How to Do Pike on the Exercise Ball

The Pilates pike starting position.
The Pilates pike starting position. Silverstock/Getty Images

Pike on the exercise ball is a Pilates exercise that is going to help you target your abs effectively. It requires shoulder stability, pelvic stability and lots of abdominal control to create the pike position.

  • Exercise Difficulty: The pike is of average difficulty
  • Time Required: It should take about 2 minutes to do a set.

Prerequisites for the Pike on the Exercise Ball

Before you do pike on the exercise ball, you should be able to maintain a good plank position on the floor. While this is a fun exercise to play with, it does require strength and balance. You need to make sure you feel stable doing the plank before you move on to doing the pike on the exercise ball.

Equipment Needed 

The only equipment you will need is an exercise ball. You can perform this exercise at home, at the Pilates studio or at the gym.

How to Perform the Pilates Pike 

  1. Take a plank position on the ball. The ball is positioned under your thighs. Your legs are extended straight behind you. Your shoulders are rotated back and down, away from your ears.
    1. Take a moment to find a place of true stability. Just like in plank on the floor, your abs are lifted and your body is in a long line. You will need to engage your legs and butt, hugging them to your midline for stability.
  2. Walk yourself forward on your hands so that the ball is under your knees or the tops of your shins. You will need to play with this yourself to find the right distance to get to a pike.
    1. The further forward you go the higher your pike will be, but you will also be less stable so work up gradually.
    2. Inhale.
  3. Exhale: In one smooth, flowing motion, use your abdominal muscles to pull your hips up into a pike position (see fig. 1). The ball will roll under your legs to be closer to your ankles.
    1. Keep your chest wide and your shoulders down so there is a lot of distance between shoulders and ears.
    2. Go slow and monitor your balance.
    3. Tip: Do not go too far forward, you could tumble to the front. Hold on to your abs.
  1. Inhale: Use abdominal control to return to the plank position.
  2. Repeat the pike 3 to 6 times.


  1. Pressing your shins into the ball will help with stability.
  2. Make sure the ball is the right size for you. Do not use an oversize ball for this exercise. 
  3. Notice how the pike movement in this exercise relates to the pike part of the Pilates push up. It also requires shoulder stability, pelvic stability and hugging the midline.
  4. Do you need a ball of the right size or multiple sizes for all of your Pilates exercises? 
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