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With Jen's new class starting this Thursday at 6.30pm we got chatting about class plans, fun move's and our small but mighty props. This led to one question.......To prop or not to prop!


A few props you might have seen at the studio:


1. Hand weights

In pilates we sometimes add hand-weights . Nothing too heavy just 1/1.5kg is perfect. These will add challenge to any arm series and if you are used to working on the reformer hand weights will had the resistance you get from your springs meaning you can more easily adapt reformer moves onto the mat . If you don’t have hand weights why not grab a couple of tins from the cupboard instead.


2. Flex band/ Theraband

This long stretchy band comes in different levels of resistance. Its great for stretching out the legs when lying on your back but is can also add challenge as resistance but giving your arms No flex band , how about an old pair of leggings or tights


3. Small pilates ball

This small squishy inflated ball , is one of the most versatile and commonly used props. You can pop in between your inner thighs, knees , ankles or palms for a little squeeze. It is also great for supporting your body when you need it.  For example using it behind the mid back can help if you are not feeling good laying flat on your back . A small cushion or folded over pillow can also do the trick


4. Pilates circle

Perhaps one of the props you have seen on social media and thought what the heck is that about. Well this a a plastic loop with squishy pads on the out side and inside. When you apply pressure to the pads the loop squishes together a little or stretches out a little .Turing it from a circle shape to more of an oval shape . Much like the ball the circle and be squeezed between the thighs, ankles or palms for a bit of a deeper connection . It can also create instability to help challenge our balance and stabilising muscles . If you don’t have a circle, do you have a small ball or a cushion. 


As Pilates teachers we some times come at you with one of these fabulous props.This delightful gift is often met with a cheeky groan and a giggle

Trust me I get it , especially that dam Pilates circle. But, why do we add props ? Here’s my thoughts

Props can help us find a deeper connection,  Maybe you struggle to find that feeling of your deep core kicking in from pelvic floor to belly button and that little squeeze of a prop between your knees ,activating your inner thighs, is the missing piece of the puzzle and helps you have that moment of connection .Or perhaps squeezing that prop in between your palms helps you feel those upper abs fire up a little more to stabilise your torso


Props can help with alignment and highlight any imbalances ……. The pilates circle is great for this, have you ever squeezed the circle in between your ankles or palms and it flys off to one side , totally throwing you off ( that’s a yes from me!). Well not only will that give you a giggle , more importantly it’s showing the need to really focus on even pressure through both limbs, maybe one side is more dominant ,maybe there’s a postural misalignment we need to focus on correcting . Do your knees always want to flare out when you bridge….. they can’t if you are holding a prop like a ball between your knees! 

Props can give us a helping hand if we need one. Using a resistance band can help us achieve a deeper stretch or help ease us into challenging movements like a roll-down down on the mat.


Props can add challenge. This is the reason we know and love. Think about the hundreds with some light hand weights……. The spiciest of spice!!! 


Any way there’s my thoughts on props my darlings. I love to add props to classes to keep things creative ,dynamic and hopefully super fun for all you lovely people.Let me know what you think next time I bring the props out


Big love

Jen xxx



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Jane Milward
Jane Milward
02 de jun.

Hi Jen , yes hate the circle, but it really does add to the exercise and I think it really helps with concentration and often assists balance x see you tomorrow.

Jane x

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