Global Bodyweight Training - Mike Fitch
Parallettes add a challenging variation to the Swiss Ball Push-Up

There are few bodyweight training tools as versatile as the Swiss Ball, and this week’s exercise, the Swiss Ball Push-Up with Single-Leg Jacknife, takes full advantage of the possibilities. This exercise is a fantastic integration of a pushing pattern with an advanced trunk exercise, and fits perfectly in the GBT System. The entire GBT system is based on integrating muscle synergy to improve movement and coordination.

Breaking Down the Movement’s Components:

Let’s break down the exercise to take a closer look at the muscles being used:

Global Bodyweight Training
It is important to use proper push-up form when performing this exercise

Push-Up Component

First, we have the Push-Up component, which is a staple movement in the GBT System. The primary movers are the Pec Major, Anterior Delts and Triceps. The Rotator Cuff and Serratus Anterior stabilize the scapula and shoulder girdle for these prime movers to function properly.

Global Bodyweight Training - Mike Fitch
The single-leg version of the jackknife seriously challenges your trunk stabilization

Jackknife Component

Second, you have the Jackknife component. The double leg Jacknife is a complete trunk exercise all on its own, but when you progress to the single leg version you’re taking trunk training to a new level. Even getting into the starting position requires fighting the pull of gravity that’s pulling the body towards the ground. The Transversus Abdominis (if functioning properly) is firing to stabilize the spine while the Rectus Abdominis, Hip Flexors and Quads are contracting to keep the hips and spine from dropping and the knees from bending.

Global Bodyweight Training - Mike Fitch
These integrated movements are great for upper body strength and killer abs!

Maintaining Center of Gravity

As soon as you start the exercise by lifting the leg, your center of gravity shifts. In order to stay on the ball, the same-side internal and external Obliques must contract on both sides to maintain your balance. The back extensors, Glute and Hamstrings raise the leg while the opposite leg Quad and Tibialis Anterior (muscle on the front of the shin) are controlling the ball. And at the same time, the hip flexors and Abdominal muscles raise and lower the hips to complete the movement.

Get Started!

Now, all of that anatomy talk may be a lot to take in if it’s not your usual area of expertise – but I’m sure it’s still clear that there are a whole lot of muscles working to perform this exercise! Give it a shot, and you’ll see for yourself!

If you don’t have your own stability ball, I recommend these one from
Perform Better HERE.)

Published by Mike Fitch

Mike is the founder of Global Bodyweight Training. He has more than 12 years as a fitness professional encompassing a wide range of disciplines which he draws upon to create the GBT system.

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  1. Just tested this exercice. as you said, very challenging to keep balance and coordination during the pushup…A great exercice to improve all these parameters…

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