Pilates is a type of physical exercise that focuses on the development of the body through series of exercises designed to build core strength, flexibility, and awareness. Pilates is a relatively new physical fitness system developed in the early 20th century. The founder of this system was Joseph Pilates, a professional athlete, who believed that the modern lifestyle, bad posture, and poor breathing are probably responsible for poor health in humans. Pilates builds flexibility, strength, endurance, and coordination in the legs, abdominals, arms and back. It provides various great benefits for overall mental and physical health, and it employs rather simple method and apparatus. Exercise ball is the most commonly used type of equipment in Pilates.
Exercise balls are made of elastic soft material. They come in different sizes and shapes, usually between 35 to 85 centimeters in diameter. Exercise ball is very light since it is filled with air. Exercise balls are much better than exercising on a flat surface since the body responds to the instability of the shape of a ball and engages much more muscles. Exercise balls typically trigger core muscles, abdominals and back.
Pilates ball exercises
Pilates ball exercises are great for many classic exercises. One can easily do the push up on the exercise ball. To do the push up, the exerciser should lie with the abdomen on an exercise ball and work hands forward on the floor until the ball positions under the tights. The exerciser therefore supports the body on the ball and slowly lowers the upper body to the floor. The ground position is held for a couple of minutes before being released.
Squat with a ball is another great stability ball exercise. This one works tight and bottom muscles. The squat is performed by placing the ball between the wall or any other solid surface and the lower back. The exerciser stands with feet shoulder-width apart and slowly bends the knees while the ball supports the body. While bending the knees, the exerciser keeps shoulders leveled and hips square. The position is held for a couple of breaths before slowly returning into starting position and repeating it for a couple of times.
Plank pike-up is a bit harder balancing exercise that is performed by taking a ball and lying on top of it with feet on the ball and palms on the floor under the shoulders. The shins of the feet should touch the ball while the rest of the body weight supports on arms and shoulders. The exerciser uses abdominal muscles and legs to roll the ball to the middle of the body while lifting the hips. The head is placed down, facing the floor. It is recommended to do at least 12 repetitions of this exercise.