Generally, there are many props that can be used in Pilates to vary the exercises and to maximize the benefit of the exercise. Yet, in this semester, my Pilates instructor had introduced students to three props; those are Pilates Circle, Pilates Foam Roller, and Pilates Brick. Those three props have their own function. Moreover, different people have different preference about the props as it was shown in the class where students will choose different props they prefer to use.
The first prop that my instructor introduced in the beginning of this semester is the Pilates Circle. Some people called it Pilates Magic Circle. As far as I remember, our class only used this circle once. We put the circle between our legs while we were doing One Hundreds exercise, Double Leg Stretch, and Double Straight Leg Stretch. It will help us to maintain our parallel position since it will become the real “personal cheesecake”. Moreover, it seems that my class did not like it so that they never choose to use it when the instructor asks about what props do we want to work with in particular class session. Well, I guess it is not as magic as it called since less students like to work with it. Anyway, it actually has its benefit. The circles “add light resistance to Pilates’ exercises and help target specific muscle groups. They are often used to help tone the arms and thighs, and increase the core strength challenge of an exercise” <http://pilates.about.com/od/magiccircl1/Pilates_Magic_Circle.htm>
The next prop is Foam Roller. It is the most popular prop in my class. Lots of student like it and we often use it in the exercise. We do many variations of exercise using the foam roller. It helps us to practice our balance as well as adding the level of the exercise difficulties. There are three benefits from using foam roller; those are stretches muscles, effective exercises, and increase balance <http://benefitof.net/benefits-of-foam-rolling/>. Personally, I like this prop because we can ‘massage’ legs, arms, and other parts of the body with it. It helps me to loosen my tight muscle even it feels very hurt when my muscle is very tight. Again, it tells me that those muscles need more treatment. In addition, I also find some difficulties when doing exercise using the foam roller. The most difficult part is to find my balance because it keeps on rolling. Thus, it ‘force’ me to have more balance.
The third prop is the brick or block (actually, I don’t even remember how to call it...:). Our class used it several times but not too often. My instructor will tell the class to put the brick between knees or feet and it will replace the ‘personal cheesecake’ that we used to have. It will help us to hold the parallel position when we are doing the exercises. To tell the truth, this prop is not my favorite. I remember the time when I felt very uncomfortable and dizzy because in the exercise I had to put the brick under my head, use it like a pillow. Maybe it’s because I did not put it to the correct position. Still I will not choose this prop if there is any other option.
Beside those three props I’ve mentioned above, there is one prop that I will love to try if there is any opportunity; it is the ball. Once I saw in a TV commercial someone who use a big ball in a Pilates exercise. This bouncy ball looks interesting. According to Downey, this prop has is very popular and common. It has many benefit; those are muscle strengthening, flexibility, posture, and labor <http://www.livestrong.com/article/98224-pilates-ball-benefits/>. That’s why I am looking forward to try using this prop.
Despite of the benefit and fun that we can get by using various props during the Pilates exercise, it is important to remember that we have to use it correctly. The props will only give benefit if we use it properly. As my instructor always says that the most important thing is doing the exercise correctly or it will not give our body any benefit.