Balance balls (also called balance balls or Swiss balls) are becoming very popular exercise equipment that can commonly be seen in fitness centers and home gyms. Balance ball exercises are so effective because the body’s muscles are constantly straining to remain stabilized on the ball. This means that muscles in the legs, back, and abdomen will be toned and strengthened through constant manipulation. Although they are used for a great amount of activities, balance ball exercises are very common in Pilates workouts. Pilates is a popular form of exercise that focuses on core strength, breathing exercises, and stretching. Instead of working just one area of the body, like is done in weight lifting or crunches, Pilates exercise balls work a variety of muscles throughout the entire body.
Common exercises that are performed with Pilates exercise balls are the ball balance, the butt lift, back extension, ball twist, and the abdominal roll. For all of these exercises Pilates exercise balls are necessary, because without the use of equipment, the person will not fully utilize all muscles in the body. For example, during the ball balance, all muscles in the body must tighten in order to remain balanced. This not only works the legs and buttocks, but will also tighten arm and abdomen muscles. Pilates ball exercises should be repeated in reps, usually 12 to 15 reps per exercise. Balance ball exercises can be custom to a person’s individual work out. For example, some people may choose to work exclusively on abs. It is often a good idea to consult someone who is a Pilates expert or try an exercise tape.