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Pilates For Intermediates: Balance Ball Workout - Part 1

Pilates For Intermediates: Balance Ball Workout - Part 1

Follow these Pilates exercises along with part two of our workout, three times a week to strengthen, tone and lengthen key muscles in your body, from top to toe. VideoJug's yoga expert Sophie Rycott shows you the best Pilates technique to do this, so watch and learn.

Step 1: You will need

  • 1 exercise mat
  • 1 balance ball
  • some comfortable clothing

Step 2: Exercise One: Knee Bends

Step 3: To prepare

Have the ball ready at one end of your mat. Sit down on it and walk your feet forwards until your legs are straight, your upper back rests on the ball and your finger tips touch the floor.

Step 4: Breathing

You will inhale deeply through the nose to prepare, aiming the breath towards the back of the rib cage and exhale through the mouth to begin the exercise. As always, use the exhalation to activate your abdominal muscles.

Step 5: The exercise

Inhale and stay, exhale and bend one knee into your body. Inhale bring the foot back down to the floor, exhale and repeat with the other leg.

Do this, alternating legs as you go, 10 times. When you finish, inhale with both feet on the mat then exhale to sit down and relax.

Step 6: Exercise Two: The Bridge

Step 7: To prepare

Put your hands behind your head and lie your upper body back onto the ball. Pick your backside off the mat, walk your feet out until they're directly under your knees and hip distance apart and your body's in one straight line. Make sure your pelvis is level to avoid overarching your lower back.

Step 8: Breathing

This exercise will be performed over 2 breaths.

Step 9: The exercise

Inhale and rock your weight forward over your toes, exhale and change to rock back over your heels.

Repeat this 20 times maintaining your body straight throughout.

Step 10: Exercise Three: Half Swan

Step 11: To prepare

Kneel down in front of the ball with your legs a little wider than hip distance apart and knees turned out.

Lay your body over the top of the ball and keeping your elbows wide, rest the back of your hands lightly against your forehead.

Step 12: Breathing

This exercise will be performed over 4 breaths.

Step 13: The exercise

Inhale to prepare, exhale, draw your shoulders down and extend and lift your upper back towards the ceiling. Inhale stay, exhale and curve back down over the ball.

Repeat this 5 times being aware of keeping your neck in line with your back, abdominals strong and shoulders down.

When you finish, relax your arms.

Step 14: Exercise Four: Hamstring Lifts

Step 15: To prepare

Walk your hands forwards until the weight of your thighs rest over the centre of the ball. Have your legs and feet together. Then slowly lower yourself down onto your elbows, keeping your back straight.

Step 16: Breathing

This exercise will be performed over 2 breaths.

Step 17: The exercise

Inhale to prepare, exhale extend, lengthen and lift one foot up, then inhale again to bring it back down, and exhale to lift the other foot.

Repeat this 10 ten times - 5 times on each leg. Maintain your legs straight and abdominals strong throughout and don't allow yourself to collapse into your shoulders.

When you finish, relax back over the ball.

This exercise completes part one of our intermediate balance ball workout. Be sure to watch part two to get the complete workout.