In a world of fitness and rehabilitation, where complicated and “space age” looking design is the norm, Pilates equipment looks simple and rather old fashioned. Perhaps the efficiency of the apparatuses is a direct result of the simplicity used when designing them. The less cumbersome the design, the more uses and types of individuals it can accommodate. Bear in mind that in many of these apparatuses hundreds of exercises are performed, with very little fuss, by many varied types of individuals with all kinds of conditions. They have to challenge and guide the individual at the same time, while allowing a full range of motion.
THE BIG THREE
To many, the heart of the studio. Basically a moving carriage with straps on one end and springs on the other. Here most people start their work and will continue all the way to a rather acrobatic level. Originally devised to help people with their mat exercises it became a star apparatus in its own right. It has an extensive list of exercises and possibilities. A perfectly complete workout can be done here, non stop, which is not only impressive but beautiful to look at. Ours are the famous Gratz reformers, again, totally based on the originals.
One can already see how it developed from the hospital bed. Called the Cadillac because it became a client's favourite piece of equipment and for him nothing was better than a Cadillac! This medieval looking contraption has a repertoire that is quite impressive: from very specific and targeted exercises to the big advanced movements. Here we normally work in the more personal needs of a client, focusing in their own needs or improving certain abilities. Having started its life as a hospital bed is only normal, that we use it for help in a vast array of medical and postural conditions. Its and incredibly versatile apparatus, so some impressive and very advanced workouts are done here too. We went back to the original design by Joseph and followed thoroughly, we had to adapt it to the taller Dutch population so the only difference is the length, everything else is “historical.”
The most 'abused' piece of equipment. The goal of Pilates. Every other piece of equipment was created after it and with the purpose to help people get back here. No help here from fancy gadgets. Just body in motion. The Mat is also very “liberating” and loosens and strengthens the body with the body own resistance. Offers a challenge to everybody in harmony with their abilities and conditions the body without interference.
We built longer mats, to accommodate more individuals and raised the back pole –like Josephs original. We also added Wall Units to the mats to act as Cadillac\Guillotine when more than one person is working. Our Wall Units have been redesigned to faithfully emulate the Cadillac and Guillotine settings. We have also added a Raised Bed to act as a mat for those clients that may find working at floor level uncomfortable or for clients needing more instructor assistance and guidance.
The Wunda Chair
A wolf in a sheepskin! It is deceivingly simple looking. It can be one of the most challenging pieces of equipment. In a sense, if one cannot do the exercises in the Wunda, one is not doing them properly. Excellent piece of equipment too "clean" ones workout and propel your abilities tenth fold. The very extensive list of exercises makes it a very complete apparatus; one can spend a whole session in the chair –and still not cover half of it. Our chairs are all exact replicas of the originals. They are not the ones available commercially. One of the most abandoned pieces of equipment in most studios, and probably one of his greatest inventions. To master the chair is to master oneself.
The Small Chair
Seldom seen in most studios, this smaller piece of equipment works wonders with the more fragile or petite clients. Excellent when used in recovery from shoulder/elbow/wrist injuries or with clients with scoliosis, lordosis or osteoporosis, allowing the clientes to work and improve before moving on to more challenging apparatuses. Our chair is an exact replica of one of Joseph's model. (Still in use, by the way). When used during a normal work out it gives the upper body a gentle challenge that refines the movements and adds a sutle, yet magic quality to one's motion.
The High- or Electric Chair
Great piece of equipment to help the client with the concepts behind the method. One of the first apparatuses to be used by everyone when they start. It helps with alignment, finding the centre and strengthening. Despite its name, is one of the most helpful and guiding aparatuses, later on, when the exercises are done on the wunda the helping handles, back and alignment strips won't be there!
THE GUILLOTINE OR TOWER
A piece of equipment that is not often seen. Even though the name may not suggest it, is one of the safest apparatuses. Men in particular love it, as they perform here their advanced strengthening exercises. It also allows taller people to perform safely many exercises for which the Cadillac may be a bit small, and advanced students perform here intense stretches. Many exercises are, of course, unique to the Guillotine. Ours is hand built, with precise measurements, just for our studio.
The Ladder/High Barrel
Strengthening and stretching at the same time is one of the specialities of this favourite. While working on alignment, the barrel excels in allowing individuals to reach their maximum range of motion without resistance or external pressure. It helps anchoring the lower body so the torso is free to reach its maximun range of motion.
Of course, like the rest of the equipment in the studio, we have original copies of a Barrel made by Joseph himself.
The Spine Corrector
The middle brother. Used for stretching, lengthening and strengthening the spine and legs. Some challenging exercises are also performed here to take balance an control further. Excellent, like the Small Barrel, for opening the chest and straightening the upper back. Equally good at giving you long slender legs.
The Small Barrel
The little brother. Used like the Spine Corrector for smaller clients or as a step towards it. Gentler, with a less pronounced arc, allows the more fragile or tender individual to align and stretch their backs and legs and to open the chest increasing the breath: delicious.
The Swedish Ladder or Stall Bars
Again, sadly, often omitted in most studios, these are a great help in stretching tighter individuals and strengthening everyone. Used also for the more gymnastic exercises.
The Magic Circle
Used as add-on to challenge any exercise further or in its own right to tone and strengthen target areas. Is most common use, early on, is to help the individual find their centre. Later it adds a new challenge to already known exercises, making them new again.
Yes, also in Pilates, though not too heavy. Full range of motion is used so as to not create excesive bulk: their main use is posture improvement and trunk and upper torso realignment and strengthening.
Created by Pilates to help and opera singer, the exercises here are to improve posture, increase breath control and alignment or to challenge balance and control in advanced clients.
Sand Bag, Foot Corrector, Toe Corrector, Push up devices, Bands, Airplane Boards, Stretch Poles, TV boxes… they are all here, performing very specific functions. These were created to solve various problems and/or to enhance the workouts.