So, I've been away on a course for Pilates with small equipment! Small equipment means the 7" ball, pilates ring, theraband and foam roller.
My favourite is still the ball - no euphemism intended!
With the ball, you can modify certain exercises to make them more achievable whilst you're building up strength, or, if you've mastered that particular exercise, the ball can add an extra challenge by increasing the instability so you have to work harder.
For example: The upper body curl up can be difficult for some, especially at the beginning when you are building up your strength. A ball just between the shoulder blades supports your upper body, you'll still be working those abs and neck flexors but to a lesser degree .... then, when you're stronger, you can take the ball away.
If you're after more of a challenge with the semi supine core strengtheners, you can put the ball just under your sacrum to increase the instability whilst you do the exercise as normal. Your stabilising muscles will be working overtime!!!
I also use the band a lot in my classes - this can help with body awareness, add resistance or give aid where a bit of support may be needed.
For example: The spine twist with wide arms can be a challenge to do correctly. Often, the forward arm will come across the body without you even realising it! If you hold the band in both hands, so it rests across your chest,, you will be more aware when you bring that arm forward as the band will come away from your chest ... and this helps you build good body awareness.
That's the beauty of Pilates - each and every exercise can be adapted to YOU!
If you need to build up strength, then there is a variation or modification to help you do the exercise at your level and then, when you're ready, you will be able to progress through the more challenging levels at your own pace.
Come and give Pilates a go ... your body will be glad you did :-)
Level 3 Mat Pilates Instructor.