The abdominal series of 5, aka the ab series, is one of the most known series in Pilates on the Pilates Mat. And, when you do the series correctly you only need a few reps of each. But, it's also so easy to do them incorrectly or to "cheat" yourself and your body during them. And then you think you either can or need to do more or that Pilates doesn't work. When all you needed to do was get connected to you and your body! And so, when you add this squishy ball into your ab series you will feel all the things you need when you don't use it.
Pull your ribs into the ball, allow the ball to reveal where you rest.
There are several variations you can do with the ball. But, for now, start with placing the ball under your lowest ribs and curling your ribs into your ball. Then leave it there for the first 3 (can also do it for the 4th) exercises in this series.
Single Leg Stretch: Bring one knee in and stretch the other leg out. Pull on your shin 2x and then switch. Be mindful that you do not arch or back, lift off the ball or bend back over the ball and rest. Repeat 3-5x each side.
Double Leg Stretch: Bring both knees in and stretch your arms and your legs away. Do not let your chest rest on your ball. Instead, pull your low ribs into the ball and your center towards the mat. Stretch in 2 directions and circle your arms around and pull your knees in. Repeat 3-5x.
Single Straight Leg Stretch: Reach both legs to the sky, grab one ankle with both hands and lower the other leg away without getting pull off your ball. Pull on that leg 2x and then switch. As you switch keep your center pulling in.
Double Straight leg Stretch: I like to take the ball out here and try to hold my head and chest up on my own. Place the ball at your ankles/shins and your hands on the ball. As you lower your legs the ball will slide down your shins and as you lift your legs you press slightly into the ball. It'll create resistance. Repeat 3-5x.
Criss Cross: Bring both knees into your chest and place the ball on the front of your knees. Then place your hands behind your head and your elbows on the other side of the ball. Stretch one leg out and open the opposite elbow up. Twist more into the ball and then come back to center and switch sides. Repeat 3-5x each side.
Be sure to check out more of my Pilates Mat exercises. I want to help you continue your Pilates Mat training!