If you have ever seen Pilates equipment you’ve probably thought it looks a little strange, like medieval torture machines perhaps. But, ask anyone who has worked with this equipment and they’ll tell you how great these contraptions really are!
Even the names are a bit intriguing… The Reformer, Cadillac, Wunda Chair, Tower, Ped-O-Pull, Magic Circle, Foot Corrector, just to name a few.
The biggest thing that makes Pilates equipment different is – springs. Most of the apparatus are spring loaded and each piece of equipment uses the springs differently to achieve a variety of results.
What can the springs do?
- Provide resistance to gain muscle strength and control.
- Offer support so that more challenging movements can be achieved and ultimately learned by the body (ie. lifting the hips off the mat and overhead).
- Create a strong connection of the arms and legs into the core of the body in order to improve body mechanics and avoid injury.
How do the springs do this?
Unlike weights which offer resistance by loading the joints and muscles, Pilates springs provide a two way stretch. Acting as external muscle, the springs push against the body as the body equally pushes into the springs.
The result of this two-way stretch is a unique combination of elongation in the muscles to open the springs with engagement of the muscles to absorb the resistance of the springs. It is an effect that runs deep to even the smallest support muscles (not just the big surface muscles) creating a feeling of connection and power throughout the whole body.
All of us have muscles that do more than their fair share, as well as muscles that are weaker and harder to access. As hard as we try to get the stronger muscles to relax and the weaker muscles to fire up, sometimes it’s just not that easy.
The springs can actually do the work of those stronger muscles allowing them to work less giving the weaker muscles a chance to get involved. The springs then challenge those weaker muscles with resistance giving the muscles a chance to gain strength.
The result – BALANCE!
Pilates equipment, through its unique design, encourages not just strength, but healthy alignment, full range of motion, flexibility and ultimately the chance to do movements that would not be possible without the lift and support of the springs.
For pictures and descriptions of Balanced Body’s CenterLine™ equipment, check out our Pilates Apparatus page.