Pilates is a form of exercise and body conditioning developed by fitness enthusiast Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century as a method of injury recovery for dancers. Over time, it became clear that anyone could benefit from this form of exercise. Pilates can be done on a mat, as well as various types of equipment all designed by Joseph Pilates. Although, the equipment can look intimidating...some have commented they resemble old torture chambers. Don't worry, Pilates is safe, effective and can be done at any age or fitness level. It's also highly beneficial for rehab and recovery.
Mat Pilates is just that...a series of Pilates exercises performed on a mat on the floor. It is a strengthening and lengthening form of exercise that focuses on your core muscles and targets and tones your arms and legs.
The Reformer is the most popular type of Pilates apparatus. It uses a series of springs and pulleys to provide variable resistance in different positions. The Reformer allows your body to move in a greater range of motion and angles compared to Mat Pilates.
The Cadillac looks like a canopy bed, with a four-post metal frame and cushioned mat. It includes a push-through bar, roll-down bar, arm and leg springs. The Tower has been rising in popularity. It fuses most of the elements from the Cadillac and Mat and takes up less space.
The Pilates Chair is considered one of the most challenging pieces of Pilates equipment. The chair features a cushioned, backless "seat" with a spring-loaded pedal.
This group of Pilates equipment provides support for the spine against gravity. They are great tools for promoting breathing capacity, flexibility and better posture.