Remember how much fun it was to play with a ball when you were a child? A simple sphere was an endless source of inspiration and activity. And it still is. Using a Pilates ball can be a challenging way to add variety and fun to your workout.
These exercise balls are large, vinyl balls you can use to strengthen and stretch your body, improving core stability and balance.
“The ball is the one piece equipment essential for fitness,” recommends Dr. Karangwa Michael.
He goes ahead to add that when using the ball, one stimulates the muscles of the core, the deep pelvic, abdominal, and low back muscles which are essential for good posture, balance and movement control. “The ball stimulates the smaller, stability muscles in addition to the muscles being used in the exercise.”
Here are a few fun tips on how you can reshape your body using the Pilates ball.
Squats with a Pilates ball
Stand with the exercise ball propped between your lower spine and a wall, pressing slightly into the ball. With hands at your sides or on hips, check that your feet are hip-width apart and slightly in front of you.
Bending at your knees and hips, slowly move into a sitting position with your knees over your ankles. Keep the ball in contact with your back as you move.
Return to standing position, keeping the ball in contact with your back as you move.
Repeat this 8 to 15 times
Birddogs with the ball
Get on your hands and knees with the exercise ball under your abdomen.
Lift and extend your opposite arm and leg off the floor at the same time.
Reach away from the center of your body while balancing on the ball and keeping your hips stable.
Do this 8 times
Push-ups with the ball
Lie face down with the exercise ball underneath your belly and your palms flat on the floor.
Use your hands to walk out to a plank position, resting the ball anywhere from your hips to your ankles. (This should be a position that provides for a challenging push-up, but allows your spine to stay aligned - with ears, shoulders, and hips in a line.)
Bend your elbows to lower your upper body toward the floor, keeping your shoulders away from your ears and your abdominal muscles engaged.
Repeat 8 to 10 times
These few tips aside, there are numerous more ways to use these balls to your advantage. Just follow what your gym instructor says and you’ll be in good shape in no time.