February 24, 2017
It’s 8 am on Saturday morning. An intrepid group of people gather in the lower level studio at The SweatShop to partake in the Pilates Challenge mat class. They arrive to find a mat with a variety of props laid out for use in the workout: Flex Bands, Fitness Circles, small mini-stability balls, and sometimes BOSUs.
Pilates props may seem irrelevant, but they actually are extremely important in being able to get the most out of your Pilates workout. The purpose of props is to stimulate the body and make any exercise either more challenging or more accessible or successful.
If your body becomes too accustom to an exercise, it begins to lose effectiveness. It is great for a prop to be used in this situation to keep your body challenged and working hard. They either add weight or resistance, or will require additional muscles to stabilize during an exercise. A great example of this is using a fitness circle or stability ball during hundreds to vary the difficulty.
Quite frequently, the body is not currently able to do certain exercises due to strength. This is another area where props shine to increase the effectiveness of a workout. Often making sure form is kept, the body is able to do new motions and strengthen in a whole new way. This is also where muscle memory begins to come into play, as muscles learn the movement with a prop, they’ll so be able to do the exercise without a prop! An example of this is using a flexband to do complete roll ups during a Pilates mat session.
We employ these props during the mat workout to stimulate the myofascial lines, to provide challenge, and/or to allow us to execute repertoire with more ease and grace. They add a creative, tactile component to keep your mind and body interested in the exercise you are doing. This interest helps to get the most out of every action and exercise your body works on. The body’s proprioceptors wake up when we use props, enhancing our ability to sense where we are in space and focusing and strengthening our mind-body connection. Try out Pilates Challenge for free this Saturday, and see what uses you have for props.
167 Snelling Ave N.,
Saint Paul, MN 55104