Pilates Machines

Pilates Machine: Types, Benefits, Disadvantages & Brands

Pilates is a well-known sports activity worldwide. Joseph Pilates, inventor of the Pilates method, devised pilates machines to improve strength and flexibility, among other qualities. These pilates machines or equipment’s were a novelty in the gym equipment market, more than forty years ago.

There are more than 500 exercises he devised for his method, Joseph Pilates designed a series of machines and devices. These devices were the true obsession of Joseph Pilates, towards which he directed many of his investigations. The means he modify and constantly adapt them until achieving perfection in many of them.

His most famous Pilates machine is the ‘reformer’ that was initially invented during his captivity, using a partner’s bed. Besides many different machines designed for Pilates allow a greater variety of exercises, making the classes motivating and attractive for the users.

Types of Pilates Machine

There are four main devices that were created by Joseph Pilates himself to facilitate the performance of some types of exercises and each with a wide variety of exercises. Would you like to know more about these pilates machines?

1. Pilates Reformer

The Reformer is the heart of classic Pilates classes. It is the most used Pilates machine. It is a device similar to a bed on which a platform that moves along it by rails slides.

Its system of springs, grips, pulleys and springs provide variable resistance and allows combining various types of ideal exercises to improve physical condition.

Pilates Reformer

The original Pilates Reformer had a padded area for the back, another for the shoulder area, a last one for the head and a foot bar at the end of the device. The new versions bring extra equipment such as a jump box and new adjustment possibilities. As well as changing resistance springs or rails for more modern systems.

According to experts in classical Pilates, it is the Pilates machine that everyone starting with the Pilates method should start at.

The Pilates Reformer is a rectangular platform with a sliding carriage by rumeles that offer resistance to movement using springs or modern hydraulic systems.

The trolley moves along the platform with a variable resistance, allowing all the exercises that can be done on the mat to be performed but with resistance control.

The shape of the machine allows you to work the abdominals, for example, at the same time that we carry out arm strengthening exercises or stretching them. Or on the contrary, perform trunk flexibility work while strengthening the legs.

It really is a well-thought-out and very versatile pilates machine, which combines rubber work with stretching work without forgetting that it forces us to maintain a correct posture at all times.

2. Cadillac or Trapeze Table

Together with the Reformer, it is one of the first devices that Joseph Pilates created. It is the machine that has the largest dimensions, compared to other devices. You can do a lot of exercises; as the level is acquired, the one who uses it can do implausible things.

The Cadillac trapezium pilates is a kind of raised bed with a steel structure on it, in which the person doing the exercise can hang in different positions, using different ropes and pulleys. It is usually made of wood, steel and with a semi-rigid mat.

Cadillac or Trapeze Table

In addition, you can even hang upside down and face up. It increases flexibility and agility, and you can work the pelvic area, abs, shoulders, arms, legs and more.

The Cadillac Pilates Trapezium is the perfect communion of several traditional weight training pilates machines, a high pulley, a high bench press and a low bench press and a trapezius machine, among others.

As in the universal pilates reformer, the number of pilates exercises that can be done is almost infinite. With the lateral bars, the different supports and structures allow complex exercises that compete with practically all the muscles of the body.

Also known as Pilates Trapezium, the Cadillac is a stretcher with a metal frame on the top equipped with garters, pulleys and mobile bars that allow you to perform more than 80 pilates exercises in different positions and stretches.

To perform these pilates exercises, the push bar, the trapezius bar and the adjustable springs for arms and legs are used to help lengthen and tone the muscles and strengthen and give flexibility to the back. It is ideal for rehabilitation and back injuries.

The Cadillac Pilates is an apparatus similar to the famous universal Pilates Reformer but with a superior support, it is rectangular and surrounded by a frame and an open roof.

Although the most modern Pilates Trapezium equipment has more variety, the original was composed of the following devices.

  • A push bar.
  • The trapeze bar.
  • The rear bearing bar.
  • And the springs for legs and arms.

Cadillac Pilates kits are typically made of wood and leather, formerly iron or steel and now aluminum and even carbon fiber. Where they have improved the most with the technology in the mobile components that now have a more sliding structure.

