What Is It
Pilates and yoga have been shown to strengthen and lengthen a lot of muscles in the body. Unfortunately, some of the most potent movements for those require a large, giant yoga ball. These yoga balls can be difficult to keep up, hard to store, and if you have a kid or pet, pretty easy to destroy as well. Even if you aren’t doing yoga or pilates, a lot of strength training movements can become so much more difficult and potent when done with one of these yoga balls. However, if you want the potency without having to deal with annoying storage or buying a new ball every couple months, the Pilatemate Ball is exactly what you want.
Much lighter in weight and smaller in size, the Pilatemate Ball offers one of the ultimate ways to get the benefits from a “moveable surface” without all of the downsides. A half-pilate ball, the Pilatemate ball was engineered to be more effective, easier to transport, and more durable. It has a width of 34 cm with a height of 16cm, and it was designed for a higher ride arch for more effective workouts.
Many standard movements that you can do with most yoga balls can be done with the Pilatemate ball as well. Not all can be done with the Pilatemate ball. The ones that require a tall surface, for example, don’t usually have the same effect because the Pilatemate Ball is lower to the ground. However, this can be a positive. For example, if you’re trying to do a push-up with your feet on top of a standard yoga ball, the position is going to be much more difficult. If you do it with a Pilatemate ball, you may find that you can actually do it while still getting the core-stabilizing benefits of having that uneven surface. So it really depends on what you’re trying to do as to how the exercise will go with the Pilatemate ball.
To make it easier on you, the Pilatemate ball creators (The Founders Fitness company) offers some example exercises on their website and a more comprehensive listing of exercises comes packaged with your Pilatemate ball. While you can modify many exercises to do on the Pilatemate ball, these examples exercises will really help you get started with seeing what your ball can really do.
The Pilatemate ball offers a multitude of ways to use it. It can be laid on top of for course work as well as it can have your hands placed on top of it during plank positions for stability work. You can use it for lunges and other leg exercises for more stability training while it can be used for cardio and plyometrics as well. It can work the core, the legs, the chest and arms, and the heart. Really, as long as you have a good, safe exercise idea for the Pilatemate ball, it can help make your exercise even more potent.
When it comes to being much more portable and easier to store, I have to say that Pilatemate gets the better rating compared to standard yoga balls. The half-ball size means that it stays flat in my closet while the smaller size means that it doesn’t take up nearly as much room. Plus, for being a ball with a stable, hard material base, the ball doesn’t weigh that much at all. In fact, it can pretty much fit inside a standard plastic shopping bag with no concerns, so that gives you a good idea of the size.
How does it work? It works really well! I was a bit concerned that it wouldn’t be challenging enough, but if anything, it is almost too challenging! The Pilatemate ball has quite a bit of “give” to it, so you sink a bit further into it which requires your muscles to try even harder to keep you balanced. The exercises seem a lot more challenging, and when I normally can hold a plank for a couple minutes, my hold time is cut about in half with the Pilatemate ball. This lets me know that my muscles are working just as hard in half the time! Who doesn’t want a more efficient and effective workout?
For some things, there may not be enough room on the Pilatemate ball – depending on your body structure. If you’re a guy and have really broad shoulders, the Pilatemate ball may not be broad enough to allow you to keep your arms directly under your shoulders doing things like a push-up. However, I doubt that’s going to be an issue for most women, and for my male friends, it wasn’t an issue as well. I think it’d only be a problem for those with that larger-than-average bodyframe.
Really, though, the Pilatemate ball, while it hasn’t provided the way to do “new” exercises, instead focuses on making those regular exercises even more challenging and effective to make a better workout. It’s an easy-to-use workout device that doesn’t take up a ton of room, and I’m finding that it’s working really well to make my exercises more difficult. Doing a standard plank and the one-handed push-ups are the most challenging for me, but I’m doing a lot of experimentation to make sure to use the Pilatemate to its fullest.
As a note, it’s odd that it says it nowhere on the website, but the Pilatemate ball weight limit is 250 pounds according to the product insert I received.
The Pilatemate ball is so easy to use, and it really helps make some of your exercises even more efficient. It’s small enough to be travel-friendly, and because of its small size, it even works well for those who don’t have the room to store a ton of exercise equipment (such as in a dorm).
I’d be careful about putting your full body weight on the Pilatemate ball. For example, I wouldn’t stand directly on top of it – especially if you’re near the 250 pound weight limit.
The Pilatemate ball offers a compact version of a standard “yoga ball” to really up the intensity of your workouts. Along with being travel-friendly and easy to store, this Pilatemate really adds some intensity to my workout and strength training moves. There have definitely been days where I’ve felt it the next day when I normally wouldn’t!
If the Pilatemate sounds awesome to you (and it should!), you can pick one up at the Founders Fitness website.