Thursday, January 6, 2011

why apparatus work?

joe pilates created apparatuses like the cadillac, the reformer and wunda chair to help people find their core muscles and better understand how the body works. his intentions were for students to use parts of this equipment as extensions of their limbs (through the straps and springs). he found that some people really needed the closed chain to identify and engage their core.

for example, doing leg circles on the reformer will encourage the student to stabilize their hips with core muscles as they experience the light resistance from the straps. or, those who use their legs with roll ups might benefit from doing roll downs on the cadillac and front rowing on the reformer help isolate the deep muscles in the torso that articulate the spine in a rolling motion.

in my own teaching practice, i prefer using the gratz equipment (shown in this photo of a gratz reformer) for many reasons including their stability, industrial feel and the fact that they represent what is a classic method of pilates for me.

we work within what is called the box of the body - the natural lines that our shoulders and hips form. the work is initiated within this box and then is sent out towards the limbs to complete the movement. strength from the limbs alone doesn't encourage a balanced body, strength from the core to support movement in the limbs does.