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Pilates Ball - How to Improve Balance and Stability

Nov 16, 2009

It is extremely important for everyone to start working on their balance and stability, which can can easily be done with a pilates ball. Using an exercise ball in your workout will help improve your balance and stability because it takes away your key stabilizers, and makes you really focus on using your core muscles: your lower back and abdominal muscles.

Your core muscles are what you use when walking, sitting or standing; your everyday activities. Having a stronger core can help lower back pain and give you better posure. To help improve your daily life, try the following pilates exercises. The only pilates equipment you need are a yoga mat and a pilates ball.

Ball Circles

Sit on the ball with your back straight and shoulders back. Place your hands behind your head, with your elbows pointed out to the sides. Make sure your feet are planted on the ground and your toes are pointed forward. Then start making small circles with your hips to the right, gradually making them bigger when you feel more comfortable. Do about 20 circles and then reverse to the left side.

Wall Squats

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart near a wall, and place the pilates ball against your lower/mid back section. Slowly move your feet out a few steps so you’re leaning against the ball to easily do a squat.  Bend your knees, pretending you are sitting down in a chair, to about 90 degrees. Make sure your knees do not go past your toes. Then push through your heels to raise yourself back to the starting position and repeat.

Ball Walks

Sit on the ball with your hands at your sides. Make sure your shoulders are back, your chest is lifted, and your abs are flexed. Slowly walk your legs out, moving into a bridge position with your shoulders and upper back supported by the ball. Keep your buttocks lifted. Once you have reached the bridge position, you may do small upward hip pulses. Also, try doing single leg lifts for a more difficult exercise. Then, walk yourself back up to your seated position and repeat.

Lower Crunch

Relax your stomach onto the ball. Then walk your hands outward so the ball is at your thighs. Squeeze your abs as you bring your knees into your chest. Make sure to keep your back straight and your arms slightly bent. Then return to the starting position and repeat.

Pushups

Start in the same position as you would for the lower crunch’s exercise. Then walk your hands out until the ball is at your shins. Make sure your hands are flat on the floor and shoulder width apart. Then bend at your elbows so your nose is almost touching the ground and repeat.  

For all of these exercises, try doing two sets of 10-15 repetitions and then increase or decrease the amount to adjust to your fitness level. And make sure to not get frustrated; the exercises will become easier with time!

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