Have you ever walked into a Pilates studio and felt like you were either in a torture chamber or in a scene from Fifty Shades of Gray? If so, you are not alone. With springs, chains, and leather straps, Pilates apparatus can be overwhelming and downright intimidating. But don’t fear–our Pilates Project Apparatus glossary is hear to address all of your questions.
Please Note- to get the full benefits of this method you should incorporate as many of these pieces into your exercise routine as possible.
The Universal Reformer
What is it? The Reformer is probably the most famous and versatile piece of Pilates apparatus. It consists of a mat on a bed frame called a carriage which is attached to springs. Your job, on the Reformer, is to resist those springs.
What can it do for you? The Reformer’s headrest, shoulder blocks, foot bar, and straps give tactile feedback and assist you to perform the exercises more correctly and efficiently. Each exercise flows into the next which will get your heart rate up.
Interesting fact — Joseph Pilates invented the reformer to help people perform the mat work more efficiently.
What is it? The Cadillac is a Pilates jungle gym of sorts consisting of an elevated mat on top of a long table. It has arm springs, leg springs, a roll back bar to challenge length and spinal articulation, and a push thru bar to challenge shoulder stability and assist stretching.
What can it do for you? Tone and strengthen your abs, inner thighs, triceps, gluteals and hamstrings , challenge your joint stability, and assist in flexibility. It’s versatility allows for either a gentle or a killer workout, depending on your mood or needs. Go ahead and do Pull Ups on the Cadilacs Trapeze one day and decompress your spine (by hanging upside down from a pair of sheepskin loops) another day.
Did you know? Mr. Pilates originally called this piece a Trapeze Table but when his clients saw it for the first time they compared it to a shiny new Cadillac. The name stuck.
What is it? Based on a piece of circus equipment, the Wunda Chair is one of the most challenging pieces of Pilates apparatus because your only support is a tiny square and a pedal. Exercises can be done sitting or standing either on top or around the chair.
What can it do for you? Challenge your stamina and balance.
Did you know? Wunda means Wonder in German, Mr. Pilates’ native language.
Warning– you will get your butt kicked on this thing.
The High Chair
What is it? Pretty much a wunda chair with a high back and handles for support and tactile feedback.
Why should you use it? You will strengthen and tone your legs as well as your triceps.
Did you know? The High Chair resembles an electric chair and is sometimes referred to as one.
What is it? The Tower is a Cadillac minus the trapeze and the hanging loops.
What can it do for you? It can save you money! You can get all the benefits of a Cadillac workout in a group class setting.
Fun Fact —Towers or wall units were only recently invented by Pilates manufacturers to accommodate small spaces and group classes in a Pilates studio.
Really? Yes the mat is a piece of apparatus. Includes a strap and a weighted bar and Moon boxes for feet placement.
Why should you use it? It will challenge your movement without the assistance of springs or straps. It will make you stronger.
Little known fact —The strap and pole are meant to be used because it helps for maximum spinal articulation. Using a strap on the roll up does not mean you are weak.
The Magic Circle
What is it? A small apparatus made from ring around a beer keg with a handle on each side. This apparatus helps us hug into our body’s center line.
Why can it do for you? It works your inner thighs and you can take it on vacation with you.
Did you know? It is said that Mr. Pilates first profession was that of a brewer. He also was a proud beer drinker.
What is it? A half moon shaped apparatus that comes in a variety of lengths.
What can it do for you? Opens up your hips and shoulders and assists with flexibility.
Fun Fact — It’s said that beer kegs may have inspired Joseph Pilates when creating the original barrel.