When it comes right down to it, many would argue that pilates is possible without any equipment, but some traditional pilates accessories are often the norm for practicing forms of this fitness art. Pilates is based on principles that have more to do with body isometrics and positioning than fancy gear. However, there are some common tools that can help enhance the majority of pilates sessions.
Reformers and Machines
Many types of pilates rely extensively on machines, sometimes called reformers. These machines are a combination of straps and other body positioning aids, hooked up to a comprehensive frame. The pilates user hooks up to various parts of this machine to facilitate some of the poses and stretches that are central to the pilates session. Pilates machines come in many different shapes and sizes, and the unique setup of a reformer or other machine has an impact on how the pilates routine progresses.
Pilates Tables and Chairs
These items are really just more options for positioning the body. Some of these items provide a "baseline" position. From the baseline position, different pilates exercises work the body by extending from a baseline and returning back to the original position to resolve the move. Other activities are done on a simple mat, where more of the focus is on setting up the body without additional structure.
The Pilates Ring
A pilates ring, also called a Windsor ring or a "magic ring" is emblematic of the small pilates fitness tools that, while not strictly necessary for many routines, are extremely helpful in providing isometric or body-centered responses. The pilates ring includes a flexible elastic circular frame. The pilates practitioner acts on this frame, often pushing in with both arms, or with the thighs or other lower body areas. This tones specific muscle groups by providing enhanced resistance.
There are a few more similar tools that pilates users often include in a session. These help to get their body into the advanced positions that can improve range of motion, agility and overall body capacity, along with working core muscles and stabilizers for better overall health and muscle longevity.
As pilates equipment providers continue to expand their offerings, some users are taking advantage of different kinds of pilates tools, some of which take up less space than a reformer or large machine, while fulfilling many of the same roles. For example, the PilatesStick(TM) technology allows users to move the body along with a specific set of trajectories for classic pilates work. Fitness enthusiasts can find these tools and much more from online catalogs of specific providers that cater to the pilates customer.
Even though some forms of pilates are not as reliant on big machines and equipment, many of these tools can improve the way you practice positioning arts like pilates and yoga. With guided motions, there is less chance of injury, and more opportunity for effective muscle toning. The choice of what to include in the home pilates studio or other space is left up to the individual, and reading up on all of the gear available can help you make the right choices.