Challenging ourselves to lift heavier and push harder is good for building up our overall strength, but sometimes it’s good to give our bodies a little break. This is where a 10 minute Pilates ball workout fits. A low-impact form of exercise that focuses on building core strength and flexibility.
Disclaimer: You’ll need to grab a Pilates ball (available on Amazon.com from $14.99) for this workout. Pilates balls are not to be confused with medicine balls. They do not have any weight to them and instead are squishy providing just enough resistance.
1. Low Curve Crunches
- Step 1: Start on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Place the Pilates ball between your knees and squeeze, keeping the resistance there during the whole move.
- Step 2: Lean back just until your head and shoulders are a couple inches off of the floor. Reach your arms out in front of you on either side of your knees, and crunch up and down. Remember to keep resistance on your Pilates ball throughout the whole move. Aim for 25-50 crunches.
2. Oblique Reaches
- Step 1: Begin in the same starting position as previous move, feet planted firmly on floor and head and shoulders a few inches off the ground. This time hold the Pilates ball in your hands as you press your knees together.
- Step 2: Reach your arms straight out, holding the ball lightly between your palms. From here, use your abs to reach your arms out to your right side. Return to center and pulse up for one, then repeat the move starting on your left side, always pulsing in the center between reps. Aim for 25 reps each side for 3 sets.
3. Thigh Pulse
- Step 1: Begin in the same starting position as the previous two moves, this time placing the ball between the middle of your calves.
- Step 2: Lean back until your head and shoulders are a few inches off the ground, then lift your legs straight up above you. Keep your arms straight out in front of you and pulse your legs together, gently squeezing the ball between your calves. Aim to complete continuous pulses for 1 minute at a time, or 100 reps for 3 sets.
A 10 minute Pilates ball workout targets your smaller and deeper stabilizing muscles that you might not normally hit during your other workouts. Pilates uses none to minimal weights and equipment and instead focuses on building strength by doing high repetitions using your body weight as the resistance. However, don’t be fooled into thinking Pilates is a piece of cake.
Although less intense than many forms of exercise, Pilates will still work you out! Those small movements will creep up on you after so many reps, and you will be feeling the burn in muscles you didn’t even know you had.
The benefits of doing Pilates are much like those of doing any form of exercise, but with its emphasis on core strength, sculpted abs, and perfect posture are the major takeaways. If you need a break from your usual routine, the above 10 minute Pilates ball workout, let by fitness professional Rachel DeMita is perfect.