Stir The Pot

Stir The Pot (How to do this underutilized core exercise)

Stir the Pot is definitely one of the most uniquely named core exercises, but once you try them you’ll realize that it’s exactly what they should be called. It also happens to be one of the most surprisingly difficult core stabilization movements that you can do.

In this guide, I’m going to teach you how to Stir The Pot correctly, explain what muscles it works and give you a few alternatives.

How To Stir The Pot

Equipment Needed

  • Stability Ball (also sometimes called a Physio Ball)

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Start on your knees with the Stability Ball directly in front of you.
  • Place your forearms on the ball and clasp your hands together.
  • Now slowly lift up off of your knees, balancing yourself with your forearms on the ball and toes on the ground.
  • You should now basically be in plank position, but with your forearms on a stability ball instead of the ground.
  • Now work your hands into small circles. This should simulate, you guessed it, stirring a pot with a big wooden spoon.
  • Work clockwise until all reps are completed and then switch and go counter-clockwise as well.
  • Once all reps are completed lower back down to your knees.

Coaching Points

Take your time getting properly set up! If you’ve never done this exercise before it can be surprising just how hard it is to balance yourself on a stability ball in this manner let alone shift in circles.

Make SMALL circles. Trying to go too big with your circles is a good way to end up lying on your back.

How Many Reps?

I generally program Stir The Pot as 2 sets (1 in each direction) of 15 to 20 reps.

Muscles Worked

Stir The Pot works the core in the same way that a plank does. Having to hold the torso upright engages the entire abdominal and low back region aka the ‘core’.

Stir The Pot goes beyond the just the core though. Having to stabilize on the stability ball also works the shoulders, chest and upper back in a big way. It’s truly one of the best ‘bang for your buck’ core exercises that you can do.

Stir The Pot Alternatives

If you can’t do Stir The Pot for whatever reason (lack of equipment, injury, etc), here are a couple of alternatives that you may be able to use as a substitution.

(Need more options? Here are some of my favorite Stir the Pot alternatives.)

Front Planks


I’ve already mentioned planks a few times and that’s because that is essentially what Stir The Pot is. It’s an advanced version of a Front Plank done on a stability ball.

However, if you don’t have a stability ball, Front Planks are a great alternative to do instead.

Lateral Planks

Have an injury on one side like a shoulder or elbow? Lateral Planks may be a substitute you can try instead. Lateral Planks are exactly what they sound like – a plank done on one arm with your body turned to the side (aka laterally).

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More Links and Info

For more core exercises check out the Core Section of the Exercise Library on Horton Barbell.

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