Pilates is useful for relaxation and as a stress reliever. The entire body is involved in the workout program because it emphasizes inhaling and exhaling while holding the body in a particular position. Deep, even breathing is known to be a calming influence, and you must concentrate while performing the workout exercises. Your mind cannot be wandering all over the place, and this also helps you relax, thereby reducing stress. Focusing on the individual exercises improves your concentration levels and also transfers to other areas of life.
Types of Pilates Ball Workouts:
In this workout, you must sit on the exercise ball and keep your feet flat and legs parallel. Next, you move your feet out while you roll down until the ball is below your shoulders. Place your hands behind your head and keep the elbows and chest wide, and then, inhale. Wait a moment, and then, exhale. Tighten your abdominal muscles; move your head so that you are looking to the left, and then, turn your head to look to the right. Roll your upper body up to a sitting position. Sit still and inhale. Exhale and repeat.
This exercise begins with you lying flat on your back with your calves resting on the ball and your feet on top of it. Your feet and legs should be parallel throughout this exercise. Next, inhale and exhale. Lift your hips off the floor without moving the ball. Balance using your shoulders. Hold this position steady for two to four breaths, and then exhale while relaxing back to the mat.
To perform the pike exercise, you must have practiced the plank pose successfully on the mat without the ball. For the pike exercise, you begin with the ball beneath your thighs.Your legs are extended straight out behind you, and your shoulders are rotated down and back in a plank pose. Using your hands to walk forward, shifting the ball’s position from beneath your thighs to beneath your knees or shins. The further forward that you go, the less stable you will be, so perform this exercise with caution.
Back Extension Workout
To do the back extension workout, your body must be draped over the ball, face down toward the floor. It is essential that your abdomen and hips are supported by the ball. For control, your feet must be put where the floor and wall meet. Bend the knees slightly, and exhale while curling the upper body over the ball. Your arms must point toward the floor, but they should not touch the floor. Inhale and lift your arms, use the abdominal muscles and spine to raise the body until it is at a diagonal to the floor. Exhale, roll back (your torso must be parallel to the floor) and curl again. Repeat this process.
Improve Your Posture
This is one of the most simple, yet effective exercises. Sit on the ball. The ball’s instability causes this ordinarily sedentary activity to become a workout. All muscles become involved as you try to stay seated. Your abdominal muscles are tightened and your back is straightened because it is impossible to slouch and remain seated on the ball. This improves your core muscle groups over a period of time.
The ball must be propped against a wall for this exercise. With your back leaning against the ball, bend your knees into a 90 degree angle. Push yourself back to the starting position. Then, repeat fifteen times.
This exercise requires a friend. With accountability being an important aspect in any exercise routine, involving a friend will insure that you continue the exercise program. Use the exercise ball and play catch. Stand several feet apart from your friend, and with your feet shoulder width apart, toss the ball to one another. Play “catch” until your arm muscles are fatigued.
Birddogs With the Ball
Balance the ball beneath your abdomen while you are on your hands and knees. Lift and stretch your right arm and left leg off the floor, and then alternate with your left arm and right leg. Reach as far as you can and stretch those muscles while balancing and keeping your hips in a stable position.
This exercise is used to strengthen the arms and abdominal muscles. Facing down and draped across the ball, place the exercise ball beneath your abdomen. With your hands on the floor, walk your hands forward into the plank position. The ball can rest in any position between your hips and ankles. Place your hands parallel and bend your elbows to lower your abdomen and chest to the floor. Extend your arms to push up. Repeat this several times.
Pilates can be done by individuals of any age and fitness level.