Pilates exercise programs offer a diversified range of health and fitness benefits. From strengthening the core to increasing agility and helping for sustainable weight loss, a good Pilates routine can do it all. To boost the effectiveness of workouts, trainers often turn to equipment and additional sport gear. There are various kinds of Pilates health equipment that can make exercises more challenging.
Resistance Bands and Weights
Both resistance bands and weights are common during Pilates workouts. Resistance bands are stretchy and rubbery. Made from latex, these are a perfect addition to a weight training routine. Resistance bands are particularly suitable for building upper body strength. They can also be used in combination exercises that target a certain muscle group while also developing balance.
Both standing and seated Pilates exercise techniques utilize resistance bands. This piece of Pilates health equipment is suitable for beginners and advanced practitioners. The material that the band is made of will be determining for the level of resistance.
Small weights can be used to accomplish the same goal. Since Pilates isn’t a weight lifting routine, the weight remains limited. Small weights and dumbbells can once again be used to increase the intensity of the movements and isolate a desirable muscle group.
Since Pilates is a routine aimed at increasing balance and strengthening the core, it makes serious use of stability balls. An exercise ball enables practitioners to engage in numerous routines that build stability, improve the balance and the posture. The ball is usually made of a soft elastic material and its diameter varies between 14 and 34 inches. The elastic material creates some instability that the body responds to by engaging a bigger number of muscles in order to get stabilized.
As the name indicates, this is a more specialized equipment type. The Pilates table offers the body some support, especially in positions that have a body part elevated. A Pilates table comes with a sturdy construction, which is essential for preventing falls and injuries in the case of more demanding movements or exercise routines. It typically features some form of cushioning, as well, to make working out more comfortable.
The Pilates reformer is the creation of Joseph Pilates – the founder of the routine. This is a Pilates apparatus that makes every single workout more challenging and intense. It relies on springs that leverage the body weight to provide enough resistance. Obviously, the added resistance that the reformer brings to typical routines makes the exercise more challenging.
Many Pilates studios have the machine. If this is the case, the entire routine will be performed on the reformer. The machine enables a full range of motion, it provides support and it also helps to increase muscle endurance.
The Pilates chair—or “wunda chair,” as Joseph Pilates called it—is a powerful piece of exercise equipment. Its small size belies its remarkable ability to build core stability, upper-body strength and lower-body power to improve performance in athletes, retrain the body after injury and increase overall physical conditioning. Although it’s been part of the Pilates system for many years, the chair is currently experiencing a new level of interest as a great tool for teaching clients either individually or in small groups.
The magic circle is another creation by Joseph Pilates. This ring is made of a flexible material and it is used by exercisers who want to find their center effortlessly. Also called an exercise ring, the magic circle is considered a secondary prop. Pilates routines can be performed without it but some studios make the equipment available for their members.
Most types of Pilates equipment are relatively inexpensive and can easily be bought from exercise stores. Anyone who is doing a Pilates routine at home will find the basic pieces of equipment quite helpful in terms of increasing the intensity and getting faster results.