Ball Exercises: Different Sizes, Cool Moves

ball exercises I'm a prop girl and I particularly love ball exercises. It's amazing how those little round suckers can start off so unassuming then become so crushingly hard. (Cue evil trainer laugh ... ) I use balls in nearly every workout I teach at my Pilates studio. Here are a few ideas to get your workout started.

Small Ball Exercises

I'm going to start with balls that fit comfortably in your hand, about twice the size of a tennis ball. Most balls of this size are weighted, generally around two pounds each. These are great for adding a little ballast when doing ab work. It's amazing how just a few pounds can increase the difficulty of an ab routine that you do regularly. I also think balls are amazing for arms and my "Hollywood Arms" exercise video is one of my most popular ever.

Medium Ball Exercises

These are the size of a soccer ball, but they usually have more give to them and are inflated. GREAT for leg exercises (think inner thigh squeezes, bridge work, etc.) and also great for abs. You can place medium-sized balls under your bum or at the base of your rib cage for all kinds of wobbly moves that challenge your core. These are also a great tool for stretching ... think of a side bend that let's you get a great stretch in the obliques and shoulders. My latest workout video is all about "Pilates Ab Exercises" using a medium ball.

Large Ball Exercises

These might be the balls you were thinking of when you first read this headline; those big suckers you can sit on and even use as desk chairs. ¬†One of my favorite exercises using these is pushups with your toes on top of the ball ... if you can manage it. Resting your thighs just above the knees is also good too and a bit easier. I also love doing chest flies with barbells while sitting on one of these. Keep your upper back and head on the ball, lift your tush in the air (bonus! glute work!), and start working the flies. You'll have better range of motion than when on a machine, and the instability forces a bit of core work while your tush holds you up in the air. It's a trifecta move! If this sounds interesting to you, I've also got a "Pilates Abs on the Exercise Ball" video¬†that you might want to try. Have you worked with ball exercises before? What are some of your favorites? Let me know if you like any of my videos as well! Cheers, Lisa    

About Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson here. I've been a personal trainer since 1997, a Pilates instructor since 1998 and the owner of Modern Pilates since 1999. I'm hoping to give you some good ideas to get or stay in shape with a healthy dose of humor and reality. Thanks for joining me.


One Response to Ball Exercises: Different Sizes, Cool Moves

  1. evilcyber February 16, 2013 at 11:43 am #

    Yep, ball exercises are great for working all those smaller muscles that aren’t that much targeted by the “big” compound exercises. The BOSU ball strikes me here as one of those fitness gadgets that actually might be worthwhile to look at, too.

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