Pilates Equipment Recommendations
Depending on how we use them, adding props and tools to our Pilates workout can help to add resistance and advance the exercise, help us to keep our postural alignment or give us better feedback as to how we are performing the movement. There is a variety of equipment that can be used and as I am often asked to recommend where to buy them, I have compiled a list of the equipment I use most - including gym wear and water bottles - and the best places to get them.
Where to buy? Cost vs Quality
For some of the equipment you will buy, it might be worth investing a bit more depending on how you are planning to use it and the frequency with which you will use it. Branded goods, such as Stott, are more expensive - a Stott Pilates Magic Ring costs £79.99 as opposed to the £10 Mirafit one I use - and there are lots of places where you can buy equipment that will be perfectly adequate for you to use at home at a reasonable cost. Obviously Amazon offers a huge selection of equipment and you'll be able to see price and review comparisons at a glance. The Middle of Lidl is always a good place to look for some bargains, as are Decathlon and TXMaxx. There some items, however, that are definitely worth spending a little more on - mainly the ones made of latex, such as resistance bands or a Swiss ball (these are the much larger balls) - for the obvious reasons of it not letting you down at a crucial moment!
Another recommendation would be Physical Company. This is a really good website that provides gym equipment for commercial and home use, so you can be pretty sure of the quality and it's reasonably priced.
This by no means an exhaustive list. It's just the ones I tend to use most.
Probably my favourite piece of equipment. I would recommending getting at least one lighter and one heavier band to allow for upper and lower body work. I buy mine from Physical Company in bulk, unfortunately they no longer sell them for individual use. However, you'll find fairly decent sets on Amazon usually with 3 bands for around £10. One point to consider, along with resistance level is the length of each band, especially if you are taller.
Looped Resistance bands
Yes, you can use a long resistance and tie it, but these are so much more convenient and comfortable. I use these Hybrid bands and you get all 5 in a pack and they come in a handy little drawstring bag to keep them in. They come in a selection of colours (blue, black, pink, purple and multicoloured). At the time of writing they are on offer on Amazon for £5.94.
I use these Neoprene Dumbells at home and I love them! The Neoprene really helps your grip. Plus, they come in some funky colours and look cool! I got mine from Amazon and the price varies depending on the weight.
Ankle / Hand Weights
So confession time. This is a piece of equipment that I thought I'd use more than I do. I don't why because they are actually a versatile piece of equipment, easy to incorporate and pretty comfortable to use. The ones I have are BodyRip 0.5 kg which I bought on Ebay for about £15 for the pair. Mine are made of softer material than the ones shown.
I use the Mirafit ring which I bought on Ebay. A black one costs about £1o and the coloured ones vary. As mentioned above, you can spend a lot on a Pilates ring but I find this one perfectly adequate for the resistance levels I need. One thing to consider when buying a ring is the internal diameter. If you are larger framed you may need a bigger ring to fit both thighs comfortably in the ring to be able to push outward.
So, there is a difference between a yoga mat and a Pilates mat. Pilates mats are thicker to give you more support and cushioning as we usually spend more time in a lying position than yoga where mats tended to be thinner with more grip. Maximo, which are the ones I have, come in 6mm and 12mm thickness. If you are working on a hard floor it makes such a difference both in terms of your comfort and safety, especially in any exercises where you are rolling on your spine or on your knees. They will mark and dent but it pops back up. Mine have been carted about for years and are still fine. The strap, however, is rubbish but at £20 they re definitely worth the money.
Over or Small ball
A popular piece of equipment that is really versatile. I use Bender Balls which you can get from Physical Company for £7.14. They also do packages for about £20 in which you get a ball, a DVD and an instruction manual.
So there are lots of Pilates socks on the market that I'm sure are great but I really like Ozaiic. They are comfortable, well made and have a good grip. You can buy them in packs of two-four pairs on Amazon or I am selling them for £5.50 a pair if you are just after one pair. They come in one size only and I have colours navy blue, black, charcoal, deep red, turquoise and coral.
Recommending a water bottle may seem a bit daft but when it's a necessary requirement for your job and you use one day in and day out, finding a good one is a must. I have several of these Mango ones and .. so far... they don't leak (assuming you remember to put the top down, user error), they don't have a weird smell, are eco-friendly, come with a spare straw and hold a good amount. Plus, they have a motivational tracker on the side to make sure you are drinking enough throughout the day. I've had one of mine for over a year and it gets chucked about on a daily basis and still looks good. Winner!
Miracle Balls for muscle release
Probably one of the most recommended pieces of equipment. If you have used these in the studio with me, you'll know how relaxing and releasing it can be to lie on these squidgy balls! We tend to use them to release lower backs but you can use them anywhere you have tension. The pack costs £14.29 and comes with two balls and an instruction booklet.