5 Pilates Sidekicks for an At Home Workout

New Choices to Improve Your Regular Pilates Practice

Edited by Alycea Ungaro

As smaller Pilates equipment for home and studio goes, the magic circle, small barrels, and Pilates Mat rule. But there is other equipment available that can help you learn or teach exercises in new ways. These alternate devices work by reformatting exercises in different ways allowing  you to depart from your traditional routine and then return with new found skills. Here, I feature five pieces of equipment that I think are useful and add variety to workouts. Some are fairly new to the Pilates scene. Some have been around a while but have recently become more popular due to upgrades in the information available on how to use them. Most are quite affordable.

1
Stretch-Eze Band

stretch-eze
(c)Dye-namic Movement Products Inc.

The Stretch-Eze is a different kind of resistance band. It is a wide nylon/lycra swath of cloth sewn into a long oval shape. It can be used for resistance exercises and to facilitate different types of stretching, including PNF stretching. In a Pilates setting, the Stretch-Eze can be useful for aiding alignment training and offering extra support in challenging exercises, such as the roll-up and the roll over.

The product has a partner workout DVD and a companion manual.

2
Stretch Out Strap

pricegrabber

A simple but useful concept, the Stretch Out Strap is an elaboration of the regular yoga strap. It is a nylon strap with loops woven into it at intervals for the hands or feet. It can be used to enhance and stabilize stretches. It is also very useful for giving visual and tactile feedback on how the body is organizing itself in an exercise. For example, if the Stretch Out Strap is held between the hands in an exercise like Pilates Saw, it gives a lot of information back to the brain about how the arms are moving through space and relating back to the core.

The Stretch Out Strap is available in different lengths; and with a DVD, an exercise manual, and training posters.

3
Tye-4

Tye-4 Pilates Equipment
PhysicalMind Institute

The Tye-4 resistance training is quite unique. There are bungee cords coming out from a chest harness and loops at the end for the hands and feet. Originally developed for standing Pilates exercises, the bungees offer resistance during all kinds of movement. This product has been available for a while, but there is now more material available from The Method Pilates on how to use the Tye-4. This product has been thoroughly reviewed in a prior review.

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4
The Orbit

Balanced Body

It's not a skateboard! But it is fun, and challenging.  The Orbit surface is padded and there are castors on the bottom that let it roll in any direction. Your job, of course, is to control that. Think Ab wheel on steroids. There are all kinds of inventive ways to create core strength and stability challenges out of a small rolling platform.

The Orbit is a a popular product from Balanced Body. There is a loyal group of followers and a collection of workshops and training programs.

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5
CoreFitnessRoller

CoreFitnessRoller

The CoreFitnessRoller is a somewhat bigger investment than other equipment on this list, however, it offers a lot of workout options. Endorsed by Rael Isacowitz, this piece of equipment seems like something that might come about if a foam roller and a Pilates reformer got married. There are straps that give resistance attached to a very firm roller shape base. The resistance levels can be adjusted and the equipment can be used for balance and strength exercises done standing, kneeling, sitting and lying down.

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But Is It Pilates?

Purists can rest easy. None of these devices claim to be original Pilates. But all have a particular contribution and application for certain needs and particular individuals. Super weak core? The Orbit may be your solution. Trouble keeping stable and controlled? Give the Tye 4 a whirl. At the end of they day you'll want to come back to your classic Pilates routine to test the effects of these sidekicks.

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