Pilates is a fitness system that has a reputation for offering various physical benefits such as improved flexibility, coordination, and increased strength. One of the advantages of this system is that it can involve a wide range of activities. These are often enhanced with a variety of Pilates equipment, including instructional materials, balls, and the Reformer.
One of the most essential pieces of Pilates equipment is the instructional materials. To experience maximum benefits from the system, Pilates exercises need to be performed correctly. If a person is not taking a class, this will be very difficult without some guidance. To assist users in this regard, there is a wide range of books and audio-visual materials available. These often address the various user stages such as beginning, intermediate, and advanced.
Balls are common pieces of Pilates equipment. The Pilates stability ball can be used for many things, such as yoga, physical therapy, and toning and defining the abdominal muscles. Conditioning is achieved when a person uses the ball to engage in a variety of exercises that require balance, posture, and coordination.
Resistance bands are pieces of Pilates equipment that are primarily made from latex but may have foam or plastic handles. Using these can offer many of the same benefits as weight training, such as strength building and sculpting of the upper and lower body. Resistance bands also help to improve flexibility. These may be used with both standing and seated exercise techniques.
Many exercises of the Pilates system are considered mat exercises. Although some people perform such exercises with a generic mat or without a mat at all, there are Pilates mats available. In addition, there is other Pilates equipment designed to be used during mat exercises, such as the arc barrel. The arc barrel is a piece of equipment that helps support the back and shoulders. It has been noted as a good tool to use during stretching activities.
The Cadillac is one of the larger pieces of Pilates equipment. It is sometimes called a trapeze. It is essentially a table with crossbars to which other bars and straps can be attached. This piece of equipment allows a person to perform various types of exercises which can be mild to intense. The Cadillac may be purchased for home use but it is most commonly found in fitness studios.
The Reformer is another piece that is fairly large. It generally has a hardwood frame and an upholstered seat. This piece of Pilates equipment has an adjustable foot bar and uses a pulley system to allow for a variety of beneficial resistance exercises that result in improved flexibility and strength building.