I invented all these machines. Began back in Germany, was there until 1925 used to exercise rheumatic patients.
I thought, why use my strength? So I made a machine to do it for me. Look, you see it resists your movements in just the right way so those inner muscles really have to work against it. That way you can concentrate on movement. You must always do it slowly and smoothly. Then your whole body is in it.
The Reformer is probably the most well known piece of equipment used in Pilates. The Reformer glides forward and backward on rollers and uses springs for resistance, along with other attachments, for a wide variety of exercises and positions (i.e. lying down, seated and standing).
What are the benefits of doing Pilates with a Reformer?
The Reformer is highly versatile:
- It facilitates hundreds of exercise variations
- It’s easy on the joints
- It allows for modifications for those with injuries or conditions
- It allows for three-dimensional movement and conditioning
- It’s suitable for a wide variety of clients (from rehab to pro athlete).
It also facilitates balanced strength and flexibility, provides eccentric and concentric muscle contraction (resistance on the in and out moves), total musculo-skeletal conditioning (muscles and postural alignment), and facilitates core conditioning and peripheral mobility.
By using springs instead of weights, Reformers provide gradual resistance as your muscles contract, ensuring the muscles are being worked properly. There is greater resistance at the muscle’s strongest point of contraction and less resistance on the initiation and completion of the contraction so there is less stress on tendons and ligaments.
The Cadillac is really the Rolls Royce of Pilates equipment and is a key component in any fully equipped facility. It’s an ultra-sturdy unit which offers an extensive range of applications for everyone. From post-rehab clients to peak performance athletes – this piece of Pilates equipment provides the perfect place to practice multi-planar strength and flexibility movements.
The Cadillac features a variety of spring lengths and tensions, as well as multiple spring attachment sites providing different levels of resistance to support or challenge the body. This allows arms and legs to be worked independently ensuring muscle balance in the upper and lower body as well as stability through the core. A multi-faceted machine, the Cadillac / Trapeze Table offers the opportunity for more three-dimensional movements and facilitates exercises in sitting, standing or lying positions, promoting programming options for every fitness level and ability.
Ideal for those who need to stay in a seated or upright position, the Stability Chair helps rebalance muscles and provides a full-body workout. It also facilitates high performance exercises for athletes and the very fit. The chair is used in Pilates Circuits sessions as well as one to ones and it offers new challenges to all clients across all planes of movement.
There are a range of different size barrels that we work with in Pilates.
The Ladder Barrel is the largest of the barrels and it can be used to challenge core stability and strength as well to help increasing flexibility and mobility. With a range of seated, standing and inverted exercises the Ladder Barrel can add challenge to any session. The Ladder Barrel can be adjusted to accommodate different torso sizes and leg lengths.
The Arc Barrel helps decompress and lengthen the spine. A versatile tool, it is sometimes used during our Matwork classes to increase the challenge but it can also be used to assist clients to start an exercise in a more supported position prior to movement.
Step Barrel / Spine Corrector
The Step Barrel is an essential Pilates tool that can be used to perform exercises lengthening and strengthening the torso, shoulders, back and legs while correcting or restoring the spine’s natural curves. It is ideal for aligning and mobilising the spine and can also assist with improving posture. It’s slanted platform with and curved surface accommodate a diverse range of exercises across many planes of movement.
Small equipment can be added to many of the exercises in the Pilates repertoire to challenge and also to support the movement.
The fitness circle targets and challenges the arms and legs. It is an outstanding yet lightweight resistance tool. You’ll also get the added advantage of strengthening and activating support systems throughout the body. The circle can also be used to develop body awareness as part of your understanding of the basic principles of Pilates.
Flexband / Resistance Band
Flexbands or Resistance bands started out as rehab tools but are now mainstream equipment in the fitness world. A resistance band is one of the most portable, versatile and low-tech pieces of exercise equipment available. They provide adjustable resistance for both stretch and strength exercises.
Unlike the fitness circle or other larger equipment such as the Reformer which were invented by Joseph Pilates, the Swiss Ball originated in the realms of physical therapy and is seen everywhere now; from clinics to gyms to Pilates studios.
The ball provides an unstable base of support to work on, challenging your core strength. Swiss balls can greatly increase the difficulty of an exercise if performed correctly. They are also great for stretching over.
The foam roller is a versatile prop and can be used for all kinds of uses, such as stretching, self-massage, body support, and stability exercises in Pilates. Like the Swiss ball and flex band they originated in the rehab environment.
The foam roller is just a cylinder made of high-density foam and is cheap to buy, portable and can add a new challenge to any workout.
Toning balls are soft, weighted balls that can be used in your Pilates workout to add upper body resistance and also balance challenges. Toning balls come in a variety of weights, though in Pilates we tend to keep the weights between 1 and 3 lbs so that correct form is kept during exercises.
Spiky balls can be used to massage and loosen tight muscles and to improve circulation. 9cm spiky balls are provided in the studio – please feel free to use them to release the muscles of the feet or the glutes or to massage your back before class.
All of the small equipment listed above is available to buy in the Live & Breathe Pilates studio – contact us for prices.