You are perhaps already enjoying mat Pilates or maybe you have yet to try it, but adding a small Pilates ball to your Mat work will do more than just add variety to your exercises.
Maintaining 'neutral' in the pelvis and spine
If you are already practising Pilates, you will know how important it is to engage your core muscles and maintain a neutral spine and pelvis in order to maximise your core strength and protect and strengthen your back during the Pilates exercises. This Is easier said than it is to do and I have taught many people that have really struggled to understand how to do this. It is not something we walk around doing or have to think about in our daily lives and it is not until we regularly practice doing this that we can become better at recognising when the pelvis is tilted and the back is slightly arched.
Using the small ball under lumbar spine and pelvis creates an unstable surface on which to perform Your Pilates exercises and movements. Often people are unaware of how unstable their pelvis is whilst practicing Pilates movements. This is more apparent when using a ball. b because of the unstable surface that the ball creates it makes the participant suddenly become much more aware of the need to engage and activate their TVA and keep the spine in a neutral position to assist them in stabilising.
This can help remind you to draw in and up through the pelvic floor muscles which will help increase body awareness, stability and also control and stability.
Participants begin to become aware that the movement is not important. The movement is providing something for your stability muscles to stabilise. This understanding is very important.
How to use the small Pilates ball
There are many ways in which we can use the small Pilates ball to enhance our Pilates practice. My personal favourite is to place the ball underneath the pelvis but you don't want to have the ball fully inflated as that will cause too much instability and will be too challenging to begin with and you will most likely fall off and you will be less likely to stick with it if this happens!
So, to begin with, partially inflate the ball, so its still quite squashy and you can easily squeeze it in between your hands like a wet sponge. Place the ball directly underneath the pelvis, bend your knees and keep your feet down on the mat with the feet, knees, hips aligned and hip width distance apart and your arms placed by your side with the palms facing downward.
Bring One leg into table top position , if that feels steady lift one arm off the floor and extend the arms up towards the ceiling. hold this position if you feel stable. repeat with the other arm.
Keeping the arms by your side on the floor bring your other leg up into table top and hold.
Engaging your core muscles for support and staying put on the ball.
Keep in the level 2 position and bring one arm up off the floor extending it to the ceiling. If and when you feel stable in thus position repeat with the other arm so that now both arms are extended to the ceiling.
Once You have mastered staying completely stable in all of 3 levels the you can begin to incorporate the ball into your Pilates exercises.
The ball can be used for many different exercises to enhance core strength and pelvic stability. It can be placed between the thighs during the roll up exercise to work and tone the inner thighs or between the knees and squeezed during the Shoulder bridge to help the Pelvic floor and buttock muscles fire up.
I could go on and on but the best way for you to understand is to try it for yourself. so, go on and buy yourself a small Pilates ball and come and join my Wednesday Pilates ball class or enjoy the recording of it at a time that suits you, (This offer is for Premium Pilates subscribers Only)