Mat Pilates classes are a great bodyweight workout and by adding in some small and inexpensive pieces of Pilates equipment you can bring variety and add challenge to improve coordination, increase strength and banish boredom!
PILATES SMALL BALL
This 9-inch soft ball doesn't seem like much, but it can be used to give feedback to your body as you perform exercises, to increase the range of movement providing more challenge, to create instability which forces your muscles to work harder, and much more!
Top tip: It shouldn't be fully inflated. Keep it soft for the best small ball experience
PILATES RING (OR MAGIC CIRCLE)
Really challenge your inner thighs with this beauty! The Pilates ring can be used between the legs, on the outside of your legs, in your arms and in other creative ways to challenge your body and also assist it.
If you're able to do 3-quarter push ups but you struggle with full push ups, try putting one of the handles against your sternum, and the other on the floor and it will assist you in the full press-up position!
It's also super helpful for assisted stretches.
THERABAND (OR RESISTANCE BAND)
Resistance bands can also assist and challenge your body in new ways. By adding more resistance to your workouts you challenge your muscles to use more force to create a movement therefore building strength.
For some exercises, to make it more challenging use a heavier band which provides more resistance. Like a band resisted squat.
For other exercises a stronger band will actually help! If you struggle with seated roll downs/ups hold each end of the band in your hands with it running under the arches of your feet.
If you want to get stronger, then increasing the weight you have to move will always challenge your muscles. The trick to building strength is to do as many repetitions as possible until the point of temporary muscle fatigue (i.e. when you feel you can't do any more). When it becomes easier, increase the weight.
Top tip: Don't go for crazy heavy weights and injure yourself by doing too much too soon. Gradual increases are key.
What other small pieces of equipment do you like to use to challenge your body in Pilates sessions? Comment below!