You have probably heard of a Pilates Mat. A Pilates Mat has extra padding which differes from a Yoga Mat. The padding protects the spine during rolling exercises, as well as hips, knees and other sensitive areas. You may have seen the Pilates machines, and been told by friend how they stretch you and make you taller. The Pilates machines, or apparatus as they are commonly referred to, work the body by creating resistance to help strengthen the body. A Mat session is actually harder then one utilizing the apparatus because on the Mat you are supporting yourself without the help of the apparatus.
Smaller Pilates equipment consists of:
The Magic Circle or Pilates ring about the size of a car stering wheel. It can be placed between knees, ankles, or hands and squeezed while performing the Mat exercises as well as some exercises specific to the Magic Circle.
Hand Weights - can also be added to a mat workout or utlized during the Beginner System endings on the Wall.
Resistance Bands or Therabands - Not typically used in a Classical Pilates workout may also be added to a Mat workout.
Exercise Ball - Also not part of a Classical Pilates session is used in conjunction with many Mat exercises. Having a teach who can spot you while using the ball is essential for performing the exercises safely. Some physical therapists incorporate the ball or bands in routines for their patients.
The Foot Corrector - a small metal platform with a piece suspended over it held by springs. The toes arch or heal of an individual foot can then press and release. Exercises can helping with collapsed arches and other foot issues as well as the rest of the body. In Pilates each movement is connected as the whole body is being worked.
Other equipment includes the Toe Corrector, Push Up Handles, Breath-a-cizer, Bean Bag, and Magic Square (Neck Stretcher)
Larger Pilates equipment consists of the Pilates Reformer, Chairs, Barrels, the Tower and the Cadillac. Exercises can be done in various ways, either lying down, sitting, standing, pulling the strap, or pushing the Footbar.
Props are also used with some of the larger apparatus like a weighted pole, small boxes for the feet or a larger box to sit or lie on. Spring boards, platforms, straps, wedges, and balls. New pieces are introduced regularly while classical Pilates tries to just use the original apparatus that Joe and Clara used in their studio.