The popularity of Joseph Pilates’ strength and flexibility workout, which he developed in the early 1900s, would be hard to believe if you hadn’t seen it in action. Since then, the country has become even more enamored.
The Covid-19 may have played a role in that. People who couldn’t afford a studio class before the pandemic have been able to take advantage of virtual Pilates classes, according to Tabatha Koylass, owner and master teacher of TabPilates in Chicago, Illinois.
The cost of a monthly subscription for an app-based Pilates class is likely to be less than the cost of an in-person class.
This type of workout is ideal for those who want to strengthen and lengthen their muscles as well as improve posture and their mind-body connection.
Pilates can be practiced by anyone.
Low-impact Pilates has a seemingly infinite number of advantages.
Pilates classes challenge and improve your strength, flexibility, stability, mobility, breath, and the mind-body connection, according to Koylass. You can expect a full-body workout with each Pilates class.
Davina Wong, a master instructor at Club Pilates in Los Angeles, says that even in beginner-level classes, movements that appear simple are actually quite difficult. You’ll really feel the burn if you’re really concentrating on every movement and doing them slowly and with proper form.
Despite the difficulty, this workout is appropriate for people of all fitness levels. According to Koylass, no matter how intimidating Pilates may appear, anyone can do it.
The form that is taught in Pilates is all based on the highly functional ways you move through your life in your body, she explains. “It’s one of those fitness forms that is especially great for beginners because it teaches form and awareness.”
Focus your mind on Pilates.
Pilates isn’t just good for your body; it can also improve your mental well-being. Pilates expert and founder of online fitness community Bande, Amanda Jenny, says it’s a true physical and mental workout.
Pilates exercises, according to Wong, place a strong emphasis on moving deliberately and taking slow, deliberate breaths. This means that in addition to reducing stress and improving mental focus and body awareness, the workout is a great way to keep your mind and body focused.
Sign up for a class first before you commit to it.
Pilates, like any other form of exercise, should be checked out by a doctor before beginning, especially if you have any medical conditions or injuries.
Make sure you tell your instructor about any physical limitations or injuries you may have before you start a class, Koylass says. The instructor can help you adjust your workout and keep an eye on your progress.
If you’re taking a virtual class, make sure you’re working with an experienced instructor and that you’re paying extra attention.
All the equipment and props you need to practice Pilates
Pilates does not require any equipment other than your own body weight. The term “mat Pilates” refers to a specific type of exercise (practitioners usually perform moves on a mat, like a yoga mat).
The Pilates reformer is a large piece of equipment used for the more traditional form of Pilates, which was developed over a century ago by Joseph Pilates. You can add tension and perform Pilates moves using the apparatus, which looks like a bed frame and includes a carriage, straps, springs, and a foot bar.
Additionally, there are a variety of small props and equipment that you can incorporate into your Pilates workout in order to change things up, modify, and progress.
Instructors like Koylass are able to use a variety of tools and props to the benefit of everyone who walks through the door.
Props like a ball, magic circle, or even resistance bands can be used by your instructor in one-on-one lessons to keep things interesting for you and your muscles challenged.
Pilates equipment that can be used at home
Some of the most frequently used Pilates equipment and props can be seen in the list below.
A great addition to a Pilates practice at home is one of the many small and reasonably priced reformer machines available.
With a magic circle, you can find your center and equilibrium, according to Jenny. With one hand, you can press it into the ground or against your body in a variety of ways, such as between your legs, ankles, or hands.
Jenny explains that when using the magic circle, “the intention behind the movement is key.” “Your muscles can’t help but shake when you actively and effectively press into the ring.” To avoid any accidental scratches or scrapes, look for one with a soft covering and padded handles, such as this one from RitFit.
Pelvic floor activation and alignment can be improved with the help of small, soft Pilates balls placed between your thighs (and squeezed).
Core exercises can also be made more challenging by placing it between your tailbone and the floor.
People with back problems can benefit from Pilates arcs, according to Koylass, because they can be used to design workouts that target both stretching and strengthening the back. The chairs also have a good amount of lumbar support.
Resistance Bands with Loops
When it comes to getting the most out of your workout, Jenny recommends using resistance bands. You can use them to increase the difficulty of certain Pilates exercises by adding additional resistance to them. This means that you have to exert yourself in order to avoid having your knees cave in when doing a bridge sequence by wrapping a band around them. Instead of using weights, try stretching with a band after class or during arm exercises.
It’s easy to find the right resistance level for any given move because most bands come in a variety of intensity levels.
Full toe non-slip socks for women by Bellarina.
Socks aren’t considered to be a piece of gear. However, their usefulness justifies their inclusion here. Socks with grips on the bottom are common in Pilates studios. Wong explains that this is for two reasons: first, it’s more hygienic, and second, it prevents slipping on the studio floors.
You can spread your toes naturally on the floor with socks because they won’t twist or bunch up while moving. This provides a good grounding and stability.
Bangles made of Bala wood
A few light weights are recommended by Wong if you’d like a more challenging Pilates workout.
Adding more weight should be avoided until you are confident in your ability to perform a move correctly. She also advises against lifting excessively heavy weights in order to prevent injuries. You don’t have to worry about holding on to anything when you put on a pair of wrist or ankle weights.
Yoga Mat Thickness
Pilates workouts can be done on a regular yoga mat, but if you plan to do them frequently, Koylass recommends purchasing a densely padded mat. Your knees and tailbone will be protected from the hard floor by a thick layer of padding.
Rolling Pin for Foam
An additional small tool you can use to give yourself a greater core challenge is a foam roller. Because it won’t roll around on the floor, a half foam roller like this one is ideal for a wide range of exercises.
You can do ab exercises with your feet on the ground if you have a longer one, suggests Wong, who suggests lying on it on your back. “Alternatively, you can lie on your back with your legs up and do some balance and ab or arm exercises.”
Lie on the foam roller to open up your chest. For some stretches, you can place it under your hand and slowly roll forward with it.
Exercise Glider Discs with Dual Sides
When practicing Pilates at home, you can mimic the gliding motion of reformer moves by using gliders. Soreness and burning are just as bad.
They’re her favorite gliders because of the padding on the tops and the ease with which they slide on wood without leaving a mark.
A Chair Known as the Wunda
The Pilates chair serves as a bridge between the mat and the reformer versions of the Pilates method. Smaller in size and less complicated than a reformer, but with spring-loaded resistance, it provides a variety of workouts for the entire body.
It’s no surprise that the Wunda Chair is a favorite among Pilates devotees because it was designed and built using Joseph Pilates’s original chair dimensions.
With two springs that can be adjusted to a total of eight different resistances, it has the widest resistance range of any single-pedal Pilates chair currently on the market.
Note: Before using a reformer machine on your own, make sure you get instruction from a certified Pilates instructor. That’s the best way to ensure that you don’t injure yourself while doing Pilates from the comfort of your own home.