Certified Pilates Instructor

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Have you ever wondered what a Pilates Stability Ball is and how can it be beneficial to improve your health? And what other equipment is used for Pilates exercises to streamline the functioning of your body?

Pilates encompasses several mental and physical exercises that perk up your muscles and improve the mind-body connection. Among the many tools used for these exercises are Pilates Stability Ball, Pilates reformer, Pilates mat, Pilates ring, Pilates, Wunda chair and Pilates Cadillac.

Ball Structure & Ideal Size

Pilates Stability Ball, a highly popular and simple equipment that is extensively used in Pilates is also known by several names including Pilates Crystal Edge Ball, a Swiss ball, a physio-ball or a fitness ball. Simply speaking, it is an inflatable piece of exercise apparatus made mostly from soft vinyl and flexible sand interior. Factors such as comfort, durability and safety form the basis of designing a suitable Pilates Stability Ball. Also, there are specific guidelines for the volume of air that is filled in this ball. For beginners, experts recommend filling less air in the Stability Ball to ensure smoother transition to more intensive exercises. Whereas, tighter Stability Balls with more air are used for intensive workouts usually suitable for skilled individuals.

When filled with the requisite air, the Stability Ball usually resembles a bigger beach ball with reinforced ribbing as an anti-burst feature. The size of the popular ball ranges from 55 to 85 centimeters. It has two bands and adjustable handles. There is a user-determined handgrip for comfortable and flexible use.

Do not be under the misconception that all Stability Balls are the same and you can pick up any one from a store and start your work out. You must choose a Stability Ball suitable for your specific requirements. How can you determine the correct size of the ball for your exercises? The ball size is not only determined by your height but also your weight and exercises position. The most popular exercise to determine this is the 90-degree method. For this, sit on the ball with your feet flat on the floor. Make sure that your hips and knees form a 90-degree angle with one another. For height, the ideal rule is the taller you are, the bigger the exercise ball. For example, if your height is five feet or little more and you weigh around 240 pounds, then the ideal ball size will be 55 centimeters. If your height is five feet four-to-ten inches, then you may use the 65 centimeters ball. And for height for five feet eleven inches and above, use a 75 centimeters ball.

What can you do if the ball which you have already purchased is very big in diameter? One suggestion would be – do not inflate your ball too much. For example, if you purchase a 65 centimeters ball and your height is 5 feet two or three inches, sit on the ball using the 90-degree rule. If your ball is not fully inflated, it will not be as firm but you can continue to reap the benefits.

History Of The Stability Ball

Several health professionals are of the opinion that the Stability Balls were first invented in Europe by physical therapists who realized the benefits of the Stability Balls on strengthening the core muscles as well as other muscles of the body without compromising the posture or muscle-joint co-ordination. These were used by patients who were told to perform stretching exercises. These patients often experienced discomfort while exercising on the floor. So a simple fitness ball was developed balancing on which patients could perform stretches and isolation exercises without damaging their joints. As the popularity of Stability Ball therapy soared, fitness experts enhanced the ball versions as per their needs.

Thus, fitness balls were earlier used to treat orthopedic and neurological disorders but now they are fast rolling their way into the world of better health seekers.

Benefits of Pilates Stability Ball

It is believed that 80 percent of the people experience back pain some time in their life. And a fitness ball is an ideal tool to get relief from this recurring pain. But keep in mind certain things before starting exercises on fitness balls. Firstly, a fitness ball may take some of the weight off the joints initially but you must continue to do suitable exercises. Do not stop suddenly. Fitness ball workouts can be as intensive as aerobics or yoga. So make up your mind that you will withstand the pressure for its benefits. Secondly, use only the best quality equipment while exercising. In the case of fitness ball, it is inflated by air. If the quality of the ball is inferior, there are chances of the ball suddenly bursting, causing severe injury at times. Also do not over-inflate the fitness ball. It can bounce and you may fall causing damage to your body. Finally, never overdo an exercise simply because it is easier to perform on a fitness ball. So do it under the guidance of an expert only.

Having considered these factors; go ahead with proper use of the Stability Ball. Following are some of the benefits of using Pilates Stability Ball:

  • This ball is an ideal tool to strengthen and stretch almost all muscles in your body.
  • It improves coordination of various parts of body and your balance and postures. Interestingly, the fitness ball creates instability, which forces the user to engage the core muscles to counteract a loss of balance.
  • Many exercise programs emphasize daily abdominal work. The traditional sit-ups have been replaced with different forms of abdominal crunches. A fitness ball allows users to take various positions with focus on upper and lower abdominal muscles. Getting strength with free weight is one of the easiest exercises that can be performed while sitting on a Stability Ball. Push-ups performed on the Stability Ball can accentuate your arms and shoulders.

Some Simple Exercises

Let’s take a look at some of the basic exercises that can be carried out on a Pilates Stability Ball. But before every workout, remember to do warm-up exercises. It is often recommended that one should simply sit on the Stability Ball for 30 minutes a day and bounce lightly and maintain the balance. Another simple exercise on the Stability Ball is to sit on the Stability Ball and gently bounce for two-three minutes and then try to move the hips slowly in a clockwise direction.

Another common exercise is: while sitting on the fitness ball, lift the left arm and right leg slowly at the same time, executing a full range of motion without rotating the hips or shoulders. Do this by alternating the sides, or perform multiple repetitions on each side.

While using the Stability Ball in your exercise regimen, remember not to overstretch as it can harm the body. Performing proper exercises on Pilates Stability Ball can be great fun to strengthen muscles of your body.

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