Giving Props to Props
The title says it all, here are my favorite props to enhance home Pilates workouts. Whether you are looking for “stocking stuffers” for friends or family or for some ways to reinvigorate your own practice, here are some amazing props to assist, pun intended.
The loop is all about adding resistance to hip work, primarily hip flexors, glutes, and outer hips. It can also add stability and feedback for knee alignment in basic squats and hip lifts.
Pros: cheap, durable, portable/lightweight
Cons: I haven’t found many good ways to use it for the upper body so it’s less versatile than all the other props on the list.
I have the Power Systems Versa Loop “light. Less than $10
I love, love, love the big stability ball.
Let these workouts speak for themselves in regards to the versatility & added challenge of the big ball.
Pros: cheap, super versatile, fun!
Cons: big and ugly
I bought my ball so long ago that I don’t know exactly where it is from but this product is an old physical therapy and gym staple and very easy to find, often under the generic name Exercise Ball, and generally retailing for about $20. Note: this type of ball comes in different sizes so make sure to get the size appropriate for your height.
The small ball is quite possibly my number one favorite prop. It adds challenge to lower and upper body exercises as well as serves as an amazing self massage tool, especially addressing the torso.
Pros: unique tool for self-massage, cheap, small, relatively portable, versatile.
Cons: I cannot think of any! If I really had to come up with something, I’d say that it’s limited for arm and shoulder work.
Bonus note: my favorite thing to do with this ball is, as Kelly Starlett lovingly refers to it as, The Gut Smash. There are several ways to do this but the simplest is to lay on the ball (not overly inflated) with in under your belly, below your low ribs and above your front hip bones. It’s an incredible massage for your stomach muscles.
I use the Coregeous ball from Tune Up Fitness. This type of ball is usually $10-15
The resistance stick is new to me, I ordered it on a whim from Amazon because at $11.72 I figured it was worth a shot. It’s awesome. It adds resistance and feedback in similar ways to a Pilates Reformer.
Pros: low cost, versatile, portable, easy to store
Cons: the one that I bought is light on the resistance, I would love a little more resistance and the ability to adjust the the resistance would be awesome. Of course, the resistance also changes depending on your dimensions, which could be considered a con.
I teach Virtual Mat Pilates with Resistance Stick every Friday at 12pm eastern time, drop ins welcome (Zoom based, recording available if you cannot be there live). Schedule HERE
The one I have is Jiaojo but there are several similar products available.
The sweet old classic; the foam roller. Name a muscle group and I’ll name a foam roller exercise to address it. The foam roller increases mobility, challenges stability, down regulates the nervous system, increases strength, just to name a few. It’s that good.
Pros: it’s just awesome. 🙂
Cons: not the easiest to store and although it’s the classic for myofascial release (self massage), it’s not actually the best tool for most areas of the body.
I teach Virtual Mat Pilates with Foam Roller every Wednesday at 5:30pm eastern time, drop-in’s welcome (Zoom based, recording available if you cannot be there live). Schedule HERE
Foam rollers are easy to find, at big box or online, for under $25.
The links to products are provided for your convenience, none are affiliate links (I do not profit from them).
Do you have a favorite prop that isn’t included on this list? I’d love to hear about it. It is the year of home workouts (home everything!) and I love seeing all these wild new inventions pop up, I just ordered a “new” style of resistance band, keep your eyes out on the Gracefulfitness YouTube Channel for videos with it if I like it!