It’s time to spice things up! Pilates can be done with nothing except your body weight. However, If you are a Pilates-goer you have probably used multiple props that make your workout easier or harder by giving you more or less support. This adds flavor to the repertoire by isolating or engaging specific muscles. Props are small objects such as small balls, big balls, hand/ankle weights, foam rollers, spikey balls, thera-band, magic circles, etc.
The following blog will look at popular props that are incorporated in a Pilates session as well as some reasons for using them.
This is a long ribbon-like band that offers many different resistances offering assistance or challenge.
It is a great tool to stretch the shoulders or the legs.
It can also be used to tie around the ankles, knees for gluteus medius work or nice arm/shoulder work.
As an assist, it can be used to teach the spine to articulate better through exercises such as the Roll Up, or simply as support in exercises like the teaser.
The Foam Roller
Using the foam roller as a tool for fascia release through massage can help you warm up muscles or release/smooth tension.
Its rounded shape can be used in a similar way to the Spine Corrector or under the lower back to do Hip Work.
Its soft, wobbly surface can also add an element of balance under the feet.
If placed towards the upper girdle it offers extension into the thoracic spine.
The Magic Circle
This is one of the most versatile props that is used mainly to find the midline of the body.
It is great to add resistance for arm/shoulder work, or inner thigh/gluteus medius work.
It can also add an element of instability between the ankles for lateral flexion work.
It is a great assist when doing exercises like a chest lift or teaser or stretching the legs.
This is usually a wooden prop that is a shoulder for a shoulder series to stretch or to assist with balance work.
It is also a great way to be used to keep the shoulders wide when lying supine on the mat.
Hand weights offer additional load to the whole body, especially the stability and strength of the upper body.
This is usually in arm/shoulder/upper girdle work or abdominal control or stability.
A great way to work the body is up against the ball or lying supine on the mat.
This is a squishy inflated ball.
It can add support for inner thighs, ankle alignment, hip work, and spinal mobility.
It can also add challenge through balance work through standing single leg work.
The Yoga Block
The yoga block is a firm block.
This is largely a yoga tool but we use it in Pilates mainly as an assist or for stability/alignment of ankles, knees, etc.
Tennis Ball and The Spikey Ball
This is used mainly for massage/fascia release of feet, into gluteus, and the back. It is a great way to release muscle tension.
The tennis ball is round and hard but smooth.
The Spikey Ball is round, hard but has spikes coming out of it.