Because many other manufacturers are trying to exploit the popularity of “Pilates” with newer and sometimes less expensive machines, I decided to do a little research of my own and compare their authenticity and functionality with our own AeroPilates reformers. Before I share what I learned I want to emphasize that AeroPilates is the only brand that allows you to perform more effective cardio than running, while lying down, using our patented cardio rebounder. I believe that Joseph Pilates would have been proud to add this opportunity to his system as it supports his all important notion of strong stabilization and low impact throughout every movement.
I bought each of the competitive machines and noticed the following:
1. Most are not long enough to accommodate a person taller than 5 feet 6 inches.
2. Most are so narrow that even I, with my 110lb frame, had nowhere to place my arms and hands.
3. Most have limited ability to perform all the essential exercises that make the entire body functionally fit.
4. Most make a lot of noise.
5. Some try to tout the benefits of being “more more than just a pilates machine”, by raising their elevation to add body weight resistance, but in Joe Pilates mind that would be blasphemy. He believed solemnly that the body only heals its imbalances when you are truly horizontal and without additional body weight or gravity on joints and spine.
6. Some are so narrow that you feel claustrophobic and cramped.
7. One in particular, has straps that come from inside the shoulder pads and as such I was unable to perform the many essential arm and leg exercises with the correct range of motion.
8. Many machines become imbalanced when your weight is not uniformly distributed on the platform.
When looking for a machine that will truly allow you to perform “Pilates” exercises that will correct your imbalances, strengthen your major mobilizing muscles while stretching the opposing muscles as well as retraining your body to use your core stabilizing muscles and improve your posture; it must have the following features:
1. When lying on the platform you should be able to adjust the headrest to support your cervical curve and raise your head.
2. When gliding on the platform the machine should remain balanced and the foot end should not lift off the floor.
3. When performing the Legs in Straps exercises the machine straps should be at least 2 feet behind your body so that as you raise your legs as in ‘Leg Lowers’ the machine should assist in the stretch and your legs actually could move beyond the perpendicular position. Any machine with straps originating in the shoulder pads cannot anatomically accommodate that corrective flexibility movement.
4. When performing the Arms in Straps, the straps should come from at least 2 feet behind your body to allow your arms to move all the way out for a full range of movement, stretching while simultaneously strengthening the chest muscles as in Hug a Tree. Any machine with straps originating in the shoulder pads cannot anatomically accommodate that corrective movement.
5. The tracks need to be long enough to allow for a full extension of your arms or legs. One machine I worked on didn’t allow my arms to extend fully as I bumped into the end before completing the movement. This renders the exercise useless.
6. When doing the Warm-up Footwork, make sure that you can extend your legs all the way and be able to lower your heels through the bar. One machine has an accessory attached to the foot bar that needs to be removed to perform Heel Lowers and any One Leg exercises.
7. The track needs to be long enough to perform the very essential Knee Stretch Series, with the complete and full movement. On one machine I was unable to engage my deep pelvic floor muscles before bottoming out, rendering the exercise useless.
8. Elephant could be performed on most machines.
9. In Bicep Curls and Rowing series make sure that you can complete the full range of the movement or you will create an imbalance in your arms putting undue strain on the elbow. On one machine I could only curl 75% of the way making the exercise dangerous.
10. When performing the Sitting Arms in Straps series on one machine, I hit the end too soon and the foot end of the machine raised off the floor 4 inches making the exercise useless and maybe dangerous.
11. On most other machines the foot bar was too high making the Stomach Massage series impossible to reach my feet on the bar.
12. Most of the simple stretches could be performed on most machines.
Sadly people are being misled that they will benefit from these inadequate machines. I urge you to research them carefully to make sure that you get all that you hope for.
“Must Have’s for your Pilates machine!”
A Platform Track of 7 feet long, in order to:
1. Accommodate Height over 5’6”.
2. Enable a range of motion necessary to fully stretch & strengthen. Shorter tracks mean shorter movements offering less stretching.
The Track & Platform of your machine should NOT have an incline, OR decline, it should be flat, parallel with the floor in order to:
1. Properly correct posture and miss-alignments in your spine, knees, ankles, hips, neck & back.
2. Cut down on bulky muscle build up and promote efficient, long, lean and slender muscle growth.
3. Cut down on IMPACT! Any additional velocity coming into the foot bar provided by an incline ALWAYS increases the speed with which you hit the foot bar. When you are lying flat, there is not increased gravitational force, and your joints are more at ease through out your body.
The width of your Platform on the carriage should be at least 17 inches in order to: (our smallest trapezoidal platforms are 21” at the base)
1. Leave room by your sides so that you can place your hands and arms next to you on the platform when doing exercises that require you to lie on your back while using the foot straps.
2. Be comfortable, without fear that you will roll off of the platform onto the floor.
The straps of your machine should have enough length as to come from no less than 3 feet behind you in order to:
1. Perform Legs in Straps with the proper range of motion. You can’t make large leg circles if the straps are too short, can you?
2. Perform Arms in Straps properly. You can’t “Hug a Tree” if they are tethered too tightly behind you.
The weight limit of your machine should accommodate your weight! If not, your machine: (our smallest machines accommodate at least 300lbs)
1. Will NOT be comfortable or work correctly.
2. Will not allow you to perform exercises that require the platform to return through its full range.
The foot bar of your machine should:
1. Not be too high or to low as to interfere with performing the Chair position
2. Should be wide enough to make all exercises comfortable, to work muscle groups all around.
3. Be far enough away from the shoulder pads to allow for full extension of your legs
1. The warranty of your machine should be at LEAST 3 years! Exercise is an often performed activity, and your investment should be covered by an EXTENSIVE warranty. AeroPilates machines come with a 3 year warranty, does yours?
After Purchase Support & Instruction
1. Your pilates machine manufacturer should offer a large selection of exercises so that you don’t get bored. AeroPilates currently has over 10 DVD’s for your enjoyment and education.
2. Marjolein Brugman’s lighterliving.com offers free email support and helpful hints & tips each day.
3. Your pilates machine manufacturer should offer enough instruction to take you through beginner, intermediate and advance pilates exercises on your machine, totaling over hundreds of exercises.
4. Customer support for years to come as you grow and change with your machine. our customer Support has 16 years of experience
1. AeroPilates has a 16 year history of supplying hundreds of thousands of machines across the world.
2. Testimonials of AeroPilates users are the most compelling within the world of Pilates. Our devotees have had more success than with any other authentic Pilates machine.