Winsor Pilates Ball Workout

Photo by José Vílchez

Photo Credit: José Vílchez

Pilates is a popular form of exercise practiced by Hollywood stars, athletes and ordinary people. Pilates isn’t a fad. It is a type of exercise developed in the early 1900s by Joseph Pilates, an athlete who designed the exercise to help improve range of motion, strength and balance. The philosophy of Pilates promotes harmony of body and mind. This type of exercise takes concentration, dedication and supervision by a trained Pilates instructor. Pilates exercise movements can be modified to include exercise equipment, such as an exercise ball. Winsor Pilates was developed by Mari Winsor, a former professional dancer and fitness expert. Mari Winsor developed her slimming style of Pilates about 20 years ago. Her form of Pilates emphasizes the slimming and toning nature of Pilates exercises. Mari Winsor trained with a Pilates expert who was trained by Joseph Pilates himself. She opened a studio in Los Angeles where she has trained celebrities as well as regular people. Mari Winsor often employs equipment, such as balls, to enhance the toning and trimming effects of Pilates exercises.

If you want a strong core, Pilates can help you get it. Pilates mat exercises using an exercise ball can help you strengthen your abdominal and back muscles. Balancing on the ball while performing Winsor Pilates exercises engages all of your core muscles. The ball provides an unstable surface which forces your abdominal muscles to continuously make small adjustments to keep your body stable and balanced. Researchers reported in a study published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapy that women who were previously sedentary developed stronger abdominal and back muscles as well as improved endurance and flexibility.

Regular Pilates workouts can help you develop better posture, too. You’ll experience greater flexibility and greater range of motion as you stretch your muscles and strengthen your joints. Strengthening your back muscles and core can also help prevent or relieve minor back pain caused by weak muscles. You can do Pilates 2 to 3 times each week as part of your strength training routine. Pilates isn’t effective for weight loss, so you still need about 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise each week to lose weight and maintain weight loss.

The exercise ball, also called a stability ball, can be incorporated in Pilates routines to help strengthen your core and back muscles. There are different skill levels of Winsor Pilates ball exercises to accommodate beginners to the Winsor ball expert. No matter how fit you are, you should begin with the easiest form of Winsor Pilates ball exercises until your body becomes accustomed to balancing on the unstable surface of the ball. The intermediate and advanced levels present a challenge by requiring greater coordination with multiple moves. Pilates exercises on an exercise ball include the shoulder bridge, the roll over with scissors, the twist and leg pull. Do knee folds by sitting on the ball with your feet hip-width apart on the floor. Lift one foot off the floor and hold it for 5 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.

The first thing you should think about is finding the right Pilates instructor and selecting the right size ball. Not all exercise balls are created equal. Select a ball that gives slightly when you sit on it. You should be able to sit comfortably on the ball with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle with your feet flat on the floor. Practice sitting on the ball to find your balance and adjust your core to stabilizing your body. Once you feel comfortable on the ball, try a few simple Pilates exercises, such as knee folds.

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About Robin R.
I’m an AFPA certified personal trainer & nutrition consultant, NASM certified corrective exercise specialist, NASM certified youth exercise specialist, online fitness coach and freelance writer specializing in health and fitness. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Science in natural health. I specialize in weight loss, functional strength training, total body toning, aerobic conditioning, plyometric training, nutrition planning, and home-based boot camp style workouts for women. My goal is to make every personal training session fun and effective for my clients. My services include both in-home personal training and online fitness coaching.

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