The concept of Joseph Pilates’s exercise method was conceived almost a century ago. It is referred to as classical Pilates in the industry, meaning the trainer stays true to the original exercises and sequences as practised by Joseph and his early faithful followers. In the meantime, the fitness industry has snapped up this exercise method and dressed it up in a new jacket during the last couple of decades. The basic principles, however, remains the same.
With the evolution of Pilates, Contemporary Pilates emerged. Small apparatus has been added to the studios to aid the exercises and keep it fresh and full of fun.
In the last 100 years, much research has been done on the incredible human machine and how exercise and food influence the body. Like in most areas of life, there has been an explosion of knowledge regarding fitness and fitness supplements. Walk into a drug or food store, and the size of the fitness, health and well-being section is enormous.
Let’s take a look at some of our help-mates:
A mat on the floor allows you to do a fantastic series of exercises without Pilates machines. Mat exercises are a challenging workout in their own right due to the flow of movement, attention and focus, plus the engagement of the core muscles. The mat workouts are flourishing in fitness studios because the Pilates machines take up a lot of space and initially are an expensive layout. Mat work is popular for small or larger groups of people.
Let’s have a Ball
We are now referring to that big Ball stacked in the corner of the studio. They come in various colours and sizes. Some call them fitness Balls, medicine Balls or even swiss Balls. No such Ball graced itself in the corner of Joseph’s New York studio because it is not a classic Pilates piece. But it is such a super apparatus that the Pilates industry grabbed it with hands and feet. As body balance is one of Pilates principles, it is a star amongst the apparatus. The rolling nature of a Ball makes it challenging to balance your body when you sit or lie on it. Whenever you challenge body balance, you have an excellent opportunity to test core strength using the powerhouse and stabiliser muscles. You will find that even having just the hips or legs on the Ball while the rest of the body is stable on the mat increases the level of difficulty.
The Fitness ring or Magic Circle!
Pilates Fitness Ring has become very popular throughout the fitness world. The Pilates Fitness Ring, also known as a Magic Circle, is usually made of flexible metal or rubber. It is a classic Pilates piece designed by Joseph Pilates. A Circle held between the ankles, thighs, or palms is a helpful tool for finding the mid-line, an important Pilates principle. It is an aid apparatus to activate the muscles you are exercising.
Is the Band Playing?
Colourful Therabands are latex resistance bands or tubes. This long, stretchy band, available in various resistance levels, is terrific for stretching the hamstrings and lower back during Mat workouts. Athletes and dancers also use them to strengthen and stretch their feet. Theraband exercises’ requires excellent posture; it’s fabulous for warming up and cool-down stretches. Therabands can increase motor function and strength in a regular exercise plan.
If you want to play in the band, learn how to ‘play’ a Theraband.
This versatile apparatus, a mainstay of athletic training and rehab, is designed to smooth out the fascia. Its rounded shape can substitute as a Spine Corrector. Foam rollers come in different sizes. It is an effective way to loosen up muscles such as the IT band and shin muscles. It also releases tight knots within the muscles. It is a fantastic apparatus to use before stretching. It also has a massage effect on your muscles when you roll your body out on it and stimulates blood flow.
Bosu Baffles Brains
This half-circle Ball makes seemingly easy squats just a little more complicated. Like a coin, it has a flip side. One side is flat and stable; the other is rounded and soft. Adding that element of instability makes a workout so much harder. You can jump, sit, lie or do pretty much anything on it. There are endless variations of moves that can be performed on the Bosu to spark up and intensify your workout.
No dust will ever gather on our Bosu or your brain, for that matter.
In Pilates, we use light Hand Weights to keep the emphasis on the entire body. One to five-kilogram weights challenges the Standing Arm Series and Mat workout. They also make a good stand-in for the Arm Springs on the Cadillac, and the pulley handles on the Reformer.
This squishy inflated Ball is one of the most versatile and commonly found apparatus in a Pilates studio. When placed between the inner thighs, ankles, or palms, the Ball invites the engagement of the surrounding muscles. It’s also a great modification tool for extra support when placed under the spine or hips. Pregnant women can use a Ball behind the mid-back to avoid lying supine (flat on the back) for an extended period.
Foam blocks bring the floor closer to you in forwarding roll downs. In Pilates Mat classes, these firm but not rigid Foam Blocks can take the place of a Magic Circle or an Overball. They can prop up the sacrum in a Shoulder Bridge and provide a helpful perch in any seated exercises. Lightly hugging a block between the hands in Single Leg Kick engages the back muscles and upper arms. A pair of blocks placed beneath the hands can help make Leg Pull Back more accessible.
There are barrels full of fun items used in the studios. I have just named a few extra pieces of equipment. The moral of the story is that no matter how many times you visit the studio per week or how many years you are already working out, we will always find a new and exciting excursion to take your incredible human machine for a spin.
A Pilates Quote:
“A body freed from nervous tension and over-fatigue is the ideal shelter provided by nature for housing a well-balanced mind that is always fully capable of successfully meeting all of the complex problems of modern living. “
Pilates4.Me offers Contemporary and Classical Pilates!
Keep calm and Pilates on!