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Workout with Pilates Ball Exercises

An intermediate plus routine.


Updated May 08, 2013

This routine is a balanced, full body workout with Pilates ball exercises. Basic instructions are provided, but please click on the links provided to get detailed instructions for exercises you haven't seen here before.

This Pilates routine does build to some advanced moves. Take your time. And remember, the closer your center is to the ball, the more stable you will be so don't leverage out too far at first.

Repeat each exercise 4 - 6 times.

Chest Lift on the Ball - add Rotation

Chest Lift on the Ball
getty images/sheer photo, inc
Basic Chest Lift:
  • Sit on the ball with your feet flat, and legs parallel hip distance apart.
  • Walk your feet out as you roll down until the ball is just below your shoulder blades.
  • Put your hands behind your head. Your chest and elbows stay wide.
  • Inhale.
  • Exhale: Pull your abdominals in, nod your head, and begin a upper body curl away from the ball. Do not sit all the way up.
  • Pause and inhale.
  • Exhale: Keep the abdominals drawn in as you slowly lower your upper body down to the ball.
Get Details for Basic Chest Lift

Next, add a rotation where you twist left and right at the top of the move while keeping your pelvis stable.

Back Extension on the Ball

  • Face the ball and place your body on it so that your hips and abdomen are supported.
  • Put Your feet where the wall and floor meet for control. Knees are slightly bent.
  • Exhale: Curl your upper body curl over the ball - don't collapse. Your arms point down toward the floor.
  • Inhale: Raise your arms, lift your abdominal muscles, and extend your spine to raise your body up to parallel to the floor.
  • Exhale: Return with torso parallel to the floor, and then curve over the ball - long spine.

Watch the Back Extension on the Ball Video

To take this move further, keep lengthening your spine and leave your shoulders down as you bring your whole torso up more. Your knees will bend to let your body move toward the back wall.

Plank to Push Up on the Ball

  • Place your belly on the ball and walk your hands out so that your body rolls along the top of the ball.
  • Lift your legs away from the mat.
  • Center the ball under the middle of your thighs.
  • Check your alignment: abs pulled in, straight line from ankle to ear, chest wide, shoulders down and rolled back

Get Detailed Instructions for Plank on the Ball

  • Continue to Push Up on the Ball
  • Stay in plank position.
  • Keep your shoulders back and down as you bend your elbows back toward your sides to lower your body into a push up.

Watch Pilates Push Up on the Ball Video

Pike on the Ball

exercise ball
(c)2008, Steven Boschoff
  • Begin in plank position.
  • Walk your body out until you are supported on your thighs.
  • Inhale.
  • Exhale: Use your abdominal muscles to pull your hips up into a pike. The ball will roll under your legs. (do not tip too far forward).
  • Inhale: Roll back to plank.
Get Detailed Instructions for Pike on the Ball

Bridge on the Ball - Basic to Advanced

Bridge on the Exercise Ball
Getty Images
  • Lie on your back and place your calves on top of the exercise ball (not in photo). Keep legs and feet a in parallel position throughout.
  • Inhale.
  • Exhale: Draw your abdominals in and up. Continue that action to send your heels and tailbone toward the far wall as you press through your legs to bring your body up in a long line from your knees to your ears.
  • Press up just to your shoulders, not onto your neck. Hold 2 to 4 breaths. Don't let the ball move.
  • Exhale: Roll your spine down onto the floor. Release to neutral spine.
Next, move to an advanced bridge on the ball where you press up with your feet flat on the ball as pictured.

Extra Credit: Roll Over with the Ball

exercise ball exercise
STOTT PILATES photography © Merrithew Corporation
  • Lie on your back with the ball between your shins, just above the ankles. Extend your legs toward the ceiling.
  • Draw your abdominals in. Allow that action to lengthen your spine along the mat.
  • Inhale.
  • Exhale: Draw your legs over your body until they are parallel to your chest.
  • Continue the deepening the abdominals as you roll your lower body up and over until your weight is on the broad part of your shoulders. Press the back of your arms on the mat.
  • Inhale: Flex your feet, lengthening through the back of the legs.
  • Exhale: Use abdominal control to slowly and sequentially put each vertebrae down on the mat.
  • Roll down until your legs are at 90 degrees.
  • Inhale: Lower your legs to begin again.

Get Detailed Instructions and Tips



Related Video
How to Do an Exercise Ball Push-Up

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