Pilates Equipment Basics

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So you want to get started on a Pilates program but don’t know what Pilates equipment you will need to get started. That’s great news and a decision you will not regret!

Pilates is growing in popularity because it produces results and has been doing so for decades. Now you can even set up a home workout studio that uses Pilates equipment similar to the original Joseph Pilates designed models. And we know what kind of results he described!

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Joseph and his classic Pilates Method have such a legion of followers and part of that reason is because his Pilates equipment produced results. The good news is that the huge variety in sizes of Pilates equipment has made that equipment more affordable and more size appropriate to fit into our homes instead of just a gym somewhere.

Think back about when Joseph Pilates got started with his Pilates method. During World War I, Joseph was at an English internment camp and started to test his exercises on injured soldiers. Pilates started with those patients who were immobilized and bed-bound. To get them exercising, Joseph rigged up their hospital beds with springs, creating resistance to help them regain their strength. Brilliant! It was from this experience and experiment that Joseph went on to develop the Pilates Reformer.

Fascinated with spring-based pieces of equipment, Joseph headed to New York in the 1920s. He’d spent additional time creating more spring-based pieces of equipment as well as pieces that had lots of movable bars and adjustable straps.

When he landed in New York, Joseph set out to be successful and there was no stopping him. He’d seen the success with the immobilized in England and he believed in his product and his method. Early during his time in New York, he began to work with dancers to help them gain flexibility and lengthen their muscles as well as to repair their bodies. He was fortunate enough to work with some very famous dancers who not only hungrily embraced the Pilates method but they told others about it too.

One of the hallmarks of the Pilates program is the Pilates Reformer. Like other pieces of Pilates equipment, the Reformer uses the resistance of springs in order to create effort. The Reformer is made of a sliding platform anchored at one end of its frame with springs. The user can move the platform by either pulling on ropes or pushing off from a stationary bar. So you gain the benefit of the reformed by tackling the challenge of moving the platform while keeping your balance on a moving surface. You can work the Reformer sitting or standing.

The Pilates Cadillac is another classic. This machine consists of a padded platform with a cage-like frame above it. Sounds a little medieval…I digress…The Pilates Cadillac has a variety of bars or straps connected to the frame by springs. See the theme… Joseph Pilates loved springs and believed in them for creating resistance!

Another piece of Pilates equipment is known as the Pilates Barrel. This barrel is typically made with a sturdy wood frame with a well-cushioned foam and vinyl curved form. The Barrel is a simpler piece of equipment than the Reformer or the Cadillac and is meant to be used with mat work in exercises that open the upper back to enhance flexibility and correct posture.

So just because you know what type of Pilates equipment is out there and you know that you can buy it for your home, but stop before purchasing it and think about it!

Pilates equipment should only be used in a home setting after you’ve received proper training from a certified Pilates instructor. With Pilates it is not just learning how to use the equipment but you must also learn how to breathe in accordance with Joseph Pilates methods.

There are many great Pilates videos and Pilates DVDs that you can use in between sessions in which you are learning how to use your Pilates equipment from a certified Pilates trainer.

Pilates equipment for the home is an exciting proposition. Just take the time to research the equipment and learn what you are doing before getting started. Keep working with a trainer and then enjoy the results of your workout. Celebrate the new flexibility and mobility that you will enjoy with Pilates.