PILATES EQUIPMENT MAKERS ARE CONS TANTLY INNOVATING, looking for new ways to challenge our bodies with cutting-edge accessories and equipment. The latest offerings from the industry’s leading manufacturers will keep you and your clients moving and growing in new directions.
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The Balanced Body Sitting Box Lite is a cost-effective way to add versatility to your Reformer, allowing you to add prone work, new abdominal-strength-building exercises and side stretching to your repertoire. It weighs just 4.5 pounds and is made of high-density, durable foam ($149; pilates.com).
Light enough to move with ease, this Box is especially great for group Reformer classes. By placing the cut-outs over the shoulder rests, the Sitting Box Lite will be perfectly positioned on the carriage.
B. GETTING A HANDLE ON COMFORT BASI
Systems Neoprene Handles are padded and covered with fleece for a soft touch. No metal attachments translates to quieter sessions ($39; basisystems.com). The fleece makes these handles comfortable to use. Because they have no metal attachments, they’re machine washable! This is a boon to studio owners, making it easier to maintain a clean studio environment.
C. STRETCHING YOUR PRACTICE
Originally designed for taller clients (the frame is 18 inches longer than the standard Allegro), new innovations in the Balanced Body Allegro Stretch Reformer make it a good fit for average-height users, too. It comes with an oversized standing platform that features an improved standing surface for larger feet. The SoftTouch® ropes and loops mean no more noisy metal clips, and the Twist Lock™ system allows for quick adjustments and the removal of the shoulder rests (from $2,895; pilates.com). The Allegro Stretch Reformer ensures a comfortable session for all clients. The extra length in the carriage allows taller and larger clients to do standing stretches and jumping.
D. RAISING THE BAR
The ActivMotion Bar is partially filled with weighted ball bearings that glide smoothly. When clients hold the bar parallel during a movement on the Reformer or the mat, for example, they are instantly provided with feedback regarding postural equilibrium and stability; if the ball bearings shift, they know that they are out of alignment and need to make an adjustment. During more intense bending and twisting exercises, the ball bearings shift from side to side, instantly engaging core muscles up to 173 percent more than standard props like weighted balls and bars (per a study conducted at the University of Michigan). Available in the new 3-pound size, in addition to the 4.5- and 6-pound bars (from $99.99; activmotionbar.com). The ActivMotion Bar allows clients in one- on-one and group-training formats to develop more body awareness and core strength.
E. SMOOTH OPERATOR The BASI
Systems Wunda Chair has an innovative pedal design that extends mobility, offers smooth transitions and gives practitioners the ability to make finely tuned adjustments to the spring tension and handle height. It comes with prepared ports to seamlessly accommodate the revolutionary F2 System upgrade, a spring system that allows for maximum versatility in spring angle and resistance settings. The Chair also features a rounded ergonomic split pedal, orthopedic cushioning and removable handles The addition of the F2 enables teachers to offer B. innovative and challenging workouts.
F. FULL-BODY INTEGRATION
The Merrithew™ Halo® Trainer Plus with Stability Ball™ and Pump offers dynamic and challenging ways to engage muscles while incorporating strength work, flexibility training, total-body conditioning or physical and occupational therapy. Great for group classes, use the Halo Trainer Plus on its own or with the Stability Ball for core-integrated bodyweight training that challenges strength, proprioception and stabilization ($155; merrithew.com). The versatile Halo is a go-to for all client levels and abilities. It’s a great way to mix things up in the studio.
G. FOOT FITNESS
The High Heel Rescue LOOP® is a portable gym for your feet. It minimizes pain, reinvigorates the feet, tones the legs and improves posture. The revolution is in the larger strap that wraps around the foot and helps strengthen the ankle, allowing the foot to load properly while standing and walking ($69.99; highheelrescue.com). Exercising the feet is often overlooked, but it’s key for both foot and whole-body health. The High Heel Rescue LOOP comes with free e-books that contain an assessment and a system of exercises. Photos and descriptions will support both the Pilates instructor and the neophyte client to learn and execute the movements.
