The inside of a Pilates studio is
unlike anything you would find in a typical gym, yet the intensity and results
offered by this form of exercise can rival anything found in a general fitness
Although Pilates is not a new
exercise concept, it is becoming one of the most popular fitness training
methods of our time.
It promotes muscle leanness and
length rather than bulk. It is safe and
rehabilitative for people with back pain, arthritis, osteoporosis, scoliosis
and limited flexibility.
Pilates focuses on core stabilisation,
making each participant stronger from the inside out.
These are the factors that make it the
exercise of choice for rehab patients, dancers and athletes alike.
Joseph Pilates, who founded this amazing system
of exercise in the 1920s stated, “In 10 sessions you will feel the difference,
in 20 sessions you will see the difference and in 30 you will have a new
body”….and he wasn’t kidding!
Although Pilates mat-work exercises
can be done at home, one of the advantages to training with apparatus in a
studio setting is the extra resistance provided by the equipment.
With the resistance you will become
more aware of what a particular exercise expects from your body, feeling muscles
work at a deeper level.
Once you have recognised this
feeling, you can then transfer this intensity to your home workout.
The second, and probably most
important advantage to training with apparatus in a Pilates studio, is the
individual attention of a certified teacher who will watch you throughout, adjusting
your posture, demonstrating breathing and the correct movements, and giving you
new exercises as you become stronger.
The Reformer was originally created
by Joseph Pilates as a way for soldiers in Europe to rehabilitate their bodies
while still recuperating in their hospital beds.
He began hooking up ropes, pulleys
and springs to the beds, which later became the Reformer.
The Reformers used today are modelled
closely on Pilates’ first pieces used in his New York studio, and are designed
with a moving carriage, springs, straps and an adjustable foot bar, allowing
clients to perform exercises lying prone, supine sitting and standing.
The resistance of the springs and
straps is what enables most of the strengthening and lengthening benefits of
the Reformer exercise.
The Cadillac is a bed-like platform
with towers at each end and bars that run across the top from one tower to the
A variety of spring attachments of
various weights and lengths challenge the body through a wide variety of exercises. Safety chains, push-through bars and wooden
bars complete the wonder of this versatile piece of equipment.
The Cadillac provides a great way
to teach a body to move, especially a body with movement problems. Many mat-work exercises can be modified on
the Cadillac until your body gets used to doing them on your own.
It can also provide some amazing
stretches and can challenge your body to move in ways you never thought possible.
The Stability Chair is different
that any chair you’ve seen before. It is
backless which mean you must engage your “powerhouse” or core muscles at all
times, making each and every exercise total-body ones.
The chair, like the other
apparatus, is based on a system of resistance powered by springs attached to
hooks at different settings.
Exercises are performed sitting on
the chair, standing on the chair, lying on the chair, or by standing in front
of the chair with resistance placed on the “pedals” that the springs are
attached to. Using the chair results in
deep muscle control, improved balance and coordination and increases mental
The Barrels are used to work the
spine to help correct posture, enhance your breathing, develop strength in the
arms and legs and soothe built up stress with full-body stretches.
There are several types of barrels
used in a Pilates studio.
The Ladder Barrel is a hump of a
padded barrel elevated about three feet off the floor. A sliding base adjusts the distance between
the barrel and a wooden ladder with rungs that allow for varying strengths and
degrees of flexibility.
Smaller barrels and the spine
corrector allow for more portable methods of incorporating many of the same ladder
Although private training many seem
out the financial realm of possibility, trying even one or two apparatus-based
sessions with a qualified professional can help make your home workout even
more powerful and introduce you to muscle you never knew you had!
Colleen Brummer is a trainer/manager at Energy Studio and a
certified STOTT Pilates instructor. For further information at ENERGY Studio on