Best pilates home equipment
Pilates Equipment for Home Use – Buying Guide, Ratings & Comparison
Pilates is now one of the most popular forms of exercise in the world. But finding the best Pilates home equipment for the money can be challenging, and that’s where we come in and give you a hand at selecting the right one for you. Based on what we have analyzed, it seems that the first thing you should start with is the DVD Element: Targeted Toning for Beginners by Elizabeth Ordway and Andrea Ambandos. The video lessons showcased on this DVD will help you stretch and tone your core muscles, work on your waistline and create flat abs, as well as define your legs and bottom. The lessons also feature a Total Body program, so you can make sure that all of your muscle groups are stimulated. Once you’ve completed your learning, we recommend checking out the AeroPilates Premier 700, a reformer that can help you make the most of your training.
Top features to consider
Getting good Pilates home equipment these days can be a daunting task, and that’s because there is a myriad of gear and items you could take into account, especially if you’re only starting out. For your consideration, we have put together an easy-to-read guide that you can always come back to when you’re feeling unsure of what you’re supposed to be spending your hard-earned money on and what you can do without.
As their name suggests, these pieces of equipment are designed for those that want to take their Pilates experience to a whole new level. There are rebounders and reformers and both of these are typically made so that your muscle groups are stimulated far better than they would be if you were only to work out using your good old mat.
It goes without saying that there are many differences between one model and the next, from the materials used in their construction to their size and the actual features you can benefit from. Some are gentler on your joints than their counterparts, and these are highly recommended for individuals who have a history of musculoskeletal pain.
A head rest is necessary in most cases, and that’s because you need to feel comfortable and completely at ease as you try to do all of the moves of your routine. A bit of adjustability never hurt anyone, so if you can customize the reformer as per your personal needs and preferences, even better.
Make sure to look at the resistance of the cords that the unit is fitted with to ensure that it can withstand the test of time. While many manufacturers will claim that their machines will last for more than a decade, what you need to be on the lookout for is the opinion of other Pilates practitioners like yourself.
That’s why we suggest going through as many reviews of Pilates home equipment as your time allows you to.
What about a mat?
Given that Pilates machines can, in some cases, cost a fortune, you might not be prepared to make that huge of an investment, especially if you don’t know if the sport suits you. Some reformers can get as expensive as one thousand dollars or more, so let’s face it, that price point might be unreasonable for someone who’s unsure about whether he or she will pursue Pilates in the future.
You can get a quality mat, instead, and there’s nothing wrong about it. Pilates is in fact based on the strength of your own body and you’re supposed to consciously tighten your muscle groups following a set of rules taught by an instructor.
What’s important about the mat is that it should be the right size and it should either be made from a material with non-slip properties or it should come with small bumps on the bottom designed specifically so that the mat doesn’t move around as you’re trying to focus on your workout.
Now that we’ve gotten two of the most important things you could acquire for your Pilates endeavors out of the way, we can focus on something else that’s important, and it’s apparel.
Do you need special clothing to practice Pilates? The short answer to this question would be no, but the matter’s a bit more complicated. Investing in a good pair of Pilates pants can help you concentrate on your performance instead of constantly having to fiddle with them. Most leggings made for this purpose are stretchy and will not move up or down your body as you make your movements.
You can use virtually any type of top you feel like from a regular T-shirt to a tank top. Just make sure that it doesn’t restrict your moves in any way and that it’s super comfortable and breathable, because one thing’s for sure — you’re going to be sweating a lot.
Another thing that you could invest in if you’re thinking of buying specialized clothing for your Pilates sessions would be a pair of socks made specifically for Yoga and Pilates practitioners. What makes these so different than the regular ones you wear every day? Well, they’re non-slip, meaning that they come fitted with tiny little rubber bumps on the heel and soles.
Therefore, there won’t be any accidents like slips happening as you tend to your exercise routine, and let’s face it, some of those could result in serious medical problems like getting your ankle sprained. Not only would that hurt awfully, but it would also make you incapable of working out for the foreseeable future.
Whether you opt for cheap Pilates equipment for home use or go for the more expensive alternatives, the fact of the matter is that you need to start studying the moves and techniques before even spending your cents on something like a mat.
While there are a broad array of books available out there, unless they come with pictures or sketches on what you’re supposed to do exactly, they are worthless. Also, if you plan on ordering an e-book about Pilates and want to look at the photos in it, you need to have the right kind of e-reading device so that you can actually have them displayed properly. Kindle has some issues displaying PDFs, for example, so do keep that in mind.
