"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." Joseph Pilates
The equipment Joseph Pilates invented is sometimes said
to be distinctive or unique, but many of the pieces appear
to be derived from pre-existing examples:
The four main pieces of Pilates studio equipment
are the -
Cadillac, Reformer, Ladder Barrel and Wunda Chair.
Lessons on these pieces are generally one on one with an
instructor. Equipment classes for groups tend to be on
reformers only, such as the Allegro series by Polestar
Education, one of the various, internationally
recognized Pilates certifying organisations.
classes can cater from very easy to very demanding.
Studio-based Pilates, would include all the studio
equipment, the Cadillac (Trapeze table), Wunda and Step
chair, Ladder Barrel, reformer and matwork, with
supplementary equipment like spine corrector and Ped-a-pull.
Some studios are set up to do small semi-private (1-on-1
to 1-on-3) on the studio equipment.
- The "high chair" is similar to the pommel;
- The "reformer" appears to be similar to a modified
- The "pedipull" appears to be similar to a modified
- The "Cadillac" appears to be partially derived from
gymnasts' parallel and horizontal bars;
- The "low chair" is similar to a staking pommel;
- The "spine corrector barrel" is similar to a low level
A sliding bed with springs and straps. These machines are the most popular for group exercise
in the studio. Balanced Body have come up with the
allegro reformer, very sleek and compact built for easy
storage with maximum strength. With a basic repertoire of over 90
exercise with 400+ variations, the reformer is great for
an all over body workout. It also has wonderful
rehabilitation properties and is suitable for elderly to
Working with professionals in the field, post rehab
and movement specific training on the Cadillac.
Cadillacs are also known as Trapeze Table, due the swing
and the bars. The fluffies are obviously for the feet,
looking like some strange torture or machine. A Cadillac is the primary
rehab and personal training machine due to it's
diversity in being able to work the movement capacities
of the body.
Available are the Wunda Chair and the Combo Chair.
The split pedal chairs are a modified design by Polestar
Pilates founder Brent Anderson, and allow for a greater
range of bilateral challenge, rotation and movement
simulating activities of daily living.
Not just a great stretch for the back, the barrel is
great for athletes, and for clients working on
rotational strength for their golf game.
Step Barrels & Arcs
Pilates Step Barrels (also known as Spine Correctors)
Joseph Pilates used the barrels to uncurl the spine to
help correct the posture. "A man is as old as his
spine is flexible" he said
You can feel the days
stress vanish as you stretch out over the arc.
Especially wonderful in today forward flexed
lifestyle. The arcs and step barrels are a great
complement to mat classes and arc/barrel classes have
become very popular.
The original reformer designed by Joseph Pilates.
It has been modified over the years and now available
are the Clinical Reformer, The Fletcher Reformer
designed by Ron Fletcher, the Legacy Reformer to name a
few. With a wide repertoire of exercises the
reformer is ideal for clients on 1 on 1 private session
basis. It is great for an all over body workout. It also has
wonderful rehabilitation properties and is suitable for
elderly to athletes.