3. Pilates Chair

It is a chair-shaped device, as its name indicates. It is the Pilates machine with smaller dimensions, but the like the rest, offers a variety of possibilities. It is a versatile exercise equipment, you can perform many pilates exercises with this equipment, such as standing up, lunge, push up moves, etc.

Pilates Chair

It offers you 75 different exercise positions. Also helps maintain training flow and helps burn unwanted calories. It is useful for homes as well as commercial gyms. This pilates apparatus will provide all the body movements necessary. Equipment for cardiovascular exercises is also useful.

It is useful for shaping your legs, arms and thighs. They also provide support for your lower back and abdominal muscles. Pilates chair is also available with custom split step pedals, but provides more resistance for the legs and arms.

The outstanding Benefits of Chairs

  • Very versatile equipment: More than 75 different positions can be developed.
  • Compact device: It takes up little space and is manageable.
  • Mainly designed to work the legs: Specifically reactivate circulation. Cardiovascular exercise work.
  • Advanced exercises (for athletes): Widely used by high-performance athletes and people in very good shape.

Types of Pilates chair

You will be able to enjoy the advantages of practicing this method sitting in the Pilates chair. There are three different types of chairs. Wunda chair, Pilates High Chair or Electric Chair, Arm Chair or Baby Chair.

Wunda Chair

The Wunda Chair was created by Joseph for the dancer Kathy Grant. The Wunda Chair is basically a box that has a side that can be pressed through a pedal with springs, which give it different resistances depending on the level or exercise that we want to work on.

Wunda Chair

Despite its simple design, in the Wunda Chair we can perform a wide variety of exercises, offering us the possibility of working mainly the center (the abs) in an intense way, but it also helps us tone the back, legs and arms.

In addition, it is the device that most helps to find or discover the center. Exercises can be performed in various positions, often maintaining balance.

All Wunda exercises are only taught to advanced students or teachers.

Pilates High Chair or Electric Chair

It is a Pilates apparatus very similar to a chair, it is an evolution of the wunda chair designed to facilitate the exercises performed on it. The high chair has, unlike the wunda chair, two side bars that serve as a support when carrying out the exercises, it also has a backrest that serves as a reference for the alignment of the spine and lower limbs.

Pilates High Chair or Electric Chair

The exercises in the high chair are performed on a pedal that is hooked to the structure with two springs, which are not usually changed.

It is the ideal apparatus for initiation in Pilates to work on the control and balance so necessary in the exercises, at the same time, we strengthen legs, glutes, knees, hips and our body alignment. Many exercises are learned that will later be performed in the “Wunda chair”, which is much more complex and needs some experience.

Arm Chair or Baby Chair

There is very little information about the baby chair and it is the forgotten chair in many of the Pilates formations, not to mention that there are many studies that do not have it, and if they do, they are almost always accumulating dust in a corner.

Arm Chair or Baby Chair

It has an articulated backrest that moves forward or back with springs at the back. In it, exercises are performed with the arms similar to those we do in other devices.

Helps restore strength, balance, and improve upper body control, making it ideal for sensitive or upper back problems. In addition, the shape of this chair allows the teacher to have very easy access to the student, in order to correct the exercise at any time.

These are the three chairs of the Pilates Method, as you can see each one is different from the other and works on them differently. All the chairs are compact, easy to move and overall makes it perfect for studios or gyms with little space available.

4. Ladder Barrel or Barrel

It is one of the simplest machines since it does not have any intensification mechanism and the exercises are performed with the body itself. The machine, as its name in English indicates, is made up of a ladder and a barrel joined by rails to adapt it to the participant.

Ladder Barrel or Barrel

The machine itself consists of a series of wooden steps (slats) on one side with different heights and a kind of semi-cylindrical support (hence the name of Barrel) on the other.

This Pilates equipment consists of a low trellis and in front a rounded barrel on the surface of which we can do pilates exercises to improve flexibility.

The barrel is separated from the low trellis by a sliding base that can be adjusted to accommodate the torso according to leg lengths. Designed to be able to perform pilates exercises with the correct posture and focusing on the power center, that is, the abdominal belt.

It is ideal for beginners and middle students. The main objective is the work of the trunk and lower back, but forcing to have the correct posture.

