Pilates Props to Take With you on Vacation

If you’re on vacation and find yourself without a Pilates studio, fret not: you can pack a Pilates studio in your suitcase! With a thera band, deflatable rubber ball, a mini foam roller, and some miracle balls you can get a full body workout wherever you go.

Thera band

1) Standing arm work - Stand on the Thera-Band with your feet about hip width apart. Hold the Thera-Band in both hands, allowing considerable slack between your feet and hands. Engage your abdominals and exhale as you lift your arms out to a T-position. You should feel tension in the band as your arms extend into a T. Repeat for 10 sets.

2)Tie the Thera-Band tightly around something sturdy about shoulder height, and hold the band in one hand. Exhale to fold into a bicep curl and inhale to extend your arm. Repeat for 10 sets, then switch sides.

3) Standing oblique work - Stand with your feet wider than hip width apart, holding the Thera-Band in both hands overhead. Aim to have light tension between your hands. Engage your abdominals and inhale as you bend to the right from the waist. Exhale to return to center. Repeat to the left. Keep your hips stable and square the entire time and your ribs knitted together. Repeat 10 times.

3) Ankle strengthening - Sit with your legs extended out in front of you. Bring the Thera-Band around the ball of your right foot, holding both sides of the band in one or both hands and maintaining light tension. Flex and point your foot 10 times. Circle your ankle clockwise, then counterclockwise 5 times each. Imagining your big toe is a pen, write the alphabet in the air. Repeat with your left ankle. 

Partially deflated ball: At our studio we use the these small balls, but really any brand should work well!

1) Pelvic clocks - Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Engage your abdominals to lift your hips and slide the ball underneath your pelvis. Aim to have the ball half underneath your sacrum and half underneath your tush.  Imagine you have a clock resting on your abdomen: your navel is 12, your left hip bone is 3, your pelvic bone is 6, and your right hip bone is 9. Draw your navel in towards your spine, “weighing down” the 12. Shift your weight clockwise until the 3 is weighted down, then down towards your pubic bone, around to your right hip bone, and back to your navel. Take your time going around the circle, especially in areas that feel sticky. Keep breathing.

Go around 5 times and then reverse the direction.

2) Low abs - Keeping the ball underneath your pelvis, extend your arms down by your sides with your palms planted flat. For more support, bring your arms further out to the sides. On an exhale, engage your low abdominals and float your right leg up into a tabletop position. Inhale to place the leg down, then switch to the other side. Do 10 sets.

For a more challenging version, exhale to lift one leg at a time into a tabletop position. Inhale to lower your right leg down, leaving your left leg in tabletop. Go only as low as you can without taking the movement into your lower back. As you exhale, switch the legs, bringing your right leg back into tabletop and lowering your left leg down. Do 10 sets.

Bridges with inner thigh work - Engage your abdominals to lift your hips and remove the ball from under your pelvis. Lower your hips, then place the ball between your thighs. You may need to widen your feet slightly.

Exhale as you engage your abdominals and draw your navel in towards your spine. Squeeze the ball between your thighs as you roll your spine off the mat one vertebrae at a time. Inhale at the top, then exhale as you squeeze the ball again and roll down through your spine. Repeat 5 times.

Repeat again, pausing at the top to squeeze and slightly release the ball 5 times, then roll down and squeeze and release 5 times. Repeat 5 times.

Mini roller

1) Upper abdominal work - Lay on your back with the roller perpendicular to your spine at your mid-back. Interlace your fingers behind your head and lift your elbows slightly to drop your shoulders away from your ears. Lower your head down to the floor, holding the weight of your head in your hands to protect your neck. As you exhale, knit your ribs together and lift your head off the floor. Nod your chin into your chest and curl up to lift your shoulder blades off the roller. Inhale to lower all the way back down. Repeat 10 times.

2) Roll up and down the spine - Keep your hands behind your head and stay lifted into your upper body curl. Engage your abdominals to lift your hips off the ground. Use your hamstrings to roll the roller up and down your spine, pausing to sink into the roller at any sticky spots.

3) Neck massage - Lay with the roller underneath the base of your skull. Press your head into the roller and rock side to side, massaging the muscles of your upper neck. With your head tipped to the side, nod your chin in towards your chest and rock it up towards the ceiling.

Miracle Balls

These little balls are the cure for any aches and pains you may have from travel, use them underneath your low back, under your shoulders or anywhere else that hurts! 

Let us know if you have any questions or have requests for exercises with other travel-ready props. We sell several of these props at the studio and if you are having trouble finding any of them just email us and we’ll send you in the right direction!

Ali Weeks