A person who wants to begin to practicing Pilates has many options as there is a wide variety of Pilates fitness equipment. The equipment ranges from simple supplies, such as a rubber floor mat or exercise ball, to elaborate machines such as the Pilates reformer. When deciding what type of Pilates fitness equipment to use, a person should determine what fits into her budget as well as what equipment will give her the workout she needs.
A Pilates mat is the most simple of all Pilates fitness equipment. Some practitioners start out doing mat exercises and find that they never need to use another piece of equipment. A mat is usually a long, thick piece of rubber or vinyl. Most of the time, a person can use a yoga mat for Pilates.
The mat provides plenty of cushioning while a person does the exercises on a hard floor. It also prevents a person from slipping when doing standing or plank exercises. Unlike other types of Pilates fitness equipment, the mat does not provide any resistance. A person may add extra equipment to her mat exercises, such as resistance bands or stability balls in order to increase the difficulty of the workout.
The reformer is a piece of Pilates fitness equipment that does provide resistance. It consists of a series of springs and pulleys that a person can adjust to make the resistance stronger, and the workout more difficult, or to make the resistance lighter and the workout easier. Over 100 exercises were designed to be performed on the Reformer. While the Reformer is usually found in gyms or studios, home versions of the machine, which can be smaller, portable, and less expensive, are also available.
Other pieces of Pilates fitness equipment are designed for more advanced practitioners. A person who has become familiar with the reformer or bored of doing mat exercises may want to try using a Pilates chair or trapeze table. The chair comes in several styles, including ones with handles. A primary exercise performed on a Pilates chair involves sitting and pushing down on a pedal. A person who is in great shape can use a trapeze table to perform complicated upside down sit ups.
Before a person can get started using any kind of Pilates equipment, she needs to seek out instruction. It may be best for an absolute beginner to sign for a few private lessons before taking a group class. Private lessons will help a person learn the proper breathing techniques and body positions. A person who is more inclined to do things for herself may want to read a book on Pilates before getting started. Pilates DVDs and videos are also available for a person who wants to train herself to use Pilates equipment.