You don’t have to set foot in a gym. You don’t need any fancy machines. Just get your Pilates ball ready, and reap the rewards of this total body workout in just five moves!
- Ball push-ups
Works the arms, shoulders, core and chest. Pilates expert, Marguerite Ogle, provides some watchpoints: “The Pilates push-up is an advanced move. You can start working on it now, but just know that it takes a while to build up the core strength, arm strength and stability required to fully do this exercise.”
Lie with your stomach on the ball. Now lean forward to touch the floor, and walk your hands forward until the ball is underneath your thighs. Start by engaging your core and keeping your elbows soft. Now lower your upper body to the floor slowly. Pause when you’ve reached the bottom of the movement (but don’t rest on the floor!). Slowly push up, but make sure you don’t lock your elbows out completely.
- Ball squeeze
Works your hips, lower back and inner thighs.
Stand and place the ball between your knees, making sure the ball doesn’t touch the floor. Now squat down until your knees form a 90-degree angles. You’ll have to squeeze the ball to avoid falling over!
Hold the position for a while before slowly returning to the start position. If you find that you really can’t keep the correct form, you can hold onto the back of a chair lightly with your hands (but don’t cheat and use it to support your weight).
- Overhead ball squats
Works your quadriceps and your glutes.
Hold an exercise ball – or a medicine ball – in both hands, and stand with your legs hip-width apart. Now raise the ball over your head; keep your arms long and close to your ears (but don’t scrunch up your shoulders). Squat own, keeping your arms extended and focusing on holding your weight in your heels. Hold the squat for a few moments before slowly standing up.
- Back extensions
Works the back muscles.
Start with your stomach and hips resting on the ball. Your legs should be extending behind you, with your toes resting on the ground. Use your hands to balance yourself on the ball as you raise your chest as high as possible. Now pause, and bring your hands to the back of your head. Hold the position for a few moments before returning to a resting position on the ball.
- Knee tucks
Works your abdominals.
Lie face-down, in a push-up position, with your hands shoulder-width apart. Rest your lower legs on the top of the ball, making sure that your legs are straight behind. Keep your back straight and still as you pull your knees towards your chest. The ball will roll under your ankles. Pause, and then slowly straighten your legs again, rolling the ball back to its starting position under your shins.
If you’re at your happiest on the Pilates ball, maybe you’re destined to be a superstar Pilates instructor! Check out the Comprehensive Pilates Instructor Certification on offer at Trifocus Fitness Academy.