Low-impact, total body and mind-body integrating – that sums up Pilates.
The Pilates fitness approach is versatile and safe enough to be done in the privacy of your own home, but the value of getting in-person coaching from a certified Pilates instructor really can’t be beat. You will come away with a deeper awareness of your body and greater strength, flexibility and peace of mind than you ever thought possible from a simple yet challenging workout.
Another benefit of working with a trained Pilates instructor? You avoid falling into the stuck-in-a-rut trap with your routine. After all, doing the same exercises over and over isn’t just boring, it also could slow your progress or even put you at risk for injury if you’re unknowingly performing (and repeating) suboptimal form.
So whether you regularly practice Pilates or know next to nothing about it, it’s best to seek individualized instruction that can help you take your fitness to the next level. Hungry for more inspiration? Check out four of the most popular pieces of equipment to enhance your Pilates workout.
The Trap Table
Walk into any Pilates studio and the first piece of equipment you may notice is the Trap Table. It looks like a padded bed frame adorned with mounted parallel bars, straps and pulleys you can use (with the direct supervision of a knowledgeable instructor) to move through a variety of movements.
Don’t let its simplicity fool you – this piece of equipment is generally used for more intermediate to advanced exercises. The Trap Table has an innovative design to help you tap into some of the most challenging moves while still optimizing movement safety and efficiency.
Many people with a rudimentary understanding of Pilates have heard of the Reformer before. This versatile piece of equipment uses straps, cords and a mat-like frame that can provide resistance and assistance for your workout.
The Reformer is particularly valuable for isolation exercises and addressing specific muscle groups, as well as enhancing range of motion.
One of the champion features of Pilates is that it stimulates both your body and your brain. The Oov, one of the more novel pieces of Pilates equipment, will amplify the mind/body connection and engagement.
The ergonomic design of the Oov helps you learn how to access key postural muscles and coordinate proper neuromuscular activation in your core. It’s made with durable yet comfortable foam that provides physical support to your neck and spine as well as sensory feedback for enhanced central nervous system engagement.
My studio uses the Oov to help our clients focus on breath work, muscle group isolation, postural retraining, trunk strengthening and balance. The tool features dynamic movement that helps bring your focus deeply into your workout for a more mindful and grounding approach to exercise.
Pilates classes featuring the Springboard generally combine stationary mat work with pulling and pushing movements from a wall-mounted unit. The Springboard offers a unique challenge to your core and balance by altering the kinetic chain dynamics of your full body routine.
This piece of equipment looks mostly vertical and features attachments such as arm and leg springs and roll-down bars. The Springboard is the perfect tool for working against resistance in order to maximize strength and enhance the other fundamental skills you’re learning on the mat and Reformer.
It’s never too late to try something new. You’re in for a great workout that your body and mind will thrive on.
Kim Gladfelter is owner, physical therapist and Pilates instructor at PhysioFit Physical Therapy and Wellness, 1000 Fremont Ave., Suite 108, Los Altos. For more information, call 887-6046 or visit physiofitpt.com.