Get Access
Log In
Pilates Exercises with a Small Inflatable Ball

Pilates Exercises with a Small Inflatable Ball

class planning Apr 09, 2020

As much as we love Pilates mat work on its own, adding props can be a fun way to add some variety. Depending on how you use them, they can make an exercise more challenging or they can assist you through challenging movements. 

The exercises below use a small inflatable ball. Try them out and let me know in the comments which ones are your favorites!

 You'll find videos and detailed descriptions of each of these exercises inside the Pilates Encyclopedia membership!


  • One leg circlesSqueeze ball between calf and thigh of one leg
  • The Hundred
  • Curl Ups
  • Table Top
  • Double Heel Taps
  • Bridging:  add Alternate Leg Extensions
  • Criss Cross: upper body only
  • Side to Side
  • Roll-Over > Corkscrew: Ball between knees
  • Rolling like a ballSqueeze ball between calves and hamstrings or achilles and glutes
  • Marching
  • Prancing
  • Single Leg Stretch
  • Double Leg Stretch
  • Single Leg Lowers
  • Double straight leg stretch: Ball under the pelvis


  • Side Balance: Ball between ankles
  • Breathing into the top side waist to practice lateral breathing
  • Side Kicks front/back on elbow: Ball under side waist
  • Mermaid with legs on R (roll ball away): Ball under left hand


  • Swimming (arms only): Ball between ankles
  • Swimming (legs only)
  • Circle ball around (snow angels): Hold ball with hands
  • Double Leg Lifts
  • GrasshopperBall between ankles
  • Double Leg Kicks


  • Lift one arm, alternate/lift one foot, alternate/oblique twists, reach arm across body
  • Seated C-curve: Ball behind lumbar spine, press sacrum / lumbar spine into ball
  • Roll Up: Hold the ball between palms
  • Teaser prep 
  • Back Control: Ball between knees
  • Spine Stretch Forward (roll ball forward with your hands): Ball on the floor in front of you
  • Spine Twist (open one arm to move into the twist, close arms when in the center, switch ball into opposite hand to twist the other way): Hold ball in front of you 


  • The Z ( > raise arms up overhead): Hold ball in your hands 


  • Open knee to side: leg abduction, squeeze ball behind knee
  • Lift leg straight back > opposite arm forward: Ball between hamstring and calf
  • Plank (Front Control)/Twisted Plank/Side Plank: Squeeze ball between ankles


  • Roll Down or Up
  • Roll Down > walk to plank > (Push-up) > walk back > Roll Up to standing: Ball between ankles


Do you have any other favorites I didn't mention here? Let me know in the comments!  

Which Ball Should You Buy:

  • I like the Franklin Air Ball (9-inch diameter)
  • The Overball is a good and affordable option. (10-inch diameter)
  • TheraBand is a trusted brand as well, although to be honest, I have no first-hand experience with this ball. (9-inch diameter).


Want more Pilates tutorials with detailed cues and teaching tips?

It's all inside Pilates Encyclopedia Member Library!
Get Access

The Swan Dive: Mat vs. Spine Corrector

Oct 11, 2022

Core Principles For Teaching Pilates

Jul 25, 2022

Legal Advice For Teaching Pilates Online in 2022

Dec 15, 2021