So you are starting to get this Pilates malarkey. Your aches and pains ache a little less, you feel stronger, more flexible and you can feel some movements in class and in your everyday life are starting to get easier.
Pilates develops a skill set for good movement and for you to really get the benefits you need to practice. One hour class once a week will enable you to start to feel the benefits of Pilates in your body but to really benefit practice is key. Like any skill it requires practice, patience and persistence, the last two are from the man himself (Joseph Pilates) and the more of these you can give to Pilates the more you, your body and mind will benefit.
It isn’t supposed to be easy! It is supposed to challenge you but you learn that things change, your body changes, you change your mind about an exercise, nothing is permanent, important life lessons no less you are learning while invigorating your body and elevating your spirit (Thanks JP). There is nothing like the thrill of nailing an exercise which was once your nemesis, and what is great is the learning and the journey can continue as long and as far as you wish to take it. It really is up to you!
So what do you need at home to keep progressing and practicing.
A mat, Pilates mats ideally are thicker than yoga mats but are as long. This is because we have exercises where you roll through your spine and so you need a supportive, cushioned floor especially at the beginning so you do not bruise your back and to make it more comfortable on your spine. The mats I use in my studio are 5mm, if you already have a thinner mat though don’t let having the wrong mat put you off! Carpet or a rug under the mat will probably suffice or a towel, it is only for the rolling exercises that you need this extra cushioning.
Your away, now lets spice up your home workout!
The first prop I would get and recommend is a magic circle. I have been told at a workshop that originally these came from the rings around beer kegs! These teach you where your powerhouse/centre and shoulder girdle are like nothing else. A magic circle will deepen your understanding and develop your technique as well as help challenge your balance and stability. I use them a lot postnatally, for beginners and for advanced clients to add challenge. They are a must and wont take up too much extra space! They are widely available just internet search “magic circle”.
This would be the next item I would make sure I have at home. They are amazing to use for muscle release this can be through rolling on them or simply lying on them. They also add a stability challenge when you perform exercises lying on them and you can replicate the movement of a push through bar/footbar/reformer carriage for some exercises on the mat. I use these in pregnancy, postnatally and for beginners to advanced. The muscle release you can get is amazing and makes these worth it just for that. They are great postnatally or anytime just to lie on and breath to open up your chest, shoulders, pelvis and back. They do require a bit more space and I would go for a 36 inch long by 6 inch diameter roller.
This would be my final must have. You can get them of varying resistance levels, sizes, with handles and some are closed loops. They can be used in a multitude of ways to add resistance, feedback or to give you assistance, stretch and or challenge. I would start with a band of an intermediate resistance.
Nice To Have’s
I use balls of varying sizes in classes, tennis balls for release of muscles, 7 inch and 12 inch balls again for release but also to add a stability challenge to a workout. If you internet search 7 inch Pilates balls or 12 inch you will get many options.
These are a nice to have. You can use hand weights, weighted balls, ankle weights to add further load to increase your workout. For our purposes in Pilates weights of around 1kg will be perfectly sufficient.
Have fun and keep practicing and watch out for some new videos on the website www.sharepilates.com using these small props!
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