The Pilates ring is one of the most versatile new fitness tools on the market. It represents some new thinking about how to best challenge multiple areas of the body. The Pilates ring also brings classical Pilates philosophy to a fitness session that includes light resistance with portable tools.
Pilates and the General Workout
As a general practice, the art of Pilates is not a "power workout" activity. It uses concepts of body symmetry, light body based resistance and similar ideas. Pilates focuses on flexibility, improved range of motion, balance and overall poise instead of traditional muscle building. That's not to say, though, that Pilates work can't tone and even build muscles gradually. A long term program of targeted resistance with activities like Pilates can keep muscle groups in good shape. This is part of what the Pilates ring brings to the table.
Some Common Pilates Ring Uses
The Pilates ring, sometimes called a Windsor ring, provides a tool for getting more kinds of light resistance into a Pilates session. Some of what constitutes Pilates is based on the principle of isometrics, where the body acts against itself or against a surface. With the Pilates ring, users can target the upper body, core or lower body.
One common activity is to work the ring with both arms, putting pressure inward from both sides. This activity is adapted to the lower body, for example, when a user squeezes the flexible ring between the thighs, or between the lower legs. In other activities, like a straight arm floor press, the user puts pressure on the ring from one side.
The Pilates Ring and Core Strength
There's a general principle behind a wide variety of Pilates ring exercises. Part of this is in the way the body responds to imbalance. When the body pressures the ring, it may trigger a balance challenge, according to how the ring is positioned. While the body responds to right itself, the core muscles are responding and getting attention they may need to tone or prevent atrophy. A diverse Pilates ring training session works the core and makes the body adjust to different poses, while the ring provides an elasticity that can add resistance and amp up the physical effort of the user.
The general benefit of the Pilates ring in doing some of the activities outlined above is that the body works on resistance training without grappling with heavy weights. A free weight exercise may include more risk to muscle groups, where the Pilates ring has a low maximum resistance threshold, and is less likely to result in injury. That's why the Pilates ring is popular for some forms of rehabilitation. It's also good for some users with a diminished capacity to respond to resistance, such as seniors. The airy flexibility of the Pilates ring provides a very specific level of challenge for users. This is the main way that this fitness tool is providing a specific benefit in group or individual training sessions. Take a look at different Pilates ring tools on the market to see how they are being specifically developed for various levels of use.