How do you improve the best core workout? Add a ball! But how does a ball make Pilates better and just what do you do with it?

We did a quick Q&A with longtime Pilates instructor Cathy Konciak. She’ll be teaching a special Pilates on the Ball workshop at the studio on Sunday, April 8 from 12-1:30 p.m. Sign-up here or email thestudio108llc@gmail.com.

Q. What is a stability ball?

A. It’s a large ball that’s been used for many years by physical therapists. It’s made of a heavy-duty material that is burst resistant and is filled with air to varying degrees of firmness.

Q. What size balls do you use in this class?

A. The average person will fit on a 65cm ball. If you are shorter than 5’4” a 55cm ball will fit you better. The best way to measure is to sit on it to see how it fits.

Q. When did you first start incorporating Pilates and the stability ball?

A. I started playing with using the ball when I was in training on the Pilates apparatus. One of the things that I learned as a teacher is how all the exercises can be done on all the Pilates equipment. Since I was already teaching in a gym environment and stability balls were readily available, I thought why not apply that same concept?

Q. How does the ball enhance the exercises?

A. What I look at is how the ball can be used. Will the ball be used to make an exercise more challenging or will it be used to make a difficult exercise more accessible?

Q. What additional benefits can people expect?

A. Using the ball adds more challenge to balance. Working on Balance is so critical as we get older.

Q. How much harder is it to do Pilates with a ball?

A. Adding the element of working from a stable place and finding balance can be very difficult. People who are very strong are often surprised to discover that strength and stability are very different things. It can be quite an eye-opener.

Q. Can beginner Pilates students do a class with the ball?

A. They certainly can. Pilates is a mind-body modality. Our principles in Pilates emphasize working with stability and control. For beginners that may mean that their range of movement may be less, but they certainly can do the version of the exercise that works for them. I always offer layered versions of the exercises.

Q. What can people expect when they take the class?

A. To work, to have fun, to be able to laugh at themselves. You may discover a few things about your body you never knew.

Q. How much different is a class with the ball from a regular Pilates class?

A. We will do many of the same exercises in the ball class that you would expect in a mat class but there will be some exercises that will be taken from the apparatus repertoire. Again, since we will be using the ball, stability and balance will be even more of a factor. It’s a great complement to your regular Pilates practice.

Q. What should people bring to the class and is there anything they need to know?

A. People should dress comfortably but not too loose with their clothing as loose clothing sticks to the ball. Shoes will not be needed. It will be a little easier to be barefoot unless you have socks that are grippy on the bottom.