One of my favorite exercises to do is the single arm shoulder press using a stability ball.  It took me kind of a while to develop the core strength that would allow me to push the weight I wanted to push, but once I had the idea in my mind, and I had already completed the standard shoulder press while kneeling on the ball, I made this exercise a regular part of my workout routine.  In this post, I will explain how I go about doing this exercise and how I use it in my own fitness regimen to continually challenge myself, develop core strength, and have fun.

As you can see in this demonstration.  The exercise requires a number of different things.  First, you must have the ability to kneel and balance on the ball.  While it seems like this could be difficult to learn, it’s really not that hard.  Especially when you are using the stability ball at our gym since it’s almost deflated (haha!)  OK, all kidding aside, kneeling on the ball is pretty easy once you get the hang of it (but see my warning below about taking appropriate caution).  I think that, once you develop the requisite physical skills, mostly you just need to believe in yourself that you won’t fall and break your face, and that you can actually do it. It isn’t uncommon for people to overestimate their ability to do this stuff.  Please be extremely careful and try to do the things that are only within your ability, things you can believe you are able to do. Trying this is not worth breaking your face!

With that lead in, let me take a moment to inject a note of caution.  This exercise requires a significant amount of control that can take years to develop, particularly if you have not been training to a high level of fitness.  For this level of exercise, I recommend working with someone knowledgeable who can guide you and help you set sane limits within your abilities as you progress.  It’s not worth serious injury.

Once people are ready to attempt this exercise, there is a process for learning how to kneel on the ball and balance.  It’s similar to the processes I’ve described in other posts and it involves developing a certain level of core strength and the ability to balance as well.  Once you develop the ability to kneel on the ball, the next step is being able to lift your arms over your head without falling backwards (or falling at all, really).  

After you can lift your arms over your head, start with a weight that is lighter than one you would typically use for a shoulder press…or anything for that matter.  And then just see how it feels to hold the weight.  As you get stronger, things will progress from there and you should be able to perform the lift and integrate it into your workout routine.

I personally use this exercise as part of my regular regimen.  Either during a shoulder workout or during a total body workout.  I have a lot of fun combining it with other things as it increases the overall challenge dramatically.  If you are interested in developing the core strength and balance required to be able to perform this type of exercise correctly, I would be happy to train you. Please contact me at

I also offer monthly training calendars to help keep my clients on track toward their fitness goals. Even if you aren’t interested in extensive personal training, you should consider a monthly training calendar to help build your skills. The cost is the same as one personal training session, and you get a plan for the whole month.