It is a device that without the instructions of a good Pilates teacher it is very easy to hurt your back. But at the same time it is a safe way to do lumbar work and to do abs perfectly.

The exercises of flexibility and stretching and some of strength are the most practical in this very useful apparatus, not as usual as the ones previously mentioned, but tremendously practical at advanced levels and with great popularity as a training tool for dancers.

Other Accessories to Practice Pilates

The accessories for the practice of the Pilates method are used both in the Pilates classes that take place on the floor, as well as in the Pilates Method classes with equipment. In addition to these machines there are Mats, Elastic Bands, Rubber Roller, Balls, Pilates Hoops or Rings that allow more variations of the exercises.

To achieve all these changes in your body, Pilates incorporates some elements during its practices to make its result more satisfactory. If you are a beginner and you are interested in starting to do Pilates at home or in a professional center, you may be wondering what accessories you need to practice Pilates: Don’t worry! Here I tell you everything you need to know.

1. Mats

One of the most necessary elements to practice pilates at home or in a class is a good mat or mat. They serve to be more comfortable and not to hurt your back in certain positions that are adopted in the exercises.

Mats

It does not need to be a thick mat, with a few millimeters we will have enough to isolate ourselves from the ground and be comfortable. You can find very cheap models that will serve you without spending too much.

In addition to helping to make training much more comfortable, these mats help prevent injury and pain during exercise.

2. Elastic Bands

When performing the different exercises on a mat, the elastic band can be a great help. With simple exercises in which the tapes are placed behind the feet and arms, the muscles are strengthened and elasticity is improved.

Elastic Bands

They are usually made of rubber or latex and have a wide range of different resistances. Depending on the strength of each person, one model or another must be chosen.

Elastic bands also help increase the intensity of Pilates exercises and help you perform some postures that require great flexibility.

3. Rubber Roller

The rollers massage the muscles during Pilates movements. This accessory is a great help to work balance, balance and strength in each posture.

Rubber Roller

This complement not only contributes to increasing your strength, flexibility and sense of balance, but you can also enjoy even more pleasant sessions, since it provides a pleasant massage of the deepest muscles of your body and back, while the exercises are being carried out.

With this you release tension and eliminate muscle pain. People who do Pilates to improve muscle pain often use these rollers during class.

4. Balls

The use of balls in pilates practice guarantees dynamic balance training through resistance, posture stability and reaction time and are very effective in improving strength and flexibility.

Balls

They have different diameters ranging from 20 cm to 120 cm, in different colors (depending on size) and different qualities. The quality of the balls is very important because if it does not have a good thickness that supports a heavy person (since it usually bounces on them), they can explode and the student can be injured.

Depending on this, there are different prices, depending on the thickness of the wall. These balls offer many possibilities for Pilates training, since they allow to carry out different exercises for the work of dynamic balance and coordination and introduce variability in the exercises of strength and stretching.

One of the best utilities is abdominal work, which often gets boring by always doing the same type of exercises on the floor. They replace, at a minimal cost, equipment such as: Barrel, Concealer Spine or bows.

5. Pilates Hoops or Rings

Joseph Pilates devised these hoops to better control the muscles of the abdomen during training. Let’s remember that Pilates considers the abdomen as the body’s center of force to get the necessary effort in each movement.

Pilates Hoops or Rings

The Pilates Hoop is simply an aid to achieving the goals we are pursuing with training routines. It is a circle, which is usually made of rubber, provided with lateral grips, and totally flexible, so that it can easily adapt to the contours of our body, since what must prevail is the comfort of exercise following the Pilates basics, which should be relaxed and smooth.

First of all the use of the pilates ring is a way to increase the resistance of the exercises. That is why its use is not recommended for beginners, since it is one more step that we must take as we acquire skill in the world of pilates. Do not forget that doing pilates exercises machine can be a good alternative to the use of the ring, since the increase in resistance is noticeable, and the effects of this also.

Benefits of Practicing Pilates with Machines

Pilates is a discipline that benefits all parts of the body. Since Joseph H. Pilates created the Pilates method, there have been many people who have fallen for this method that connects the body and the mind and that serves to solve human ailments through prevention and correction systems.

