You can perform countless exercises on exercise balls -- also known as stability balls or Swiss balls -- which offer the added challenge of maintaining your balance while you do the exercise. There are also numerous kettlebell exercises. For the most part, anything you can do with a dumbbell you can usually do with a kettlebell. Together, however, exercise balls and kettlebells form something of an odd couple. But if you like to take the less traveled exercise path, you can enjoy a total body workout using kettlebells and exercise balls.
Perform a kettlebell press to focus on your chest muscles, while you also work your shoulders and triceps. Position yourself as you would for a bench press, with your feet flat on the floor, but place your neck and shoulders on top of the exercise ball. Keep your body straight, from the top of your head to your knees, throughout the exercise. Hold a kettlebell in one hand and exhale as you raise it as high as possible while you keep your forearm vertical and your back straight. Lower your arm so your forearm remains vertical while your upper arm drops slightly beyond parallel. Perform at least eight repetitions with each arm.
To target your triceps, begin in the same position as you did with the kettlebell press, but hold the weight in both hands, just beyond the top of your head. Your elbows should be bent and pointed up. Tighten your core and glute muscles as you extend your arms to raise the kettlebell above your head, then tighten your triceps at the top of the lift. Exhale on the way up, then inhale as you slowly return to the starting position. Use a spotter whenever you’re holding a weight above your head. Perform at least eight repetitions.
The crunch is a classic exercise for anyone who wishes to strengthen her abdominal muscles. To do the crunch on an exercise ball, place your back on top of the ball and grasp a kettlebell in each hand. Set your feet flat on the floor. Extend your arms straight up from the shoulders to assume the starting position. Exhale as you lift your shoulders and upper back off the ball. Keep your arms extended and face upward at all times. Inhale as you lower yourself back to the starting position. Perform eight to 12 reps.
Legs and Glutes
You'll have to perform a more challenging balancing act to work your lower body using a kettlebell and a stability ball. If you're fairly new to exercise ball workouts, perform your initial squats without the kettlebell. Place the ball near a wall or a piece of equipment you can grasp, if necessary, for balance. Stand on top of the ball with a wide stance, then squat, bending your knees and pushing your hips back while you keep your upper body erect. Extend your arms as necessary for balance. When you're comfortable squatting, grasp a kettlebell in both hands and hold it in front of your chest with your arms extended, then perform the squat. Do at least eight reps.
M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.