As Pilates practitioners, we're always looking for tools to help us further challenge our bodies, as well as provide recovery for injuries and special populations. When we need physical support, we turn to Pilates' toolbox to find variation for everyone. Simple yet one of our most-used tools, the Pilates ball provides many benefits to the Pilates practice, including adductor activation, spinal support, lower body alignment for enhanced stability, and lower body alignment.
What is the benefits of the pilates ball
Use the ball to support the lower back
A common and important use of the Pilates ball 9 inch is for lumbar support. Placing the ball between the lower back and wherever the body is sitting provides physical feedback, which in turn creates a forced imprint of the spine in a safe environment. We use this prop a lot for this purpose, especially with Pilates newbies, and those who have trouble maintaining pelvic stability while lying on their back or in a C-bend at the waist. By using a Pilates ball in this position, you will become more aware and able to maintain proper form while practicing. When you use the ball in this way, the abdomen is also forced into a slight contraction, which further assists the spinal joints.
Another benefit of using a Pilates ball is the activation of adduction. Our adductors -- the muscles that contract to move your body, such as those in your inner thighs -- tend to be some underutilized muscle groups. For example, by activating the inner thighs to bring the legs together, we can have many benefits for the entire body. Adduction does more than simply draw the legs closer to the midline of the body, it also supports pelvic floor activation and fascial tone—a tension within the connective tissue that is critical to the upright structure of the skeleton. When placed between the legs, the ball allows the client to maintain proper hip-knee-ankle alignment. For clients with knee injuries or overdeveloped quadriceps, simply placing the brace in this position can significantly improve their form.
Use a ball to improve balance
How about balance and stability? We hear these terms over and over again in Pilates. Adding a Pilates ball to basic movements can create a stability challenge by creating a safe uneven surface to navigate. For example, a Pilates exercise ball can be placed below the waist while lying down for a balance challenge that provides deeper inner muscle activation. Even a lateral flexion series with the ball in the space between the ribs, hips, and floor engages our spine, one of the most underutilized planes, across a range of motion, while inviting the obliques and deeper Ride with the stabilizer! The strength and flexibility of the frontal plane, along with a great sense of balance, keeps us from injury and gives us more stamina for the day ahead.
There are endless options for this fun prop. The Pilates Ball inspires creativity and the desire to perform Pilates with support, proper form, and a deeper personal challenge.