H. CURVES AHEAD
Featuring a gentle curve that helps decompress and lengthen the spine, the Merrithew™ Arc Barrel is a welcome addition to matwork or Cadillac exercises to increase or decrease the challenge, or to assist rehab clients. Dense EVA foam cushioning provides optimal comfort and proprioceptive feedback ($250; merrithew.com). Portable and accommodating of all body types, the versatile Arc Barrel allows you to modify exercises for all levels of clients.
If you sit too often and for too long with your legs crossed, the PhysicalMind SmartSeat™ will help you re-pattern your muscles so they can adjust to the uncrossed position. SmartSeat was inspired by PhysicalMind’s clinical advisor Marika Molnar PT, LAc, who recognized that this common posture has negative consequences for our musculoskeletal system. (In fact, sitting cross-legged may be a contributor to the ever-growing incidence of hip replacements, according to Molnar.) The seven-inch-wide SmartSeat accommodates all sit bone sizes and can also be used alone to give you an extra lift at your desk ($38; By squeezing your inner thighs against the “pummel” of the SmartSeat, you can activate your core and find your pelvic floor.
J. PUT A NEW SPIN ON YOUR PRACTICE
The new generation of durable Precision Rotator Discs from Balanced Body are great for improving balance, alignment, core strength and joint stability.
Choose between the traditional resistance-free model, and those with light or heavy spring resistance. (Light resistance is recommended for arm and shoulder work, and heavy for lower-body work.) They’re also available to attach to any Balanced Body Reformer jumpboard and for use on the CoreAlign®. Available in two sizes, nine and 12 inches (from $29; pilates.com). The spring-tension option on these rotator discs is a game-changer. The ability to play with rotational patterns of the upper and lower body and spine using resistance helps bring awareness to movement patterns and challenge balance, control and coordination.
K. POSTURE PERFECTER
Lean™ from PhysicalMind Institute is a neoprene holster for your MINIS™ (multi-purpose cushions) that attaches to your desk chair. It’s designed to relieve lumbar and thoracic tightness even during long days sitting at the office ($22 without MINIS, $40 with MINIS; physicalmind.com). Insert the MINIS into the Lean and attach to a chair. The MINIS slide along the band and can be positioned any way you need to provide relief to your back. Slip the MINIS out of the Lean holster to stretch and strengthen your feet, too!
L. A CUTTING-EDGE APPARATUS
The Fletcher Pilates® Guillotine Tower is becoming more and more popular, especially now that it’s been redesigned by Balanced Body as a free-standing apparatus. The Guillotine is the ideal tool for improving pelvic stabilization, hip and leg articulation, core strength, spinal alignment and upper-body organization ($3,595 without base, $4,250 with base; pilates.com). The Guillotine Tower offers a three-dimensional platform to challenge your Pilates practice and incorporate whole-body movements that are less common on other pieces of apparatus.
M. POWER CIRCLE
Made of heavy-duty spring steel and built to withstand continuous, high-intensity studio use, the Merrithew™ Fitness Circle Pro® 14 inch helps you maintain proper alignment and increase proprioceptive. It adds resistance to upper- and lower-body exercises, and is great for hard-to- target problem areas such as inner and outer thighs, upper arms and chest ($65; merrithew.com). This super-versatile tool can be incorporated into both mat and equipment-based workouts. It can add challenge and resistance to the core, and be used to stimulate more local muscle groups as well.
N. WRIST RELIEF
Don’t let wrist pain and discomfort deter you from your workout goals: Wrist Assured Gloves (WAGs) have an ergonomically designed gel pad that supports the wrist while limiting extension. Two styles have a wedge-shaped gel pad that takes away 15 degrees of extension; two other styles have a slimmer gel pad that eliminates seven degrees. Both pads make movements where you’re bearing weight on your hands (i.e., pushups, planks, triceps dips, etc.) more comfortable (from $29.99; wristassuredgloves.com). Clients with thumb issues related to golf, gardening, tennis and more can find relief with WAGs. Instead of being distracted by the pain in the hands and wrists, they can focus on the activity at hand!
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