A strong body acts as a barrier to the external threats, providing a safe, enclosed space for our internal systems to operate in homeostasis. Joseph, like many others, believed that a strong body through exercise was vital to good health.
The beauty of Pilates is that you can compile a program for every occasion and any location as long as you follow the guidelines. Remember that consistency is the key.
The Universal Reformer:
Commonly known simply as the reformer, is undoubtedly the most recognizable and popular piece of equipment or apparatus in the Pilates stable. The scope of this piece of equipment is infinite, limited only by our own creativity and knowledge of the human body. The movements performed on the reformer range from the fundamental to extremely advanced; they are performed in every conceivable position and for every possible purpose. The reformer also provides the teacher with a good vantage point to observe and correct alignment and muscle action.
Reformer Pilates is similar yet very different to mat based Pilates. Reformer Pilates is generally more intense and more dynamic than mat based Pilates as it adds resistance to the Pilates exercises via the use of the springs which form part of the machine. Reformer Pilates is superior to mat based Pilates as the repertoire of exercises available is greatly increased providing far more variety. The exercises usually work muscles through a large range of motion which is ideal for building and toning muscles as well increasing stability through the joints.
The Ladder Barrel:
The barrels are as unique in their offerings as they are in appearance. They provide exceptional opportunities for both active and passive back extension at all ability levels. But, of course they are not limited to back extension. The high barrel, also known as the ladder barrel, stands several feet above the ground and is attached to a ladder of the same height. Spinal extension is crucial to developing back strength and good posture; unfortunately it is often neglected. The barrels are exceptional tools for strengthening the back extensors and for passively relaxing in a position of spinal extension, thereby stretching the trunk flexors. The human body was designed to move, our lifestyle today is sedentary. Therefore these types of exercises are vital for undoing the hours of sitting we do.
Cadillac: Trapeze Table:
Joseph Pilates helped rehabilitate many of his patients and in turn was inspired by them. The Cadillac, also called a trap table, was inspired by the hospital beds he used while interned in WWI. The Cadillac’s structure also permits hanging exercises, opening up tremendous possibilities for the upper and lower body… The fact that the Cadillac does not move, but instead provides a stable base of support, is an advantage for people who lack balance and stability, such as the elderly and injured. The Cadillac facilitates ranges of motion that surpass even those of the reformer, particularly in the leg spring work, which can be performed while supine, side lying, prone and standing and while facing in all direction. Enjoy this intriguing piece of the equipment, it will make you feel like a kid again, spending hours on your favourite jungle gym.
The Pilates chair – or “wunda chair,” as Joseph Pilates called it—is a powerful piece of exercise equipment. The genius of its design never ceased to amaze. This unassuming box with four springs offers endless possibilities. Even today there are few if any pieces of equipment that can rival the wunda chair’s capacity: hundreds of exercises for every part of the body and every fitness level. The chair is not easy to use and it often proves quite unforgiving. It readily highlights imbalances and weaknesses in a way that is unique and specific to the chair.
However, it also provides tremendous possibilities for dealing with hose very same imbalances and weaknesses. The wunda chair is extremely useful for pregnant women because it enable them to do the foot work in a sitting rather than supine position. Its small size belies its remarkable ability to build core stability, upper-body strength and lower-body power to improve performance in athletes, retrain the body after injury and increase overall physical conditioning. Although it’s been part of the Pilates system for many years, the chair is currently experiencing a new level of interest as a great tool for teaching clients either individually or in small groups. Of all the pieces of Pilates apparatus, the chair offers the most athletic challenges. There are numerous intermediate to very advanced exercises, in addition to essential exercises for beginners.
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