The safest way to learn how to do Pilates at home would be either to subscribe to a YouTube channel where lessons are taught by a professional in the field, or get a DVD consisting of a generous curriculum that can take you through everything you need to know as a beginner, but also a set of lessons as you make progress and hone your knowledge and skills. Always start with the most basic learning resources you can find available for sale or for free online.
Top rated products
Since we know that it can be pretty challenging to select the right type of equipment for Pilates for the first time, we thought about helping you out by showcasing some of our favorite products in this line. Check them out below.
Targeted Toning by Elizabeth Ordway & Andrea Ambandos
Even though it doesn’t cost a fortune unlike some of the other exercise and fitness DVDs we came across, this one is pretty effective and it can actually help you make the most out of your Pilates workout.
The 20-minute programs included in the curriculum will make you set the bases of creating a balanced and slim body, as well as work toward your goal of reaching your results.
In such a short amount of time, you will be able to define and tone most of your muscle groups, and that’s all thanks to the Total Body program that you’ll find in this DVD.
You might also want to know that there’s a 10-minute core strengthener that you can use to tighten your midsection area so that your waistline looks as best as possible.
Finally, the fact that the author and person teaching the lessons is Elizabeth Ordway, one of Los Angeles’ best-known Pilates instructors, with an experience in the field spanning over a decade definitely doesn’t hurt.Buy from Amazon.com for ($10.19)
AeroPilates Premier 700
As one of the more budget-friendly reformers we were able to track down, the AeroPilates Premier 700 comes with pretty much everything you need for a total body workout based on Pilates.
It’s effective, convenient, and versatile, and it will help you achieve the results you’ve dreamed of in as little time as possible.
One of the aspects that sets this unit aside from the rest is that it is considerably gentler on your joints, and that’s always helpful for people who have a history of medical issues in this respect.
The box also includes a DVD with video workouts, as well as an exercise wall chart that can help you learn how to use the machine.
Since you’re going to need a bit of space to do all of the stretches, you can use the stand (included) to lift the reformer by 10 inches from the ground. Prospective buyers are advised that some assembly is needed with this machine.Buy from Amazon.com for ($499)
Great Soles Women’s
As we were saying in the buyer’s guide, it’s far better to get a pair of socks for your yoga or Pilates sessions than to wear your regular ones, and that’s because they are much safer compared to typical socks.
The Great Soles option is designed with the needs of exercisers in mind, so the socks offer plenty of control, as well as stability.
This type of grip sock will allow you to forget all about your worries that a slip might make you hurt yourself; as such, you’ll be able to focus on your Pilates performance, instead.
These ones are made from natural cotton that has been dyed using eco-friendly dyes, so there are no chemicals in the product that might hurt your skin or the environment.
The mix of 75% cotton, 23% polyester and 2% elastane is beneficial, as these socks can both allow you to feel comfortable and they will withstand the test of time.Buy from Amazon.com for ($12)
BalanceFrom Anti-Tear Mat
If you’re looking for convenience in a mat, then this one by BalanceFrom might just fit the bill.
It’s sizeable enough to allow you to do your exercise without any worries whatsoever, and the fact that it’s made from a high-density foam material allows it both to last a decent amount of time and feel like it’s truly reliable under your fingertips.
The best thing about it is that both of its sides are non-slip, so there won’t be any accidents happening as you use this mat.
The material it’s designed from is quite unique in that it’s moisture-resistant, and so all you’ll have to do to sanitize the mat following your workout is to wash it with soap and water.
The product is lightweight and easy to carry around especially since it comes with its own strap, so there shouldn’t be anything stopping you from carrying it on your shoulder as you set out for your lessons.Buy from Amazon.com for ($17.95)
This ring can assist you in strengthening your arms, your core, as well as your legs. It can be utilized in balance routines to help you with rehabilitation, as well as conditioning, but it’s overall an effective tool in the form of a compact and easy-to-store ring.
Since it is covered in durable rubber, this product has a good chance of lasting you for a good amount of time.
It doesn’t change shape no matter how much abuse you inflict upon it, and that’s because it is manufactured from quality materials.
Based on the info we were able to gather by going through dozens of reviews, it seems that this ring is a bit more comfortable to use compared to others.
Part of this comes from the fact that the item is outfitted with two foam handles located both on the inside and on the outside. The only inconvenience is that it’s not accompanied by any instructions, so watching some tutorials before you start using it might be necessary.Buy from Amazon.com for ($13.99)
Having been designed from a mix of spandex and cotton, this pair of leggings is just what you need in your life if you want pants that are breathable and comfortable, and at the same time, a model that can stay in place.
You also don’t have to worry about getting any rash anytime soon since the cotton is soft to touch and totally skin-friendly.
The snug fit ensured by these comfortable leggings will allow you to focus on your exercise without being bothered by anything.
