As a Pilates instructor, I am often asked about the essential pieces of Pilates equipment for home workouts. And I love to talk about this topic!
Pilates is a modality you can join regardless of your fitness level. You can make it as relaxing and soothing as you want. Or you can challenge yourself and increase its intensity, by adding resistance through the use of a few pieces of equipment.
In this blog post, I will share the pieces of equipment that are must-haves if you are getting serious about your at-home Pilates practice.
Pilates may just well be the perfect home workout
Pilates is a great modality to keep you active. And there are several elements that make it that way.
Pilates is a very versatile modality.
As said before, Pilates is accessible for people of all fitness levels. Depending on the exercises you perform, and on the intensity chosen, it can be soothing, restoring, relaxing, or intense and cardio-challenging.
Pilates was initially developed by a German physical trainer named Joseph Pilates in the 1920s. It has continued to gain popularity until today as a modality that promotes strength, balance, coordination, flexibility, and the mind-body connection.
You can practice Pilates perfectly from home
The traditional mat Pilates consists of doing exercises against the force of gravity. Because of this factor, it is one of the few full-body modalities that you can perform perfectly from home. Equipment is optional, and most of it you can easily pick up and put away.
Home workouts have gained popularity in the times of COVID-19, where staying active individually was our only option. But even in post-pandemic times, some people remained fans of the at-home practice.
Doing Pilates at home is cheaper than only taking classes, or having a personal trainer. Working out at home is also very convenient for when you are busy, and can’t make it to class or to the gym. Having a way to exercise from home will increase your chances of staying consistent.
Besides that, getting some gear for your at-home practice complements and sustains your progress. Some simple pieces of equipment and Youtube are more than enough for a great Pilates practice.
The must-have Pilates Equipment for Home Workouts
As you progress in your practice, you will certainly feel the need to increase the challenge of your workout. Some of these pieces of equipment do just that, while others provide you with support so you can better perform some of the exercises.
Most of them though, are accessible and affordable.
1. Thick mat: affiliate link & image
The main thing you will need is a Pilates mat.
In fact, if you only get one piece of equipment, let this be the one you get. Having a mat for your practice is important as it provides comfort for your palms and your back, as you perform some of the exercises.
And make sure you get a Pilates mat and not a yoga mat. A Pilates mat is thicker and denser than a Yoga mat.
Even if a Pilates mat will be an essential piece to your practice, it is a very practical one. You can roll it out once you need it, and put it away once you are done using it. So you are sure that it won’t get in your way or take up too much space.
This one is my favorite! It's a bit pricey and worth it.
2. Pilates magic circle or ring (Either):
The magic circle is a very versatile piece of equipment.
Its resistance allows you to work on your balance, as well as allowing you to work muscles you usually don’t get to work on.
Adding it to your workout will make it a fun one, while also adding a bit of a challenge and some variety to it.
I highly recommend it since there are a lot of exercises you can do with it. Some of which involve you holding the circle in your hands, ankles, or inner tights.
3. Small ball:
There are a lot of uses for the small ball - I take you through some exercises in this Youtube video.
It is most helpful for targeting the arms, abdomen, butt, and thighs. It is also great to work on balance and good posture.
4. Large ball: affiliate link & image
The large ball is a staple of the modality and it is very good for major core work.
It challenges a lot of core muscles due to the fact that it is an unstable surface and the need to sustain balance while working with it.
You do want to make sure you get the size that's right for your height. This one is great for the 'average' height 5'7"-6"1".
5. Therabands of different resistance:
Resistance bands are also a very efficient and versatile piece of equipment. They allow adding resistance to any exercise or workout.
By using them, you have the option to increase the challenge of pretty much any range of motion. And they are also very easy to pack & carry when traveling.
Having a diverse range of resistance is a great way to start. A set like this is good to start with.
6. Ball to roll out feet and other acute areas:
Rolling out little areas of your body will do wonders for your recovery! And one of the best ways to do so is with a ball. You can use a tennis ball, a massage ball, or a pinky ball.
If you're new to rolling out in acute areas, I suggest starting with both a soft and firm ball. like these. It's nice to have a choice to work with. Some areas may need a soft ball while other areas may require a more firm touch.
7. Foam roller:
The foam roller is also a staple of the modality.
You can use it in a lot of mat Pilates exercises. It is great in core workouts, to improve balance and added challenge.
But of course, rolling also aids in recovery. So if you chose a foam roller with medium density, you can also use it to roll your sore or tired muscles.
I love my foam roller and use it almost everyday. Picking the right density is important, so make sure you choose the one right for you. If you're new to rolling, I definitely suggest starting with a soft one, like this.
8. Ankle weights:
Adding weight to any exercise will make it more challenging. So put on some ankle weight for some extra resistance in any lower body exercise, and also some core exercises.
These are the ones I use. I love that I can change the weight.
9. A reformer:
A reformer is a traditional piece of Pilates equipment that most people don’t have at home.
Using it in your practice allows you to increase the intensity of your workout. The way it works is by adding resistance to the exercises, instead of having you work solely with your body weight and gravity. It can also assist you in performing a lot of the exercises, by helping with proper form.
Most Pilates studios have professional reformers. However, these days it’s also possible for you to buy a home reformer. It is a high-ticket item, so definitely consider it only if you are serious about the modality.
Also keep in mind that, if you are going to splurge on such an item, then you should choose quality over anything else. Balance Body, Stott Pilates, and Gratz are brands that have been around for a long time.
I use Balanced Body myself and this is a quality home reformer.
10. Hand weights of different amounts:
Once you are comfortable with bodyweight exercises, you should at some point progress to using some hand weights. Getting weights of different amounts - between 3 and 10lbs will do wonders for adding challenge and resistance. Check out this Neoprene Dumbbell Set. It's a great place to start.
Pilates Equipment for Home will make sure you keep progressing
Doing Pilates at home can be convenient, economical, and practical. And in post-pandemic times, a lot of us found that that convenience really helped us stay consistent in our practice.
Pilates is a great modality that you can practice pretty much perfectly at home. However, as you progress, it won’t be long until you need some pieces of equipment, to aid you in your practice or increase the challenge of the workout.
Above are the pieces of equipment that you should consider adding to your collection. Most of them are easy to pick up and put away, and also quite affordable. And I’m sure they will ensure you keep on getting stronger, and healthier.
Check out the recorded live Zoom Pilates mat class to get a feel for what you can expect https://www.vital7.com/vital7/
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