The origins of the Pilates apparatus can be traced back to England during WWI when Joseph Pilates was rehabilitating wounded soldiers. He began experimenting with springs attached to hospital beds and the first piece of Pilates apparatus – today known as the Cadillac – was born. Patients were able to perform resistance exercises while still bed-ridden and Pilates discovered that this speeded their recovery.
Later on Joe worked as a circus artist where he got his initial idea for the Wunda Chair, which he later went on to develop into a true home Reformer. He was apparently very resourceful in finding his building material; it is said that he constructed his first Barrel from half a beer keg, with the steel hoops of the keg becoming the original Magic Circle.
After moving to the U.S., Joe established a little workshop underneath his original New York studio on 8th Avenue at 56th Street. Here he enthusiastically worked on creating additional Pilates apparatus. Throughout his lifetime, he and his brother Fred continued to develop and create new pieces of exercise apparatus, as well as fine-tune their inventions.
The power of utilizing the Pilates apparatus lies in its ability to provide mechanical advantage. Imagine, if you will, putting a screw into a wall using just your fingers. Now imagine putting that same screw into a wall using a screwdriver. This is mechanical advantage. The assistance or resistance that the Pilates apparatus provides allows us to work the body in a range of motion that we otherwise could not effectively or safely maintain. A Pilates workout utilizing all the apparatus is the path that leads to the greatest results.
The primary pieces of Pilates apparatus are:
All private sessions include postural and a needs/goals assessment.
The postural assessment is a tool for evaluating structural posture allowing the trainer to plan and execute a program that best suits the client’s needs, goals and lifestyle.
The 1:1 teaching ratio allows for efficient progression of the Pilates repertoire when the client demonstrates the strength and control for more demanding movements. During a private session the trainer works on observing movement patterns, changing what is not efficient and introducing more efficient ways of moving. This helps to maintain or improve one’s overall functionality. With time and practice the student may develop healthier posture, more effective movement patterns, improved focus and a sense of refreshment or relaxation.
Pilates lore has it that eponymous Joe created the prototype Cadillac to enable bed ridden patients to exercise. His design was simple - a hospital bed with mattress springs attached to the wall. The design has definitely evolved over the years and and so have the exercises and stretches one can do on the Cadillac. The Cadillac was named by Joseph Pilates at the time when its namesake automobile was the prestige car in America. We still hope this Pilates exercise machine will carry on that same luster in the world of rehabilitative exercise. The Cadillac traditionally was used for individually selected rehabilitation type exercises. It is still used that way today, as well as facilitating more movement and flow into the exercises. Because of its design with railings high above it and on the ends it resembles a bed. This is originally where Joseph Pilates rehabilitated WWI interns, on their beds with springs. Some of the exercises performed today on the equipment make you appear like a trapeze artist. Many students are thrilled by being able to perform exercises they never thought possible.
You can isolate almost every muscle group on the machine - it is an excellent tool for breaking down motion into small pieces to restore correct motion patterns. Using the leg springs is one of the best ways to get runners to fully use their hamstrings. This little video is a leg springs exercise.
The Cadillac was named by Joseph Pilates at the time when its namesake automobile was the prestige car in America. We still hope this Pilates exercise machine will carry on that same luster in the world of rehabilitative exercise.
The Cadillac traditionally was used for individually selected rehabilitation type exercises. It is still used that way today, as well as facilitating more movement and flow into the exercises.
Because of its design with railings high above it and on the ends it resembles a bed. This is originally where Joseph Pilates rehabilitated WWI interns, on their beds with springs.
Some of the exercises performed today on the equipment make you appear like a trapeze artist. Many students are thrilled by being able to perform exercises they never thought possible.
The Wunda Chair was developed in the 1940s as the original portable home gym. In addition to performing as exercise equipment, the original chair doubled as a piece of furniture. The chair was developed to assure correct symmetry while developing and toning the body at the same time. The exercises performed on the Wunda chair are considered to be very challenging, as the Wunda Chair requires balance and stabilization of the body as well as huge recruitment of the neuromuscular system.While many Pilates exercises are performed seated on top and pressing down on the step/pedal with your feet, others entail lying on the floor, standing straight up, lunging forward or doing push-up like moves with the arms.
The Wunda Chair offers greater balance and control of the body. It offers a whole range of activities including stretching the spine and hamstrings, and strengthening the Powerhouse, legs, feet, calves, Achilles tendon, gluteal muscles, and arms.
Like the name says, this piece of Pilates equipment consists of ladder-like rungs and a rounded barrel-like surface on which a multitude of stretching, strengthening and flexibility exercises can be performed. The barrel is separated from the ladder by a sliding base that can adjust to accommodate different torso sizes and leg lengths in a range of Pilates exercises. The ladder rungs - four to six in total - are also adjustable to facilitate varying levels of fitness.
The Pilates Ladder Barrel helps isolate deep postural muscles and challenges the body on all planes of movement. For example, one exercise has you sitting on the barrel facing the ladder with your feet secured in the rungs, then you arch back over the barrel with your vertebrae following its contour and activate the core abdominals to return to the starting position in a controlled manner. Mental focus is key to executing this safely and effectively. Other exercises have you facing the other way, with your belly on the barrel, giving you a supported spinal stretch that helps to release tension.
The Pilates Ladder Barrel is ideal for stretching, strengthening and flexibility exercises suitable for a variety of ability levels and body types. The main exercises focus on stretching and strengthening the abdominals and back, whilst also including spinal extension and leg stretches. It challenges the body through various ranges of movement and isolates the deep postural muscles.