The model is said not to be too tight in the waist area, so that’s something to take into account, as well.
The pair seems to be both versatile and comfy and since it offers plenty of functionality, too, most of those that have tried it out seem to be pleased with what they got for their money.
The thicker layer of fabric makes it impossible for anything underneath it to be visible to other Pilates practitioners.Buy from Amazon.com for ($12.25)
The Pilates Body by Brooke Siler
Brooke Siler, the author of this book and teacher of the lessons, will assist you in perfecting your skills and expertise in the art of Pilates with as little effort as possible.
She is one of New York’s and the whole country’s best-known instructors and The Pilates Body will show you just what you can do to get the body you want even without any machine.
The neatest thing about this guide is that it comes with step-by-step instructions, so even complete rookies will find everything easy to comprehend.
Line drawings, photos, as well as visualization exercises accompany the information, so you’ll finally be able to understand what you’re supposed to do for a complete Pilates experience.
Siler’s book will enable you to improve your flexibility, posture, as well as balance, and better your emotional and physical well-being on the whole. It’s available both in paperback and spiral-bound.Buy from Amazon.com for ($11.74)
Frequently asked questions about Pilates
Is Pilates good for you?
Yes, it is. For people who can do it, it provides an impressive number of benefits that range from increased muscle toning and strength to significantly improved flexibility. While it might be a bit more strenuous compared to Yoga, Pilates will help you better your emotional well-being, too, and it will also assist you in learning how to breathe properly.
Some of the other benefits you’ll be getting if you’re planning to start Pilates are amazing abs and a noticeable improvement in your back if you suffer from pain in that body region. This type of exercise is also far easier on your joints compared to others.
Is Pilates strength training?
Not exactly. Unless it is associated with a type of weight lifting class or exercise, Pilates can’t do everything all on its own. However, this kind of workout is undoubtedly effective when it comes to building long lean muscle. If you use a reformer, you can make the most out of your Pilates sessions, especially if you keep the movement slow and controlled at all times.
In this way, your muscles might be stimulated even better than if you were to be using momentum.
Does Pilates burn calories?
Of course it does, and quite a bit of them, too. Any type of exercise, no matter whether it’s moderate or not, will help you burn calories. Pilates exercises burn a variety of number of calories depending on the practitioner’s weight. For example, a class for beginners can help a person weighing 125 pounds burn as many as 120 calories but for a person weighing 200 pounds, it can burn a whopping 336 calories.
Therefore, it depends on the weight of the person performing the exercise. Most dieters know that the weight is lost a lot easier by heavier people compared to those that are in shape, and the same happens in the case of this type of exercise.
Does Pilates help lose weight?
Since we have already established that Pilates burns quite a good number of calories and not only this, it also strengthens your core, improves your flexibility, and tones your muscles pretty much everywhere including your waist and bottom, it’s safe to say that it is effective for losing weight.
However, we have to note that some of the best results have been shown by people who have combined strength training with Pilates, in that you might also want to do a bit of weight lifting, a little rope jumping, and plenty of Pilates to get in the best shape. Eat plenty of veggies and lean protein and you’ll see results even faster.
Who created Pilates?
This type of training was invented in the 1920s by Joseph Pilates primarily for the purpose of rehabilitation. We’ve written an extensive article on the history of Pilates and you might want to check it out if you’re interested in the topic.
Basically, Pilates (the man, not the exercise) was a physical trainer, and he was interested in treating soldiers returning from war with various injuries or mild disabilities. As you might have guessed, using alternative training methods had to be done in these cases as the former soldiers were in no shape to engage in any type of overly strenuous exercise.
Which is better? Pilates or Yoga?
First of all, both of these are excellent workouts and even though they are thought to be low-impact, they increase the practioners’ overall health and wellbeing. Pilates works great for people who have arthritis, urinary incontinence, any type of joint injuries and back pain, as well as respiratory conditions. Unlike Yoga, it doesn’t necessarily focus on relaxation and medication.
Yoga, on the other hand, is great for people who are suffering from anxiety, depression, and even multiple sclerosis. It’s also been shown to improve the health condition of people who have type 2 diabetes, chronic pain, and arthritis. If you want to improve your mindfulness, yoga might be better for you.
Is Pilates good for your back?
The answer to this question is yes and without a doubt. Both Pilates and Yoga are based on achieving the correct stance and body position, so every move you will make will help you improve your posture, stretch your muscles and as such, relieve some of the discomfort associated with back pain.
One thing that we have to make clear is that, should you suffer from chronic neck or back pain, you have to talk to your physician before starting any sport or exercise class of any kind. The last thing you might want to do is make your health condition even more severe because of a wrong move or type of workout.