The most popular piece of Pilates equipment is a machine called The Reformer. The Reformer was invented and designed by Joseph Pilates, the creator of Pilates itself. This simple machine is traditionally made up of a wooden frame, a series of springs, foot bar, gear system, head rest, shoulder blocks and a padded moveable seat. Exercises are done by sitting, kneeling, standing or lying down on the “seat” which is also called the “carriage.” The Reformer also has a set of ropes or leather straps with handles on the ends. These straps are connected at the wooden frame to a pulley system. The hands or feet pull these straps depending on the exercise that is being done. The springs are adjusted to increase or decrease the tension or resistance you feel as you do the exercises. Pilates teacher training Sydney should also encourage their students to continue doing what they do during day 1.
Another one of Joseph Pilates’ original inventions was the Cadillac, which is also sometimes called a Trapeze Table. This machine is found in many Pilates studios that teach classical Pilates and can look somewhat intimidating. The Cadillac can either be its own separate table or can sometimes be a set of apparatus attached to the foundation of a Reformer Machine. The reason the Cadillac is called the Trapeze Table is that it better describes how the apparatus works.
The Cadillac is made up of vertical posts that extend up about 3 or 4 feet from each corner of the table and then poles that connect the posts. These poles run parallel to each of the sides of the table. It is easy to see that Joseph Pilates designed this to be used for patients stuck in bed. Hanging from the bars you will often see one or more of the following: cuffs for the ankles, hanging loops for the legs or arms, springs and a trapeze bar. All of these items are used in conjunction with the table to complete exercises that stretch the spine and use the body’s own resistance to increase strength.
Other devices used in Classical Pilates include the Ladder Barrel and the Wunda Chair. The ladder barrel is a wooden structure made up of two parts; one side resembles a barrel with a curved top and the other side is a short ladder of the same height with three or four rungs. The feet are placed on the rungs while the back bends over the barrel. It can also be used for hamstring stretches or the body can stretch stomach down over the barrel with the hands using the rungs instead of the feet. The Wunda Chair is a simple wooden box with a padded seat, and hand or foot rest and straps with handles. There are a number of different exercises which can be done standing or sitting on the padded seat. Because of its convenient size many Pilates studios have several of them and use them in group classes.
While the machines mentioned above might be used in a contemporary Pilates class, they are generally reserved for classical Pilates exercise regimens that follow Joseph Pilates’ method to a T. The Pilates classes that practice a more contemporary style of Pilates use various other accessories. These accessories might include foam rollers, inflated exercise balls and resistance bands. The large inflated exercise balls are often incorporated with traditional Pilates exercises and require you to sit on the ball instead of the mat. This increases your stability and can boost muscle engagement. The foam rollers are used in a similar fashion and can also help massage the muscles to help fluidity of movement. Resistance bands are simply long stretchy bands that can be used by the hands or legs to increase resistance in traditional Pilates exercises.
Before using any of these machines or accessories it is important to visit a certified Pilates instructor to be sure you are using them right. Not only to be sure you’re getting the best work out, but also to prevent injury.
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