Pilates can be a daunting form of exercise to begin on your own. You have to figure out what equipment to buy, how to do the exercises, and all of the other issues that accompany beginning a new workout routine. Bally’s Total Fitness has supplied us with a nice starter kit that contains absolutely everything you will need to get involved. It isn’t exactly a quality package, but for a low price it is a complete and incredibly helpful introduction to the world of pilates.
The package contains three items: a ball, a stretch band, and a training DVD. Arguably, this is really all you need to start doing pilates. If you have a hardwood floor or a sensitive back, you may want to purchase a yoga mat. Otherwise, you’ll be set to begin from the moment you open the package. Another nice aspect is that the package is very portable. If you keep the box, you can fold everything back into it and bring your exercise equipment on the go with you. This is a real advantage over other home exercise systems, which have to stay at home when you go on a trip.
The stretch band and ball are the main equipment you’ll need, and Bally’s supplies some perfectly adequate beginning material. The ball is “reinforced” (whatever that means) rubber and inflates to around 35 inches, though it will stretch out more as you use it. You will want to keep it well inflated and vacuum often in the area where you do your exercise. The band is at a pretty good strength for a beginner. You will probably find yourself wanting something stronger after a couple of weeks.
This is a good time for a caveat: These pieces of equipment will not last you long, especially if you are a heavier person or hard on equipment in general. They are nice because they’re cheap, but don’t expect to go longer then a couple months without purchasing new stuff. The band will snap and the ball will pop. Luckily, the kit is so inexpensive that you may not mind tossing it and buying better equipment (or saying goodbye if pilates aren’t your thing).
The training DVD is pretty much what you’d expect it to be. A fitness instructor using the same equipment you have gives you a slow breakdown of a total body pilates workout. It gives nice, clear explanations for all of the moves it teaches. Being able to pause, rewind, and slow down is nice if you’re uncoordinated. The DVD is a great starter. You may want to buy a book to learn new moves, but it contains everything you need to learn the basics. You may not have to watch it more then once, but it’s nice to have while you’re learning.
All in all, this product is a nice introduction to the world of pilates. By the time you’ve used it all, you will know whether you’re interested in keeping going. And if you aren’t, it’s a far cheaper gambit then buying the expensive stuff and figuring out that you hate it.