Recommended Equipment/Training Aids to Enhance Your Pilates Workouts

Pilates is a training style that usually uses your bodyweight as a form of resistance training. The poses and techniques also use isometric training to strengthen your body. However, some Pilates centres also use equipment or training aids to make the sessions more challenging.

In this article, we’ll look at some of the most commonly used training aids that add an extra dimension to your Pilates sessions.

Pilates reformer

The most popular Pilates equipment is the Pilates reformer. This piece of equipment can be found in most Pilates studios. Some Pilates centres even have Pilates reformer classes where the entire session is focused on exercises that use this amazing contraption.

What makes the reformer so unique is that it was designed and created by the founder, Joseph Pilates, in the 1920s. So, it can be assumed that he knew exactly how the machine would assist with the training he created. Amazingly, the reformer is still as effective and versatile today as it was almost 100 years ago.

The components of a reformer are the carriage, footbar and adjustable springs. The carriage has wheels that sit of a flat frame. This enables the carriage to slide up and down. There are springs and straps attached to the frame of the reformer to add resistance during the movements.

It may sound confusing, but once you see and use a Pilates reformer, you’ll realize that it’s a simple, basic piece of equipment that’s really easy to handle. The versatility of this piece of equipment is unmatched and you would be missing out on a lot if you only did Pilates on a mat without adding in a reformer workout every now and then.

There are hundreds of different techniques that can be executed with the reformer. Your Pilates training has just been opened up to a whole new world of possibilities.

Unlike most weight training machines such as bench press or leg press machine which only have a couple of purposes, the reformer can be used in a wide variety of ways to strengthen your muscles and keep you flexible.

Since the carriage on the reformer is not fixed and requires balance and engagement of your core muscles, you will be working your mid-section without even realizing it.

Pilates mat

This is a basic piece of equipment that you’ll need for your Pilates sessions. While most Pilates centres will provide mats, it’s best that you purchase your own personal mat for personal hygiene purposes.

Pilates ball

This is just another name for a smaller Swiss ball. The difference in name is simply clever marketing to attract the Pilates enthusiasts. The Pilates ball will help you with core training exercises. You will need to recruit your core muscles and other stabilizing muscles in your body when executing moves with a ball.

Pilates ring

These are usually used by women to strengthen their thighs. Most men feel too macho to use this piece of equipment despite the fact that it’s very effective for toning the thigh muscles.
Besides the above mentioned equipment, there are several other training aids that are sold to improve and facilitate your Pilates sessions. A quick search on for Pilates equipment will reveal many interesting results that you may wish to look at.

Always bear in mind that you do not need to get all the equipment. Pilates is a very basic form of training. After all, it was created in the 1920s. You can get a couple of training aids to help with your training but it’s best to keep things simple and focus on your form and execution of the moves. Consistency in your workouts is crucial too. If you can achieve these objectives, Pilates will change your life for the better.

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