Carol Murphy

1. How is Pilates on the ball different from regular Pilates?
» The Stability ball is an effective tool you can use to modify Pilates Mat exercises, making the exercises appropriate for all skill levels.
» The Stability ball adds the increased challenge of balance to the mat exercises.

2. What are two or three benefits of doing Pilates on a stability ball?
» The ball allows you to progressively increase or decrease the intensity of the Pilates mat exercises by making slight adjustments in your body position.
» The unique dynamic aspect of the ball allows you to roll into positions and transition positions with ease.
» For many of the mat exercises, the ball allows you to go through a greater range of motion than traditional Pilates mat exercises.
» The ball improves balance, posture, body awareness, and coordination.
» The ball is an inexpensive, portable tool that will enhance the Pilates Mat experience.

3. What are one or two of the most common mistakes people make when doing Pilates, especially on a stability ball?
» A common problem people have when doing Pilates mat exercises is improper body alignment, position and form. Adding the ball to your Pilates workout will train postural alignment and strengthen the core muscles that support the spine and enhance posture.
» At times, students get over zealous and want to rush through the exercises. Although the exercises should flow, each exercise has a specific purpose, a simple but definitive beginning and end to each movement. One of the key principles of Pilates is Control. Control is essential to the quality of every movement. Motions performed without control can lead to injury, but exercises performed with control produce positive results. Always begin each exercise appropriate to skill level and progress only when you can execute the exercise with precision and control. When adding the challenge of balancing on the ball to certain Pilates mat exercises, one should be able to hold the position with good form and alignment before adding controlled, deliberate movement.
» Another problem is people tend to only focus on the moving limbs when doing exercises. Although it’s important to strengthen individual body parts as we’ve done in our traditional strength training workouts, in reality, “daily life” calls upon our ability to use our body as a total unit. It’s a sense of training from the inside out. The Stability ball quickly reminds us that movement is initiated from the “powerhouse”, your core. When combining stability ball with Pilates, certain muscles will move or work through a range of motion while other muscle groups work to stabilize. You’ll improve both mobility and stability which are so essential to quality of life. Try to develop full-body awareness. Stay aware of not only the moving body part, but also what the rest of the body is doing.

4. What is one simple thing the magazines readers can do to help optimize their Pilates/ball workouts?
» Begin with the modified beginning 6-7 exercises to introduce your body to the Pilates movements combined with the ball in a safe and appropriate way. Only when you can hold the starting position of an exercise on the ball with proper form and alignment, should you add movement. Be attentive to what you are feeling as you may discover your powerhouse-abdominals, lower back, hips and buttocks. The consistent (suggested 3-4 days per week) practice of the beginning 7 will build a base of understanding, knowledge and new-found strength and mobility.

More Articles
2003 Manuscript Reviewer for ACE book Stability Ball Training
Oct. 2003 Energy Magazine feature article - “Pilates Ball Fusion Top Trend”
Oct. 2003 BodyHolidayOnlineMagazine article - “Pilates Ball Fusion Interview”
Nov. 2003 ACE Certified News interview - “Continuing Education”
Dec. 2003 IDEA Source article - “Circuit Training Workouts”


© 2003 FitLife, Carol Murphy