When Pilates first came onto the scene in the early part of the twentieth century, it promised a great number of benefits to its practitioners. It was said that by completing the Pilates exercises, one would develop powerful core muscles, and ultimately a greater mastery of one’s body and spirit. It all comes back to those first basic exercises, though.
When the discipline was first created, all that the average Pilates practitioner would ever use would be a mat. Floor work was the emphasis, and through a series of thirty four exercises, the entire repertoire of Pilates was imparted. Through just these, one could achieve the many benefits the art promises.
Bearing this in mind, there are many more exercises available nowadays. Once Pilates exercises began to attain some degree of popularity, the traditional thirty four exercises were expanded upon by the discipline’s creator, with an eye towards introducing a greater range of flexibility into both the individual and the routine itself.
These newer exercises are usually the ones that involve elaborate props. One of the first was the magic circle, a large foam rubber circle that one can use in twisting and reaching exercises, which provides a nice form of tension and resistance. Basically, this is the point of all the newer exercises: the improvement upon the basic forms by adding resistance.
Of course, it’s gone far beyond that point now. Now, there are all sorts of props and tools that one can use to expand their repertoire of exercises into the hundreds or even thousands. These include the Wunda Chair, the Ladder Barrel, foam rollers, weights, and much more.
All in all, it can be said that some people remain skeptical of the new forms and resist their inclusion in a traditional Pilates routine. However, only you can decide which Pilates exercises are right for you. If spiritual alignment is your goal, stick with your mat, but if you want those six-pack abs, you may well have to branch out.