If you have been to a Pilates studio you will be familiar with many bits of Pilates studio equipment. Here we cover the arc and step, barre wall unit, boxes, ladder barrel, and Pilates chair.
The Pilates barrels comes in three distinct designs, the ladder barrel, the step barrel, which you will sometimes see referred to as the spine corrector and the barrel arc which sits directly on the floor. All three have a curved barrel like shape.
The ladder barrel is a unique piece of equipment that allows for a number of flexibility and extension exercises. It combines ladder rungs with a barrel surface. The barrel connects to the ladder by a sliding base so that it can fit any body size and leg length.
The ladder barrel is good for stretching, flexibility, stability and strength. For example a common exercise is to stand on the rungs of the ladder, then lean back with your spine resting across the curbed barrel. This provides a great back stretch and full extension of the spine.
Pre-set locations on the sliding base can be great to help you repeat exercises easily. Look for barrels you can adjust to suit your body and also easy grip handles on the barrel itself. Check out the padding and also the composition of the frame. Durable long lasting materials are always best.
Despite its small size this is one piece of Pilates equipment that can really pack a punch. It used to be called the spine corrector. It has a padded upholstered wooden arc with a ledge or step surface attached to it.You will also find handholds attached to the side. These handholds help keep the body stable. You may also see this piece of kit referred to as a step barrel.
The purpose of the curved surface is that you have to work with an incline or a decline which creates a different challenge to exercising on a Pilates mat. This allows you to target your hips, shoulders and spine in a different way.
You can use the arc either as a stand -alone piece of kit or in can be used together with other Pilates equipment like the Cadillac and reformer. In fact with the reformer it can help provide more variation and can provide more back support and stability.
There are a number of different arc designs on the market. The first thing to be aware of is that the curves are more acute in some arcs than others. Taller users will benefit from an arc that has a more elongated curve. Some arcs also have shallower steps, here your height will be crucial. Also check out the upholstery which can also vary.
If you want the arc to fit onto existing Pilates equipment then make sure they are compatible. For example some arcs have been especially designed to fit over a reformers shoulder rests. Also check what storage space you have to ensure it will fit into your home. Some arcs can also be flipped over and used curved side down. Construction can also vary between manufacturers, ideally look for a sturdy wood construction.
The sitting box is exactly what the title suggests, a box that is padded and upholstered ,which can add a great deal of comfort to many Pilates seated exercises.
You can use the sitting box with your reformer to add more exercises. These include more prone exercises, abdominal exercises and it’s really helpful for side stretching.
If you want to use the box primarily with your reformer do make sure it is compatible. Look for a quality strong frame. The cover should be an abrasion resistant vinyl which can easily be wiped down and kept clean. And you want hand straps so that you can move it around and store it easily at home. Some also come with a foot strap. They do come in different sizes so do check all dimensions if you are extra tall.
The Pilates chair is also called the Wunda Chair and was designed by Joseph Pilates, so it has been around for a while. It is essentially a box with one side that can be pressed down against the resistance of springs. Some lighter more streamlined versions of the chair are now on the market. All these chairs are great for home use.
There are a huge number of exercises you can perform on a Pilates chair. For such a small piece of equipment it is incredibly versatile. It is excellent for core muscles and also legs and arms. You can use it laying down, sitting, standing and from positions to the side of the chair.
Check out the springs and resistance systems. You also want to ensure that spring changes can happen simply and fast. Check out the handles for a secure hold and that the step is non slip.
This wall unit combines the functions of the standard spring wall with a foot rail for use as a barre bar. It is essentially a steel frame with a barre bar, straps and handles.
This is a great addition to your home Pilate equipment particurly if space is tight. The barre bars take ballet techniques and combines it with Pilates principles. In time this will improve your posture, build muscle endurance, and add variety to your Pilates workout. Essentially it is a hybrid of ballet and Pilates. Using this equipment will work every stabilizer muscle in your body. Your core, balance and flexibility will all be improved.
Most of these units can only be attached to solid walls, so do not buy this if you only have a stud wall. Also be aware that some models do not supply the fixings to put the unit on the wall as these are wall specific. Look for a product that allows you to adjust the height.