One of the mainstays of the pilates workout program is the use of a pilates ball. Also known as a Swiss ball or simply an exercise ball, this simple piece of exercise equipment can allow you to perform a host of different exercises to help sculpt your body. They are low in cost with the average ball costing less than $50, and they come in a variety of sizes, usually ranging from 55 centimeters to 75 centimeters.
Since the ball is hard to balance upon, it can help you to build up your stabilizers muscles which may not be built up in any other type of exercise. In this article, we’ll give you the lowdown on some of the basic exercises that you can partake in with the use of a pilates ball.
One of the most common exercises that are performed with a pilates ball is a basic abdominal crunch. Most everybody knows how to do a crunch, with common posture including folding your hands across your chest and laying on your back. When you contract your abdominal muscles, you pull your upper body off the ground, contracting the muscles to a great degree and consequently building muscle.
It’s a little tough to get used to on an exercise ball, but the basic motion is exactly the same: lie with your back on the ball and your arms crossed, with your feet planted on the ground. Let your legs be bent at a ninety degree angle, with your knees over your feet. It’ll be tough to find a center of balance, so be sure that you’re stable before you begin the crunch motion.
The next basic ball exercise is known as a prone knee pull-in. A departure from standard forms of ground exercise, in this exercise, you’ll be in a push-up position with your legs draped over the top of the exercise ball, completely stretched out, and your palms touching the ground. Your hands should be directly underneath your shoulders.
To begin the exercise, you’re going to want to bend your legs towards your upper body. This will cause the ball to roll towards you, with your legs still on the ball. Continue to pull the ball towards you until your thighs are almost touching your head, and then push the ball back. This exercise is great for building abs and legs, and it can be a great activity to add to your pilates routine.
The next exercise may sound intimidating, but don’t let it fool you: it’s an easy and great way to add to your flexibility. For this activity, you’re going to want to lie on your back with your face pointed upwards. Put the exercise ball between your feet, and lift it skywards until you are in an ‘L’ shape with your body bent at a ninety degree angle.
From here, you need to extend your legs towards your face, getting as close as you can. Keep your hands on the floor at your side, using your palms to balance your body. Once you’ve reached the farthest you can stretch, you should slowly bring the ball back towards the ninety degree angle you began in. Repeat until you cannot, and your hamstrings will surely experience an increased level of flexibility.