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Essential At-Home Pilates Props

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Pilates ring, foam roller and peanut ball on a yoga mat

Let’s face it…being able to take in-person Pilates classes that utilize apparatus like the reformer or the Cadillac isn’t always possible. Luckily, there are platforms on YouTube like mine, Pilates by Zola, that allow you to take mat classes in the comfort of your home. The use of props can easily amp up a mat routine in countless ways. Here are just a few essential props for your at-home Pilates practice.

Magic Circle

The Magic Circle is a staple prop in the Pilates community, which Joseph Pilates invented himself. This prop uses resistance to help with alignment. Traditionally, the circle is made with a metal ring and soft pads on two opposing sides, but many modern versions are made of plastic with foam pads. There is a way to incorporate the Magic Circle with almost every classical Pilates mat exercise.

Small Inflatable Ball

The small inflatable ball is a versatile prop. The slight squishiness of the ball gives you something to press into while challenging stability because of its roundness at the same time. For example, placing your heels on top of the ball for the Hundred. This prop also travels easily since you can let the air out. Check out my YouTube Pilates workout below, which uses the small ball!

Foam Roller

Typically, you would associate foam rolling with muscle recovery, but this prop can be incorporated into many Pilates exercises. A firm foam roller can be used as an unstable surface when doing abdominal work, which gives an extra challenge to the core or under the hips during a leg series to get more lengthening and stretch in the quads. You can also do a weighted arm series on the roller for a fantastic chest opener! The video below shows an excellent example of a foam roller leg/abs series by Kristen Antzoulis.


Sliders are typically used for functional training but can replicate the back-and-forth movement of a reformer, so they make a great addition to your at-home Pilates practice. 

Resistance Band

physical therapy client using resistance band
Example of resistance band

The resistance band is made from synthetic rubber, latex, elastic, fabric, or silicone with different resistance amounts ranging from very light to extra heavy. Typically, you’ll see these bands in a physical therapy setting, but they also make a great Pilates prop. A resistance band can be held in your hands, tied to a door, or wrapped around stable furniture or pillars.

Resistance Band Loops

Resistance band loops are the same as resistance bands but are full loops instead of having open ends. They are often called mini bands. This means you can, for example, put your legs through the loop and do abduction for the outer thighs, and the resistance will make you seriously feel the burn! Check out my video below for an example of a workout using the bands.


Holding dumbbells while doing Pilates exercises gives the body an extra challenge simply because there is more weight to bear. The great thing is, it doesn’t take much weight to feel a difference in the work!

Large Inflatable Ball/Birthing Ball

woman holding a large, inflatable ball while doing a Pilates teaser pose

I cannot express how helpful the large birthing ball was for me when I was pregnant. It allowed me to continue practicing Pilates without spending as much time on the floor and on my back. You don't have to be pregnant to use this prop, of course. It's meant for anyone, and considering its size, the large, inflatable ball is surprisingly versatile. Whether it’s gentle movements like sitting on the ball and rolling the hips around or amping up harder exercises like Shoulder Bridge, this prop is handy.

This list doesn’t even scratch the surface of all of the Pilates props you can use at home. The great thing is that everything on this list is very accessible, and there are so many brands and variations to choose from. There is no reason you can't have an at-home Pilates experience that is ultimately fulfilling!

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