While barre will always be my first love, pilates is my second and I love my at-home pilates workouts. Just like barre, you can get a great workout at home with no equipment at all. In fact, the classical pilates mat class uses no equipment, just your body and a mat. However, I think adding in some fun equipment here and there can really amp up your workout and makes it more interesting and fun. Here is my essential list for My Favorite Equipment for At-Home Pilates Workouts.
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You absolutely need to have a thick pilates mat for any pilates workout. The mat will protect your spine during any rolling moves, provide cushioning for your tailbone and hips and give you more comfort during your session. Yoga sticky mats are pretty and great for yoga but pilates really requires it’s own mat!
The Magic Circle is probably the most popular and ubiquitous pilates prop. This tiny piece of equipment packs a major punch. It is fantastic at toning inner thighs, legs, arms, creating extra resistance and helping to maintain alignment. It can also help activate those deep core muscles to really target and strengthen your abdominals.
The pilates ball is a great tool for adding extra resistance to your pilates workout. It also helps you get a greater range of motion in some postures. Using the ball in between your ankles or thighs can activate your deep abdominal muscles, a notoriously difficult area to train. The ball can also be used to help increase your stretch.
Some of the traditional ending exercises for the classical pilates mat workout uses light weights. I love using weights to help tone the upper body with traditional pilates exercises but you can also use light weights in a more non-classical way to add extra resistance to other pilates exercises. Light weights are especially great if you feel like you are plateauing and need a boost!
Therabands are so versatile and the perfect tool for a pilates workout. They can be used to add resistance to upper body or lower body moves. They can also be used as a beginners tool for moves like the rollup that might require extra assistance for those lacking core strength. Therabands are also fantastic for aiding in postural alignment, especially during standing exercises.
I only recently started using the foam roller for my pilates workouts but man is it an effective tool. I always thought of foam rolling as great for stretching and massaging the muscles but when added to pilates moves, it really creates a sweat session! The foam roller creates a lot of instability, which means you have to draw on your core muscles to help you maintain proper alignment while you perform the moves. It can also help you get a greater range of motion than you might get using just the mat alone.
I think a lot of people think of the stability ball when they think of pilates props. They should! It is such a fun tool to use to help get deep into the abdominals, support the body and work in a greater range of motion. There are so many fun exercises you can do with the stability ball making it a great tool to add to your pilates repertoire.
While you can definitely go barefoot for your pilates workout, I like the extra support I get with my grip socks. They help me plant my feet and hold onto some of the slippery props (stability ball, I’m looking at you) plus they keep my feet warm!