Pilates Machine Buying Guide

Pilates classes are great, but a busy schedule can mean missed workouts. This Pilates machine buying guide outlines the various pieces of equipment you can use every day at home.

Pilates Machines 101

Whether you're just starting to exercise or you're looking to expand your routine, Pilates workouts will challenge you and help you to reach your fitness goals. Pilates focuses on core stability by targeting the abdominals, but it also works out the arms, hips and thighs. Mat work is a key part of any Pilates workout, but Pilates machines can help you further target specific muscles groups with great precision. Reformers also use tension springs and pulley systems to create resistance exercises that further enhance the value of your workouts. Choosing the right Pilates machines requires a bit research, but you'll soon be happily working out in the privacy of your home and reaping the benefits of your new Pilates routine.

Types of Pilates Equipment


Pilates Reformer

The Pilates Reformer offers challenging, but low impact, workouts based on controlled flowing movements. Invented by Pilates founder Joseph Pilates, it uses springs, pulleys, leverage and body weight to create resistance targeting specific muscle groups. You can mix up your routines by variously sitting, kneeling and lying down as you exercise. The machine's resistance level can be adjusted for a lighter or more intense workout.

Pilates Discs

A Pilates rotator disk will help you strengthen your core while improving your balance and range of motion. You can stand with both feet on one disk or with each foot on a separate disk. You can also use them in a sitting position on a Pilates reformer or trapeze table. Though simple in design, Pilates discs are an excellent tool for developing better abdominal control. In fact, they're even used for training competitive athletes such as downhill skiers. 

Pilates Trapeze Table

A Pilates trapeze table makes it easy perform a wide range of exercises, from mat routines to gymnastics to aerobics. This versatile device is sometimes referred to as the Cadillac because of its many functions and features. It's essentially a raised padded surface enclosed by a metal frame and outfitted with an array of springs, straps, grips and, of course, a trapeze. By combining numerous exercise options in one piece of equipment, the Pilates trapeze table saves you time, space and money, too.

Pilates Tower

You can add some of the functions of a Pilates trapeze table to a Pilates reformer by installing a Pilates tower at the head of the reformer. The tower extends several feet vertically and includes a trapeze bar, suspended loops and tension springs. Some towers attach to a wall for extra support. The Pilates tower is an economical way to make your multi-purpose reformer even more versatile and useful.

Pilates Chair

The Pilates chair packs some 30 workouts into a relatively small piece of equipment. The exercises focus on core and leg strength, shoulder stability, mobility and practical movements such as standing, climbing, pushing and lifting. A pedal mechanism attached to a spring adds resistance to the mix. You can sit, stand or lie on the chair, or lie on the floor and push the foot bar with your hands or feet.

Pilates Barrel

Pilates barrel exercises are great for working your core muscles and improving posture. There are three types of Pilates barrels: the ladder barrel, step barrel and arc barrel. Each has a padded, rounded surface that helps isolate specific muscles and allows for many variations on basic stretching, strengthening and flexibility exercises. The Pilates ladder barrel is the largest and most versatile option, while the Pilates arc barrel is the smallest and easiest to store.

Pilates Poles

Pilates pole workouts are another great way to strengthen your core and help improve your overall body fitness. Pole exercise routines typically include a combination of aerobic dance, strength training and stretching. A workout can be as basic as simple spins around a pole while holding on with both hands, or as challenging as spinning upside down around the pole while hanging on with one leg. It's easier than you may think to install a Pilates pole in your home. Just be sure your ceilings are high enough to accommodate the kind of pole exercises you plan to do.

Pilates Workout Tips:

• For good form and to receive the optimal benefits from Pilates, it’s recommended you follow the six core principles of Pilates: control, breath, concentration, flow, centering and precision
• Control: have control of your body and avoid any sudden or jerky movements
• Breath: proper breathing oxygenates the blood, increases circulation and improves flexibility
• Concentration: be mindfully present during the whole workout
• Flow: movements should be smooth and graceful
• Centering: each movement should stem from the core, which is the centre of the body
• Precision: concentrate on the purpose of each exercise

Pilates Machine Benefits

Pilates machines are an excellent addition to a home gym. They offer a wide range of safe, low-impact workouts. The emphasis is on the core abdominal muscles, but there are Pilates exercises targeting all parts of the body. No matter what your ability level or fitness goals may be, you can find a Pilates machine to suit your needs.

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This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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