A Pilates mini ball is a very inexpensive piece of exercise equipment that can help you do many exercises. While it isnt necessary to have one to do Pilates or any type of workout, a Pilates mini ball can help make certain exercises more efficient.
Using a ball in your workout can help you focus on muscles that you might otherwise neglect. Because you often have to concentrate on holding the ball between your knees or squeezing it while making movements, it makes you more aware of the muscles youre using.
A variety of exercises have been developed by Pilates experts to help you use a Pilates mini ball properly and get the most from the exercises. There are routines designed for Pilates beginners specifically that use the ball to make the new exerciser more aware of certain muscles and movements. Intermediate routines are more of a challenge, while advanced workouts use the ball to really go deep into those core muscles.
To start using a Pilates mini ball, try some basic exercises like these:
Stand about an arms length away from the wall, and hold the ball between your hands. Put the ball against the wall and lean into it, letting your elbows bend, then push yourself back.
Lie on the floor with your knees bent and the ball between your ankles. Hold the ball there as you straighten your legs and bend them slowly.
Or do something as simple as sit in a chair with the ball between your thighs. Use your thigh muscles to squeeze the ball slowly and relax.
If youll do those exercises regularly, just 10 times each, youll soon start to feel and see a difference in those muscle groups.
You might be wondering what the benefit of using the ball might be in an exercise like the wall push-up listed above. Couldnt you just stand and put your hands on the wall to do the same thing?
Yes, of course you could. And youd still benefit from the exercises. You could tone your arms that way. But using a ball gives the exercise more intensity. Because youre leaning against a round somewhat malleable ball, you have to constantly correct your balance to keep the ball from rolling. You use tiny muscles in ways that you dont normally use them when you use a ball.
You can use a Pilates mini ball for a variety of exercises. Just incorporate it into things you normally do. The added bit of resistance and the requirement of balancing yourself will add another layer to your workouts.
Another nice thing about a Pilates ball is that even if you buy one made specifically for Pilates, theyre relatively inexpensive. And if you want to go even cheaper, just buy a childs ball thats around the same sizeabout the size of a soccer ball. If you have kids, you might have the perfect Pilates mini ball already waiting for you in a closet or your childs toy box.