• Chloe Hart

Pilates Ball 3 Ways

Pilates is such great exercise. It stretches you out, improves your core, increases your strength and flexibility.


Along with your regular mat practice, using a small piece of equipment, like a small ball, a Pilates ring, weights, foam roller or stretchy band, can add interest and increased challenge to the exercises.


The ball is a great piece of kit to start with. Balls can be purchased on Amazon for about £7, making it an inexpensive addition.


The ball can be used for strength building, balance challenge, extension work and focus point. It’s easy to use and can be added to most exercises for variety.


Here’s a few exercises you can do at home using the ball…




Abdominal control


Start by sitting with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Knees and feet should be slightly apart to give you more stability. You back should be straight with your tummy pulled in to engage your core.


Set the ball directly behind your waist so it’s touching you. With your arms reaching forward, tilt your pelvis a little bit upwards towards your head and start to roll back until you make contact with the ball. Hold for a slow count of three.


The ball adds support while challenging your abdominals.




Extension


Start in a seated position with knees bent and feet on the floor. Knees and feet should be about shoulder width apart.


Place the ball behind your mid back and your hands behind your head.


Roll back over the ball letting your head and arms make contact with the floor.


This is a lovely stretch for your front line and should feel nice. Adjust the ball to find the best position for you, everyone is different.





Alignment


Start by laying on your back with your knees and feet a small distance apart and hands by your sides.


Place the ball between the knees.

Inhale, as you exhale, start to tilt your pelvis up towards your head and peel yourself off the floor starting with your pelvis then your lower and middle back. When you get to the top make sure your tummy is pulled in and your ribs are lying flat.


Give the ball three slow squeezes. Then lengthen your spine and roll down in the reverse order starting with your upper back then middle, lower and pelvis.




By using the ball between your knees while you bridge, you are helping to keep your knees and ankles in alignment, which often move out of alignment during this exercise. The ball squeezes add inner thigh work.


Try these three exercises at home without the ball first (except for the extension one which needs the ball) and then try them with the ball and notice the difference.


Good luck!







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