Pilates kits make it possible for you to get the benefits of Pilates exercises without having to go to the gym every day. A basic kit will include the tools and instruction you need to work out wherever you are.
Buying Pilates Kits
Many stores - both online and brick and mortar - offer Pilates workout kits. For instance, your local Target or Walmart have them, as well as sporting goods stores. Likewise, they are available online in a number of locations.
- Sports Authority offers the Stott Pilates Kit for athletic conditioning with three DVDs, a flex band, and two 2 lb. ball weights
- ESPN Shop also offers the Stott Pilates Kit for boosting strength and conditioning
- Dick's Sporting Goods has the Gaiam Total Body Challenge Pilates Kit for overall conditioning with a DVD, matt, resistance band, and support pillow
Contents of Pilates Exercise Kits
Pilates exercise kits can vary depending on where you buy them and how much you're willing to spend. Here are some of the basic things you can expect to find in a purchased kit.
One of the most popular at-home Pilates tools is a balance ball or body ball. This inflatable ball is used during the exercises and puts more emphasis on the core muscles of the body. You might find yourself doing crunches on the ball, lifting it over your head or with your legs, or balancing on it to do other movements. Pilates workout kits that come with balls also come with pumps to inflate them. Make sure you're buying a kit that has a ball your size - they come in different sizes depending on the height of the person who is going to be using them.
Another popular Pilates tool is resistance straps. These can be used along with the ball or to do different exercises while providing a little more resistance than your body alone can offer.
Many kits have several strengths of resistance bands included, for light, medium and heavy resistance. Different levels of resistance are better for different exercises, and as you get better at the moves you'll need the higher resistance to keep it challenging. Sometimes the bands have handles to make it easier to hold onto, while others are simply bands.
Though it's called a yoga mat, a long, sticky mat is also helpful for Pilates. It provides a cushion if you're working out on a hardwood or tile floor, and it also is grippy, giving you more stability when doing floor moves (or even on the ball).
Yoga mats range in length but are usually 24 inches wide. Having a mat that is at least as long as you are is nice, but not absolutely critical.
There are several different names for rings that are sold as Pilates equipment, but the Power Ring is probably the most well-known. This device is a 14-inch circle with hand grips that weighs about two pounds and can be used in a similar way to resistance bands.
You use the ring as you move through the exercises and it makes them a little more challenging than they would be otherwise. These devices are usually sold alone rather than as part of a starter kit, and include a video that shows you how to use them.
Nearly every Pilates exercise kit out there comes with a video or DVD to help you use the products. These usually range from 30- to 60-minute instructional videos, and may include multiple shorter workouts that target particular areas of the body, such as the abs or thighs.
Your Own Pilates Workout Kit
If you've been doing Pilates for a while and would like to introduce someone else to the benefits of this exercise program, you can make your own Pilates exercise kit featuring your favorite workout video, a yoga mat and some basic tools.
Pick out accessories in your recipient's favorite color, or just go with the basics. Adding a personal touch like some green tea or something else you enjoy when you unwind after Pilates will make the gift even more meaningful.