The Pilates studio contains a variety of equipment, and it allows a Pilates student to focus in either individual sessions, group classes, or both. The studio is designed to allow students to proceed and develop their skills at the level appropriate to their needs.
Classes are generally grouped by skill level, and the student will sometimes find a group class taking place at the same time as an individual lesson. Classes are generally small, and each student is given individual attention while learning to do the movements in a safe, prescribed manner.
Pilates Exercise and Machines
Joseph Pilates originally designed the machines in the Pilates studio. They are specially designed spring-resistant exercise apparatuses. The machines include the Reformer, the Cadillac, the ladder barrel, the arc barrel, the spine corrector, and the wunda (foot) chair. The machines in the studio are designed so that your muscles have to work against the resistance created by the piece of equipment you are using. Pilates is designed to be done slowly and smoothly, requiring the student to focus and concentrate on each movement. The entire body is engaged during the movement.
The most common piece of Pilates equipment is the Reformer. It is a moving carriage with color-coded springs. The springs provide the resistance. The resistance can be increased or decreased, depending on the number of springs used at a time. Different colored springs are used for different exercises. The reformer can provide the Pilates student with a complete body workout, engaging the core muscles and extremities.
The Cadillac was originally designed by Joseph Pilates for rehabilitation. It looks like a table with four poles growing out of it. Attached to the poles are a variety of bars, straps, a push, and pull levers. A multitude of exercises can be performed on the Cadillac to increase flexibility, back strength, and shoulder strength, and to allow the body to stretch. The Cadillac is especially useful for people who have difficulty getting up from the floor or are in rehabilitation for an injury. The Cadillac allows for even more movement possibilities than does the reformer.
The ladder barrel, arc barrel, and spine corrector are also commonly found in a Pilates studio. The ladder barrel and arc barrel are upholstered arches that help support the back and shoulders. The barrels allow the student to bend in different directions and to isolate the abdominal muscles. Core strength is emphasized in almost every Pilates exercise and learning to isolate the abdominal muscles is an integral part of Pilates exercise.The wunda chair is used to promote back health and to teach correct spine alignment while strengthening the muscles supporting the spine. Students with back problems seek out the wunda the chair for relief.
Learning to Use the Equipment in the Studio
Using the various pieces of equipment, the Pilates instructor will guide the student through a variety of exercises. Working one on one, the instructor can truly individualize the experience, using the equipment to best meet the students needs. In a Pilates studio class, the student is likely to experience a complete fitness workout and learn to have better posture and to move in a more effective way.