Props can improve your form and increase the challenge of an exercise.
I love to use props in my own practice and will often incorporate them into a class. They are a great way to increase the challenge of a workout but also a good way to keep things fresh and to simulate some of the reformer exercises that help build strength.
For those new to Pilates, props offer support. I’ll often add them into a class after I see how people move. Working in proper alignment is hard especially if your body has been conditioned for a particular sport or if you have a congenital abnormality. Abnormalities whether congenital or physical [caused by injury, surgery or pregnancy] are very common.
1/ Mat: If your exercise space is carpeted, a yoga mat may be sufficient. Otherwise investing in a thicker mat is advisable. Pilates mats are thicker and more expensive than basic exercise mats. I use all of them for different reasons.
2/ Therabands: There are many different bands available, but I recommend buying a roll of Theraband in the weight you want because the length matters. For most people, the band needs to be at least 6 feet long and even longer if you’re tall. There are two weights that I use the most: Blue and Red. The blue provides more support and resistance than the red.
3/ Pilates Balls: There are several different sizes commonly used in Pilates but I use the small balls the most in my classes. Purchasing one is good but two will make it easier to use it in different ways. You won’t have to inflate/deflate your ball during your workout. Add a large ball to your wishlist.
4/ Hand weights: I often incorporate 2 pound hand weights to increase the intensity of the arm work and to increase the challenge of core work. Using a lighter weight is fine but I wouldn’t recommend more than 5 pounds for those who are really strong. You don’t want to compromise your form.
5/ Pilates Ring: There are a lot of different types of rings available at different price points. The Amazon basic ring will do the trick unless you want to spurge. Add a small ring to your wishlist.
6/ Roller: As with most of the other props, there are different rollers at different price points. The roller should be long enough to support your pelvis, spine and head when lying on your back. The density matters too. Really firm rollers will add challenge to some exercises but may not be comfortable when lying on your back. Keep that in mind when choosing a roller.
These are the props that are really core to Pilates and ones that I’ll try to stick with so that your home doesn’t start looking like a studio. If you have questions, please feel free to contact me.
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