When you first enter a Pilates studio, you might feel intimidated by the funny looking equipment on display. But fret not, you’ll soon realise these are not torture items but rather your soon to be BFFs! In this article, I’ll walk you through all the benefits of an equipment Pilates class and what to expect when you try one.
What is an equipment Pilates class?
5 benefits of an equipment Pilates class
Equipment Pilates classes are highly tailored classes where you’ll do a series of exercises on, you guessed it, Pilates equipment. Some of this equipment, such as the Reformer, you may have heard of before. But there are others such as The Wall Unit, the Wunda Chair, or the Cadillac.
5 benefits of Equipment Pilates
1. It is easier than a mat class!
Yup, you read that right! I mean “easier” because Pilates equipment acts as a support mechanism as you strengthen and align your body in the various exercises. When you’re in a Pilates Mat Class, it’s just you and your body strength!
2. A precise workout
Precision is one of Pilates’ core elements and is required both of you and the instructor. In an equipment Pilates class, you will work your muscles with great precision. You’ll work lying down, sitting up, standing and kneeling. There is no “down time”! Pilates equipment is completely adaptable and can be adjusted according to your weight, height and any pathologies or weak spots. When you practice classical Pilates on equipment, the method guarantees two things: safety and challenge.
3. More exercise options
In an equipment Pilates class, you’ll do exercises created specifically for this class format. And since there are many different types of equipment, each one has its repertoire of exercises! Reformer, Wall Unit, Wunda Chair or even Cadillac: the exercise possibilities are virtually endless. Either way, you’ll work your entire body, from head to toe.
4. Say hello to perfect form
As I mentioned in point 2, equipment Pilates is a precise workout. This also includes form. Your instructor is there to take care of you, and this includes adjusting the equipment so that you can:
- Strengthen your body in a safe and precise way
- Help you correct your alignment, posture and find length in your body
- Repair, and even help treat, an old injury or a “weak spot”
5. It’s more challenging!
Thanks to your new BFFs (Pilates equipment), your body will work harder and better. You’ll go further in the movements thanks to the spring system’s resistance found in most Pilates equipment. To be specific, the movement technique consists of stretching the spring as much as possible and then resisting it as you move back to the starting position. This is what helps to “lengthen” the body.
What can I expect from a Pilates equipment class?
There is no standard format for a Pilates class. All sessions are built to your specific needs. That being said, you can generally expect the following in my classes:
- For starters, forget your trainers
A comfortable outfit and a pair of socks is all that you need.
- Don’t expect background music
It will just be me guiding you with my voice and “spotting” you (aka I’ll use my hands to guide you in the right placement or stretch).
- How you’ll feel
A Reformer Pilates session usually lasts 55 minutes. The exercises follow on from each other, and at the end, I typically hear: “Wow, that was hard! You have to think about a lot of things! “or “I’ve been sweating”. Yes, Pilates is a real workout!!
Mat vs equipment Pilates class: what’s the difference?
Equipment Pilates or Mat Pilates, two very distinct worlds! When you practice on Pilates equipment such as the Reformer, you’ll do different exercises from those in a mat class. Also, an equipment Pilates class is generally slower-paced because of the handling of the machine.
In an equipment Pilates class, working with the machine’s spring mechanism’s resistance will leave you feeling elongated and stretched. You’re also practising alone or with one or two partners, so expect a more individualised class, with more corrections and indications.
Where to go for an equipment Pilates class
By now you should have a good idea of the benefits an equipment class such as a Reformer Pilates class has to offer. But you may be wondering where you can try one of these classes? If you are on the French Riviera, I teach Pilates classes in my classical Pilates studio in Beaulieu-sur-Mer. You can book your class here.
Yours in Pilates,