Pilates stretches the muscles to make you flexible, strengthens the spine to increase longevity of life, and improves your sense of balance, while sharpening your level of awareness. The form works on three basic principles—exercise, breathing and mediation—and is suitable for all age groups. Additionally, the workout can prove to be a great save for those with back problems, muscle soreness, and spinal discord, when moderated by a trainer.
If yoga has straps and blocks to heighten your workout and lengthen your muscles, Pilates too, has its fair-share of props that can amp up your routine by providing the right kind of resistance training. You can use the magic circle or the reformer to take your workout to the next level.
- Adding the magic circle to your Pilates workout helps strengthen and sculpt your body. Try the shoulder bridge exercise with the prop, to add another dimension to your muscle tone, get some lean definition around the thighs, pelvis and belly button, and reinforce spine integrity.
- Another popular Pilates resistance tool is the reformer. It is an apparatus that challenges the body—in a slightly different way—to build core strength. The apparatus has five different coils providing varying resistance. Depending on the exercise movement, the resistance can be modified to be easier or harder. While the exercise fundamentals are the same as those you would do in a mat Pilates class, the added resistance creates an additional challenge for the muscles of the body.
To get the lowdown on other props used in the practice, catch the show, Pilates: From The Inside Out to optimize your workout routine and intensify your program.