What is a Pilates Chair?

A. Leverkuhn
A. Leverkuhn
Woman exercising
Woman exercising

A pilates chair is a piece of pilates equipment that takes the health benefits of the pilates fitness art to the next level. This kind of pilates tool represents a more installation-based approach to activities that some do with only a simple pilates mat and smaller, more portable tools like a pilates magic ring, roller, or other handheld aid.

In the fitness and exercise world, pilates plays a vital role in showing beginners how to strengthen the core muscles, promote range of motion and agility, and improve overall body response with a range of positioning activities that challenge and improve bones, joints, and muscles. Pilates is based on the idea that the body can generate its own challenges. One of those challenges is vectored resistance. Resistance is when the body encounters pressure and works against it.

In some pilates exercises, the body provides its own resistance due to gravity. A pilates chair helps to enhance a pilates session by offering the user more in terms of resistance. This is often done with spring-loaded components that are attached to a simple "chair" structure.

In terms of common pilates equipment, the pilates chair is a kind of mid-range solution. Larger pilates machines are often called pilates reformers. Reformers are generally more extensive than a pilates chair. They may have more limb-driven attachments, straps to guide the body through activities, and other accessories or features for providing a varied pilates menu.

A person who is using a pilates reformer may be able to use it in a variety of positions. A pilates chair is generally used with the individual trainer in a seated position. Spring loaded or wound up attachments challenge the limbs. There may be a setup involving stirrups or straps, with resistance-loaded cords, where the user can extend the legs against a resistance vector, and burn more calories than they would with a simple free leg extension.

New fitness providers are designing pilates chair and table installations to appeal to the specific needs of those who want an "amped up" pilates session with weighted resistance and guided activities. The best pilates chair models are visually appealing and have easy to use attachments or accessories. These machines may be used in an individual home pilates session or in group classes, where an instructor provides helpful training to beginners for getting into top shape with a routine involving this kind of pilates equipment.

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