Before running out to your class or popping in the Pilates workout DVD, there are some must have Pilates clothes and accessories you will want before getting started. The last thing you want to be worried about when working out- especially if you’re in a class- is if your clothes are covering what they’re supposed to or who used the Pilates mat before you.
If you’re not using a reformer, your own Pilates mat is the single most important accessory for a workout. It will not only keep you from being directly on the floor or using the mats that everyone else uses at the gym (when do you think they last cleaned those? Yuck!) but will also provide padding and comfort for knees and other body parts. The mat should not only provide cushion, but should not slide around on the floor. Here’s our top pick for Pilates mats:
ProSource Premium: This mat stands out from the competition because it stands a full ½ inch off of the ground, which is far thicker than most of the competition. It is 71 inches long and 24 inches wide, so it will accommodate most body sizes. It has a great non-slip surface that will keep your mat where you need it. This mat provides amazing absorption and comfort for the price.
When it comes to Pilates clothing there are some important things to consider aside from how they make you look. Although a cute outfit might be a consideration, there are higher priorities to think about. Here are some must have Pilates clothes:
Pilates Pants: Pilates pants should be comfortable and flexible. Tip: If you’re not getting new pants, check that your existing pair isn’t getting thin or worn out- especially in the crotch. Most women choose a Capri style legging that provides the comfort and flexibility they need without being too confining. And think dark colors! Even without the sweat, lighter colors can become see-through when stretched the way you’ll move doing pilates. Here’s our recommendation:
The Spalding Women’s Capri legging is one of the most popular brands and styles of Pilates pants. They are made from a mixture of cotton and spandex so that they allow for breathability and flexibility at the same time.
Pilates Socks: Barefoot is often a fine option for pilates but some workout rooms expect socks. Either way, many pilates rooms can be cold- especially for those early morning classes! Pilates socks should also provide a non-slip surface that keeps you from falling down or slipping during the workout.
A popular brand of Pilates socks is Toesox (pictured above). These meet all the requirements outlined above and also come in a wide variety of styles and sizes that will suit just about anyone. Select your size and color choice to see pricing.
Another popular kind of Pilates socks is Gaiam Yoga socks. These grip the floor well and are easy to wash. They are comfortable and will allow you to practice safely, even if you don’t have your Pilates mat.
Pilates Workout Ball and Ring
Now that you have the mat and Pilates clothes that you need it is time to move on to more advanced accessories, such as the Pilates ball and ring. Note: if you’re taking a class, you should expect them to provide this equipment for you. These items are for pilates at home; they help add additional tension to workouts and increase the number of exercises you can do. Many of these accessories come with Pilates DVDs that will help you learn the basics of how to use them and provide some useful techniques.
Pilates Ball: There are two kinds of Pilates balls that can be incorporated into your workout, the smaller ball that you hold between your legs, or the larger, stability ball which you can sit on. Both are great and can help to produce great results. You should look for a Pilates ball that is made from durable materials and if using on your own, get one that comes with an instructional DVD that shows you how to use it.
The Gaiam Pilates Body Sculpting Workout Kit is not only inexpensive, but comes with everything you will need to get started including the Pilates ball and workout DVD.
The TKO Antiburst Fitness Stability Ball is made from durable materials that make it hard to burst and easy to clean. It also comes with a pump and wall chart to instruct workouts.
Pilates Ring: Much like the small Pilates ball, the Pilates ring adds tension and variety to the workout. It is best to find one made from strong materials and that comes with some kind of instructions. This is a great pilates tool to take with you when traveling.
The Stamina Aeroplates Magic Circle is made from professional grade materials, which makes it a great bargain for the price. It also comes with an instructional DVD to get you started
Time to Get Started
Now that you know some of the must have Pilates accessories, it’s time to get started. Get a good workout DVD or do some research to find a good Pilates studio class in your area. With the right gear, all that’s left is for you to put it to use!