Pilates: Balance Ball Workout
Pilates: Balance Ball Workout
This Pilates workout focuses on using the balance ball to get you working all the muscles which contribute to your core strength - your abs, deeper lower back muscles and pelvic floor muscle.
Step 1: You will need
- 1 exercise mat
- 1 balance ball - stability/ exercise ball
- some comfortable clothing
Step 2: Exercise One: Side To Side
Step 3: To prepare
Have the balance ball ready at one end of your mat. Lie down in front of it with your knees bent.
Have your lower back flattened into the floor and arms directly out to either side, with your shoulders down.
Inhale and as you exhale, contract your abdominals and pick up one leg and place it on the top of the ball, followed by the other leg and join them together. Adjust the position of the ball if necessary, bringing it closer to your backside until your knees are bent.
Step 4: Breathing
You will inhale deeply through the nose to prepare, aiming the breath towards the back of the rib cage and exhale deeply through the mouth.
When you exhale, think of flattening the abdominal region. Imagine gently pulling your belly button towards your spine.
This exercise will be performed in two breaths.
Step 5: The exercise
Inhale and gently roll the ball to one side, guiding the movement with your legs as you exhale, pull your navel to your spine and return to the centre.
Inhale to roll to the other side and exhale to return to the centre.
Repeat this six times in total - 3 times to each side.
Be very aware of keeping your shoulders and ribcage down, of keeping your lower back flat and your hands relaxed.
Step 6: Exercise Two: Sit Ups
Step 7: To prepare
Stay in the same position but change your arms placing them behind your head with the elbows wide.
Step 8: Breathing
The breathing is exactly the same as in the previous exercise.
Step 9: The exercise
Inhale and lengthen the back of your neck, exhale and flex your upper body off the floor keeping the elbows wide and neck long.
Inhale, return back to the floor, exhale and flex again.
Repeat this 8 times, using the exhalation to help connect with your abdominals and paying attention to your shoulder and neck alignment throughout.
When you finish, relax your arms back down to your sides.
Step 10: Exercise Three: The Plank
Step 11: To prepare
Push the ball slightly further away from you until only your calves are resting on it.
Check that your shoulders are down and lower back still flat on the floor.
Step 12: Breathing
The same principles apply as before but this exercise will be performed in four breaths.
Step 13: The exercise
Inhale to prepare, then as you exhale lightly press down onto the ball, squeeze the backs of your thighs and lift your backside and lower back off the floor. Inhale and hold the position, lengthening your feet away from you, then exhale and slowly reverse the movement to return back down to the mat.
Repeat this four times, trying not to let the ball wobble.
When you finish, gently hug your knees into your chest.
Step 14: Exercise Four: Arm Circles
Step 15: To prepare
Sit down in the centre of the ball then slowly walk forwards, rolling the ball with you, until your upper back and head rest comfortably on top.
Lift up your backside to be parallel to the floor, being aware of not overarching the lower back and place your arms by your legs.
Step 16: Breathing
Once again, the same principles apply as before and this exercise will be performed in two breaths.
Step 17: The exercise
Inhale and raise your hands to the ceiling, then as you exhale circle them over your head and around to your legs. Inhale to reach again to the ceiling, exhale and repeat the circle.
Do this once more, then reverse and also complete 3 circles.
Make sure you keep your ribcage down, lower back in a neutral position and use your backsi