The Awk Spot: The Time I Blew Up A Ball At My Desk

You GUYS. I haven’t posted something in my Awk Spot series in a WHOLE YEAR. Don’t worry, I haven’t lost my love for awkward moments. Rest assured that awkward situations and people are CERTAINLY still finding me. I guess I just haven’t written about as many of my awkward experiences as I used to? A reader actually called me out recently on not having posted any awk spots in a long time, so today I’m here to warn you guys about how NOT to blow up an exercise ball at work.


Through my worksite wellness program, we encourage staff to decrease the amount of time spent sitting all day, and we recommend replacing standard desk chairs with alternative workstations. My group recently purchased a few stability balls and standing desks to “practice what we preach.” I put that in quotes because I haven’t been the best about making the switch from my desk chair, but I’m trying!

Standing Desk

However, if you ARE making the switch to a stability ball chair, my advice to you is to forgo the old-fashioned hand pump when trying to blow the damn thing up. Otherwise, you are going to look extremely awkward while pumping away under your desk.

Stability Ball Chair

Really, it’s not the best motion to be doing in the work place. It gets you weird looks. Oh, and welcome to my little 9-5 home. Now you have a visual of my work environment. Pretty exciting standard. I look smart in my glasses though, don’t I?

ANYWAYS. Back to pumping. Get rid of the hand pump. But really, the foot pump isn’t necessarily much better…

Wellness Works: Work antics

Right?! Why is blowing up a darn stability ball the funniest slash dirtiest thing ever?! Even the directions were dirty. I can’t even repeat what they said to do. Don’t worry, once the ball is blown up, sitting on it is a whole different story. Every movement gets you an awkward squeak where you feel obligated to explain that you are sitting on a stability ball so your co-workers don’t think you are THAT person who farted at their desk. Oh, and there’s really no graceful way to get off of the ball when standing back up. Trust me. None.

I promise that my corporate wellness programming is more advanced than this, but I needed something silly to get me through the end of my week. Now I’m off to put together an inspirational wellness talk that I’m giving to a group of nurses at a marketing event in a couple of weeks.

I’m thinking I’ll leave the balls out of it.

–Let’s chat–
Do you use an alternative workstation? Any awkward exercise ball stories you’d like to share?
Does anyone want to tell me about an awkward moment you’ve had recently?

New to F&F in the past year? You have a lot of catching up to do!


A Few New Stability Ball Exercises

Do you ever get bored with certain fitness equipment or tools? I usually do when I’m feeling in a rut and sick of my “usual” exercises with them. Lately I’ve felt that way about the stability ball, but at Mania I learned a few new moves that have inspired me to start using my stability ball once again. None of these exercises are anything super crazy different, but just involve a new way to switch things up from your everyday traditional moves.

I thought you guys might want some inspiration too!

Elbow Plank Knee Drives

  • Roll into an elbow plank on the stability ball (traditional move).
  • Alternate tapping each knee into the ball (makes it a little harder).
  • Here’s the part I love –> Instead of just gently tapping your knees into the ball, drive your knees in to hit the ball hard. The force from your legs causes the ball to roll around a bit, which causes YOU to use more core to stabilize yourself in the plank. LOVE.
  • Variations – Do this on the same leg, alternating legs, cross knees, etc.

Elbow Plank Knee Drive

Slowed down stability ball curl ups

  • Walk yourself into the position for a stability ball crunch (traditional move).
  • Keep your lower back on the ball, and work SLOWLY (that’s the difference) to curl up and back down. Make sure to never lower past a point where you can’t see your knees. That one instruction makes a huge difference in how much you feel your core working.

Stability Ball Curl Ups

  • Next variation: Roll down each shoulder-blade, and then back up through the center. Example: Roll down your right shoulder-blade to target your obliques before curling up in the center. You could stick to each side or alternate sides.
  • Final variation: Roll to each direction before curling back up. Example – Left, right, center. Then right, left, center, and so on.

Stability Ball Curl Ups with Rotation

Stability ball side planks

  • This exercise takes your standard side planks (traditional move) and adds a stability ball, but by your feet.
  • Version 1: Assume your side plank position with your top leg on the ball and your bottom knee down on the ground in front of the ball.
  • Version 2: Top leg on the ball, bottom leg out straight with your foot behind the ball.
  • Version 3: Top leg on the ball, bottom leg out straight under the ball.
  • Variations –> Elbow, straight arm, hip dips, just hold, etc. Part I LOVE in any of the positions —> Using your top foot, roll the stability forward and back. Killer!

Side Planks

Stability Ball Hover to Elbow Plank

  • Place your forearms on the stability ball as if you were going to assume an elbow plank position.
  • Lift your knees so they are hovering over the ground, making sure they are underneath your navel.
  • Hold there, then roll out to elbow plank (traditional move), then roll back in, and repeat.
  • Variations – single leg, add the drive ins once out in elbow plank, etc.

Hover to PlankHope you like these!

What’s a piece of fitness equipment that you’ve felt in a rut with before?