top of page
Search

7 Ways to Use a Small Ball in your Pilates Practice

I remember taking a workshop at the local studio when I'd first started Pilates. The title of that workshop was something along the lines of "10 ways to use a ball to change your practice" - or something like that.


Knowing myself, I likely still have the handout because it was my first time nerding out about Pilates in a group setting!


I remember thinking, "WOW! This is a tool I need purchase for my at home practice!!"


And here's why...


The small ball is something that I consider a Pilates support prop AND a Pilates challenge prop.


A small Pilates ball can help you by:

  • Supporting your head / neck

  • Supporting your upper ab curl by placing it behind your back

  • Supporting your low back by placing it under the hips

  • Building muscle strength by placing it between the knees & squeezing


A small Pilates ball can give you tactile feedback, which is crucial to a home Pilates practice or a virtual Pilates practice.


A small Pilates ball can challenge you by:

  • "Telling you" when you are moving out of position

    • The tactile feedback can help you self-correct on your own

  • "Keeping you" in a smaller range of motion

  • "Creating" instability when you use it in different ways


Here are 7 ways I like to use the small ball in my Pilates practice:


1 - Support your Hundred


Place the small ball behind your upper back to help you hold your curl.

You can also place the ball under your head/neck to support a lower version of the Hundred.

Pilate Hundred with small ball

Pictured: Size Diverse Pilates - Rachel Piper


2 - Support your Side Kick (or challenge it?)


Place the small ball under your side waist. The ball may help keep you lifted, but can also challenge your side balance. This type of prop use is what I like to call "super fun"!! You never know what's going to happen, but you are going to be working!

Pilates Side Kick with small ball

Pictured: Size Diverse Pilates Content Creator - DK Ciccone


3 - Build Muscle Strength


Place the small ball between the knees for Shoulder Bridge. Squeeze the ball as you lift and lower the spine. You can also add some pulses at the top of your bridge for some extra work (little squeezes).

Pilates Shoulder Bridge with a small ball

Pictured: Size Diverse Pilates Content Creator - Mindi Westfall


4 - Get tactile feedback during Spine Twist


Place the small ball between the knees while seated in a chair or on a raised mat. Gently squeeze the ball as you rotate and come back to center.

If you notice the ball moving while you twist, it means your hips are shifting. Decrease your range and try to keep the hips still for your next rotation.

Pilates Spine Twist with a small ball

Pictured: Size Diverse Pilates Content Creator - James Piper


5 - Challenge your Stability


Place a small ball under the hips for Scissors or Cork-Screw. The small ball keeps you honest when it's under your hips for these Pilates exercises. It can help support your low back, but since it's a ball, it can roll around under your hips, which means you have to work hard to stay on the ball!!


Another dual purpose using the small ball!! SUPER FUN!!

Pilates Scissors with a small ball

Pictured: Size Diverse Pilates Content Creator - Gwen Head

Pilates Cork-Screw with a small ball

Pictured: Size Diverse Pilates Content Creator - Mindi Westfall


6 - Challenge your Footwork


Place a small ball between the feet while doing your mat version of footwork. Holding the ball, without dropping it, creates a challenge because you have to use more muscles.


Note: If you place the ball under the hips and keep your head down, this can actually be quite supportive for the same exercise!

Pilates footwork with small ball

Pictured: Size Diverse Pilates Content Creator - Donny Lindell


7 - Challenge your Single Leg Circle


Place the small ball under the standing leg while circling your opposite leg. This creates a challenge because if you move the standing leg too much, it will roll off the ball. The standing leg should be as solid/ still as possible during the exercise.

Try decreasing your range on the circling leg and engaging your upper body more.

Pilates Single Leg Circle

And there you have it!!! I use all these fun prop variations in my sessions regularly and in my own practice. It's a fun way to mix things up!



Want to play around with the small ball during your Pilates Workout??

Try this 10 minute Small Ball Pilates Workout on my YouTube Channel!!


*Don't forget to subscribe, like, and share*

37 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page