the dumbbells back down, so they touch the outer parts of your chest. Repeat the moves as many times as you need.

Here’s a video that can guide you better through the workout:

Tips on Doing a Bench Press on a Stability Ball

Try to make your motions as smooth as possible and avoid sudden movements that will cause you to bounce up and down on the yoga ball.

If you can’t stabilize yourself on the ball efficiently, have a spotter help you with it so that you won’t fall on the floor.

If you notice your form is degrading and your arms and shoulders are getting tired throughout the set, end the workout to prevent damage to your body. Next time, pick lighter weights that get you through the set.

Doing two or three sets with 12 to 15 repetitions is a good place to start from. You can increase the number or the weight of the dumbbells when you get stronger. The optimum goal could be to press for a minute straight.

Don’t let your lower back arch excessively. And don’t let your elbows flare while you’re doing the exercise, and keep them tight to your body.

Benefits of Benching on a Stability Ball

A stability ball is a useful training tool that lets you activate more muscles and train them while targeting specific parts of your body.

In the case of benching in a stability ball, you’re primarily focusing on your chest muscles while activating your core, abdominal, triceps, back, legs, and so forth to stay balanced on the ball. 

They help establish your body’s balance before you can generate power to do the benches. So, benching on a stability ball adds new dimensions to your workout than benching on a classic weight bench.

Moreover, the yoga ball allows your chest and triceps to move in a broader range while benching, stimulating more muscle groups.

Another benefit of benching on a swiss ball is its convenience, especially for those who want to bench at home. A ball costs less than a weight bench, takes up less room, and is easier to put away. You can also use it to do various other workouts and even utilize it as a comfortable chair.  

Here’s more information on how to have a chest workout without a bench.

Using a ball instead of a bench is also a good choice during the rehab period or when you want something challenging but less demanding on your muscles. When using a ball, you’ll have to use lighter weights that you use on a bench so you can stabilize yourself, resulting in less stress on the joints and CNS.

Who Shouldn’t Bench on a Stability Ball? 

Benching on a yoga ball isn’t for everyone. If you’re a beginner, you may not have the core strength and endurance to stay balanced on the ball. Spending all your focus on core activation and positioning yourself on the ball will compromise what the workout is about; benching. 

Beginners can use the ball during balance and strength-building phases, but benching with heavy weights on it can be too dangerous and may cause injuries.

Benching on a stability ball isn’t suitable for those who lift hefty weights, either. That’s because the ball may burst if it has to sustain your weight plus the weight of a heavy barbell or dumbbell.

However, there are products that can sustain considerable weight. For example, this extra-thick yoga ball from DYNAPRO can resist up to 2200lb and is not only good for yoga, but also for Pilates, back and abdominal training, and even as a chair. 

DYNAPRO Exercise Ball – Extra Thick Eco-Friendly & Anti-Burst Material Supports over 2200lbs, Stability Ball for Home, Yoga, Gym Ball, Birthing Ball, Physio Ball, Swiss Ball, Physical Therapy or Pregnancy
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Other Workout Variations on the Stability Ball

Unilateral Dumbbell Press

The unilateral dumbbell press is precisely like the bench press explained previously, but you should do the presses one hand at a time. Once you lay back on the ball with your feet rooted on the ground and your torso parallel to the floor, lift the weight in your right hand straight up your shoulder. Pause a bit, bring it down, and do the same with the left one.

This exercise is pretty challenging because your core muscles should work very hard to balance your body. So, start with lighter dumbbells and work your way up gradually.

Flat Dumbbell Flys

Flat dumbbell flys are also done in the same position on the ball as a bench press. When you’ve stabilized yourself, extend your arms out towards the ceiling with the dumbbells in your hands, aligning them over your chest. Extend out your arms to the sides, so your triceps touch the ball. Repeat the movement.

Two-Angle Press

The two-angle press is a more advanced variation of the bench press. You have to get into the same position as the bench press with your knees at a 90-degree angle. Then, press the dumbbells up and pause.

Roll your hips down on the ball, so your upper torso makes a 45-degree angle with the floor. Now bring back the dumbbells to your shoulders. Roll to the first position and repeat the workout. You’re lifting the weight in the strongest position and lowering it in the weakest position, making your chest muscles work hard even when they’re lowering the weights.

Combo Press

You need four dumbbells for this workout. Two of them should be double the weight you lift or more, and the other two should be lighter than what you usually chest press.

Place the heavy dumbbells on the floor shoulder-width apart. Put the yoga ball in front of them and sit on it with the other dumbbells in your hand. Hook your feet under the dumbbells and roll back on the ball, so your upper torso makes a 45-degree angle with the floor. Press the dumbbells at this angel until you feel like you can’t go more than a couple more.

Lower the dumbbells to your chest, and roll back on the ball so your body is parallel to the ground while your knees are at 90 degrees. Press the weights until you can only do a couple more.

Bring the dumbbells down again and roll back until your head goes lower than your hips. Press the weights until you can’t do anymore. The combo press works out all the muscles in your chest area. Here are 14 more exercises that target different parts of your chest.

Conclusion

Benching on a yoga ball is definitely more challenging than benching on a flat surface, considering you’d have to use many more muscle groups to keep yourself stabilized throughout the workout. If your goal is to only work on your chest and arm muscles with heavy weights, pressing on a bench would be better. But if you’re looking for a whole-body workout that activates more muscles, do it on a stability ball. 

 

Last update on 2021-10-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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James Wright

James (36) has been working out since he was 15 years old. He has a home gym where he pumps iron, does bodyweight workouts and boxing. He likes sharing his experiences with others who want to build a better physique.

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