Benefits of Practicing Pilates with Machines

As the benefits of Pilates with machines, we can get faster and more effective progress. We can find some main benefits below that we should say thanks to the Pilates machine as well as the pilates method.

  • Cadillac is the ideal device for people with injuries.

The fact that cadillac offers support is a great advantage for people with a poor balance or stability, as it can happen to people who suffer some type of injury.

In addition, because people with limited mobility are raised from the ground it will cost less work to get on and off the cadillac.

To all this, it must be added that the cadillac enables movement paths much greater than those of the reformer, since the cadillac is a three-dimensional machine and some stretches of the upper body can only be performed on it.

  • The cadillac offers the possibility of multiple hanging stretches.

Both the upper and lower trains can be worked while we are hanging on this machine. These exercises work balance, coordination and strength.

  • Use the reformer, the cadillac and the chair to do the leg exercises.

Leg stretches are essential in a Pilates class and usually take place in the first part of the class. They begin by doing the exercises in the reformer or in the cadillac, in case the classes are individual. On the other hand, the leg exercises that are done at the end of the class have to be carried out in the chair.

Unlike what happens in the reformer, during the work of feet in the cadillac the hamstrings are in a state of stretching that increases when the work begins.

  • The mat and the reformer are the most used machines to do abdominal work.

If leg exercises are essential in Pilates, the importance of working the abdomen is unquestionable.

When planning the class, both isometric and isotonic exercises must be included and regardless of whether we start on one machine or another we will always start with the realization of the hundred.

  • The barrel offers unique benefits to the back.

Possibilities of active extension as well as passive extension of the back is what the barrel offers us. And it is that the barrels are very useful pieces to strengthen the back extensors and to be able to relax this in a passive way in the position of spine extension.

In the same way, this machine supports the trunk during lateral flexion exercises, facilitating the acquisition of strength and flexibility.

  • The chair adds functionality to the exercises.

In many of the exercises performed in the chair, the trunk is upright and this requires greater activation of the trunk stabilizers.

For pregnant women, the chair is also very useful since it allows you to perform the exercises of the feet sitting rather than in the supine position, which is a great advantage.

  • If you want to perform a less demanding exercise, either because you have a pathology, injury or need rehabilitation, Pilates machines allow us to perform an exercise in a more relaxed way and adapted to each need.
  • On the other hand, if you want to train hard, Pilates machines are your ally. You can change angles, loads and train multiple exercises that would not be possible to train otherwise. It is recommended to use the Pilates Reformer and Cadillac to reach your full potential.
  • You stimulate body-mind

A new challenge for your body and it will also awaken new sensations in us. Pilates works concentration, like Yoga, so the mentality and the correct breaths are vital for a good performance.

  • An ideal solution for your back pain

The wide variety of positions that we can perform with the machines will help us adopt a better posture and align the entire body. Thus, the muscles of the back, both internal and external, will be strengthened to achieve a strength that will decrease your pain. You can perform these exercises with the Pilates barrel.

  • The pelvic area is worked

In fact, it is a difficult area to work correctly and the importance of performing pelvic floor exercises is underestimated. To perform specific exercises in this area, you can use another of the machines, the Pilates chair.

These are the main benefits of Pilates with machines that our body will notice. Without a doubt we will notice all these benefits if we carry out this discipline.

Disadvantages of the Pilates Machine

The disadvantages of this machine are very few. There is no optimal state of health to practice Pilates, nor a recommended age and your physical condition at the time you start practicing the method is not relevant using pilates accessories or machines, the common sense and good practice of the Pilates instructors who teach the method in each centers are sufficient to adapt the method to each state and take advantage of its benefits.

Disadvantages of the Pilates Machine

There are no clear contraindications that alert us that practicing Pilates is bad or that we are going to suffer this or another contraindication, unless you suffer from a disability or a serious psychic problem that renders you incapable of practicing Pilates.

The machines can be adapted with its thousands of exercises to practically any state, if you are pregnant there are exercises contraindicated for your state, if you suffer a cervical injury the class will be adapted so as not to load that area of ​​the body.

Pilates is for everyone, but it is it is true that there are cases in which it is better not to do it or you have to take special precautions.

