Pilates is a type of exercise that focuses on strengthening the core muscles of the abdomen and back as well as improving flexibility and increasing balance. A pilates ball is a type of exercise equipment used in performing this kind of workout. It is usually large, round, and made of vinyl or rubber. Generally, it is used to stabilize and protect the lower back while a person is working out.
This equipment comes in various sizes to accommodate petite or tall individuals. It can be anywhere from 21.65 to 39 inches (55 to 75 cm) in circumference. It is normally flat when first purchased and must be inflated with an air pump. When it is full, it often resembles a very large beach ball.
One of the ways people can use a pilates ball is to place it against the small of the back while putting the feet firmly on the floor. This can help support the lower back when stretching or performing abdominal exercises. An individual could also perform various weight-training exercises from this position.
Many exercisers notice improved flexibility after using a pilates ball for a short period of time. This is because a person can place her hands or feet on the ball and roll it gently forward. Many times, they are able to stretch slightly farther than they would without this equipment. Most people do not report having any pain when doing these movements.
A pilates ball naturally wobbles from side to side when a person is using it. This can take some getting used to at first, but usually results in the user having improved balance and coordination. Concentrating on keeping the ball stable while performing exercise can also cause the core muscles to work harder. This also helps exercisers to meet the pilates goal of improved abdominal and back strength.
Other exercises that can be performed with this piece of equipment include push-ups and crunches. A person can place her hands on top of the ball while resting on the knees to perform a push-up. This typically adds some resistance and helps increase muscle mass. Crunches can be done while placing the back on the ball. This can increase the range of motion without causing injury.
This item is often used by athletes, physical therapists, and personal trainers. It is an object that is generally easy for people of all ages and fitness levels to use. A pilates ball is lightweight and can have the air removed, if needed, for easy storage. These factors can make this piece of fitness equipment easy to use almost anywhere a person would like to exercise.