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Hip Opening with the Exercise Ball


Updated June 21, 2014

Girl laying down on a yoga mat with her feet on a yellow yoga ball. She is smiling at rest doing her exercise. Ocean in the background.
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This easy exercise done with the exercise ball is great for toning the inner thighs and getting you in touch with the action of the hip muscles that primarily turn your legs outward called the deep six.

While this exercise is easy, and we don't need to over-work the deep six, tuning into the power of these hip muscles is an important key to having a sense of lift up out of the pelvis, as well as freedom of movement in the hip which are so valuable in all Pilates exercises as well as in daily life movement.

Your exercise ball should not be too high. It should be close to the height of your legs when they are in table top position. Size your exercise ball

Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 1 - 2 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Lie on your back and put the outside edges of your feet on your exercise ball. Put the soles of your feet together if you can. Your knees will bent bent and open as far as you can comfortably take them.
  2. Keeping your feet together (as much as you can) draw the exercise ball toward you.
  3. Press your feet into the ball and use an outward rotation of your leg in the hip socket to open the front of your hip and push the ball away from you. It won't go very far. Engage your glutes (butt muscles) but do not squeeze them.

    You might feel an outward wrapping sensation at the top of your thigh and under your butt. You are getting your deep six hip muscles to work.

  4. Continue to rotate your legs outward and use that action to pull the ball in again.

    It is important the both the pressing out and pulling in happen because of the outward rotation and opening at the hip first, not because of the opening and closing of the knee. That will happen but it is secondary.

  5. Do 5 - 10 sets slowly.


  1. As with all Pilates exercises, keep an awareness of your overall form. Your shoulders are down, your chest is open, the backs of your arms are pressing lightly against the mat, your spine is in neutral; and there is a little smile on your face, of course!
  2. If you put your hands on your inner thighs you can feel them working. If you don't, make them work!

  3. Please read What Are the Deep Six Hip Muscles to learn more about the importance of learning to activate these important hip muscles.

What You Need

  • An exercise ball

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