Before doing Pilates on machine consult your doctor if,

  • You suffer a chronic musculoskeletal injury
  • Chronic degenerative or respiratory disease
  • With osteoporosis or scoliosis

The Pilates method should be adapted and take special caution if,

  • In different cases of pregnancy or after childbirth
  • If you suffer from contractures or hernias
  • It is not convenient to practice Pilates in the following cases;

The doctor has recommended rest for any illness or disease

  • You suffer from morbid obesity
  • You have heart disease
  • Wounds have not healed after surgery, fall, or injury
  • You suffer from acute inflammation
  • You have a risky pregnancy
  • The doctor has not recommended practicing Pilates for any reason

Pilates is one of the most complete and safest exercises that exist, but we must preserve its quality to ensure that it is practiced with the highest possible quality and attention, for this reason, the good training of instructors and doing it in small classes are the greatest guarantee to practice the pilates machine as safely as possible and adapt each student to the classes according to their abilities.

Where to Buy the Pilates Machines

Are you tired of searching all the stores and not finding the Pilates machines for home that best suit your needs? Don’t worry, now I’m going to discuss about Pilates machines for home from the best brands named Balanced Body, AeroPilates, Stamina, STOTT PILATES, Pilates Power Gym and so on.

At first, let’s talk about the reformer. As of April 2020 the most popular brand for pilates reformer equipment is balanced body. It has 24 best-selling pilates reformer equipment, with Balanced Body Studio Reformer being the top two. The second most popular brand is AeroPilates. And the third one is Stamina products.

From the balanced body, Balanced Body Studio Reformer and balanced body Allegro 2 Reformer are the best reformer.

From AeroPilates, AeroPilates Reformer 651 and AeroPilates Pro Reformer with Free-Form Cardio Rebounder are best.

And from Stamina, AeroPilates Pro Reformer with Free-Form Cardio Rebounder, Stamina AeroPilates Performer 286 without Rebounder are best-selling Pilates Reformer.

This month, out of 92 best-selling Pilates Reformer kits, the top 3 most popular are

  1. Balanced Body Studio Reformer,
  2. AeroPilates Reformer 651,
  3. Pilates Power Gym ‘Pro’ 3-Elevation Mini Reformer Exercise System with 3 Pilates Workout DVDs and The Power Flex Cardio Rebounder.

For more Information you can visit:

  • 11 Best Pilates Reformer with Tower
  • 28 Best Professional Pilates Reformer

I recommend you to read the details about each equipment, as there may be differences between the same types of machine, being of a different brand. You will know that a machine gives good results if the product has good evaluations. It is also recommended to carefully read the opinions of other buyers when choosing which Pilates machines.

Beside the pilates machines, you can also buy other accessories of pilates like Mats, Elastic Bands, Rubber Roller, Balls, Pilates Hoops or Rings from the best brands named AeroPilates, Stamina, STOTT PILATES, Pilates Power Gym that allow more variations of the exercises. These will serve you without spending too much.

How Many Times Should You Practice Pilates with Machine in a Week?

Practicing pilates machine produces improvements in the composition of your body.

Regular training, dedicating one hour session twice a week for 16 weeks, you lose fat in the triceps, waist and thighs, and instead you will gain muscle mass.

“In 10 sessions you’ll feel the difference, in 20 sessions you’ll see the difference, and in 30 sessions you’ll have a whole new body”.[1] – Joseph Pilates

Conclusion

Pilates is an exercise that is based on the medical science that is said to feel good in 10 times, change appearance in 20 times, and change body in 30 times.

By training the inner muscles, using Pilates machines and the other accessories, you can improve the distortion of the body and lead to a correct posture that is not overwhelming. It is practiced mainly for people who want to have supple and beautiful muscles, those who want to efficiently prepare their body, and those who want to completely recover from injury.

The Pilates machine is large and robust, with a slide cart equipped with springs, bars and straps. In it you lie down, kneel or sit to strengthen and balance your body. By using the latest Pilates machines, you can experience the real Pilates.


References

  1. http://www.goodbodypilates.com/blog/2016/4/22/in-10-sessions-youll-feel-a-difference


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