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The power of the Pole in Pilates

Updated: Feb 21, 2023

Using a pole in Pilates is probably one of the least common props used but most people have a pole lying around at home. This makes it accessible and easy to work out adding a little spice to your mat workout. What is awesome about the pole is that it helps the body better respond to tactile feedback.

Why incorporate the pole into your workout?

  • The pole not only adds variety but can be used to modify or progress exercises.

  • It is a great tool for self-massage to release tension in the myofascial tissue.

  • It can be used to both challenge and aid balance.

  • It is a great way to open up the body - particularly the chest and shoulder area.

  • It will take your practice to the next level and really improve core strength!

Warming up your body can be done by doing the following:

Roll down and add a shoulder stretch by taking the pole over your head and you can add extension

Massage - rolling out the feet and neck

Overhead rotation, lateral flexion

Foot work using the pole to balance

Pelvic curls on your back on the mat

Glut work and Leg work:

The pilates mat work lacks leg work and starting your Pilates workout with this block can be hugely beneficial to your overall strength and mobility.

Standing on one leg or both legs and doing standing work you can use the pole for balance (see above for some ideas).

You can also do kneeling work where the pole is used to balance while you get gluteus medius work.

Hiking the hip up to get oblique and glut med work.

Lunges to get balance and leg work.

In Pilates we are never short of abdominal work:

Seated, lying supine or standing we can get the work in.

Some examples of abdominal work could include Leg Circles, Hundreds, Rolling-like-a-Ball, Open Leg Rocker, Pelvic Curls.


Push the pole into the feet - if you push back you will get a lumbar stretch and forward you will get a hamstring stretch. If you can't do this with straight legs you can bend your knees.

Lateral flexion and back extension:

You can get lateral flexion work by doing a side bend or lateral flexion with the pole overhead while standing.

Lying on your abdominals with the pole in the back and lift into upper back extension to work the upper back.

The pole gives you guidance and feedback that allows you to explore the Pilates practice in a new way and that helps you discover the depths of the exercises. Happy training!


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