Blog About JOIN Login

Pilates Exercises with a Small Inflatable Ball

at home mat 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!



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


  • Ball between ankles: Side Balance
  • ball under side waist: 
    • breathing into the top side waist to practice lateral breathing
    • Side Kicks front/back on elbow 


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

Seated + Rolling

  • Ball behind lumbar spine
    • Seated C-curve press sacrum / lumbar spine into ball
      • lift one arm, alternate
      • lift one foot, alternate
      • oblique twists, reach arm across body
  • Hold ball between palms
    • Roll Down/Up
  • Ball between knees
    • Teaser prep  > < Back Control 
  • Ball under left hand: Mermaid with legs on R (roll ball away)
  • Ball on the floor in front of you: Spine Stretch Forward (roll ball forward with your hands)
  • Hold ball 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 your hands: The Z ( > raise arms up overhead)


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


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


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).



Download a PDF of this exercise list here


Subscribe to the blog via email

Get fresh content delivered straight to your inbox.


Stay In Touch

Enter your name and email address to receive all the latest news and updates from Pilates Encyclopedia.

By submitting the form below you agree to receive email communication from PE. You can opt-out at any time and your email address will never be shared.