Types of Pilates Equipment

When you come into a Live Pilates Studio, you are introduced to a host of Pilates equipment, or what we like to call the apparatus. Some of the apparatus may look daunting but rest assured there is nothing to be concerned about. Read on and you can find out how the Pilates apparatus is included in your class workouts.

Types of Pilates Equipment

Apparatus History

Joseph Pilates first thought of the idea for his apparatus in 1912 when he was stationed in an internment camp during WW1.  It was during this time that Joe began to “test” his Pilates method on some of his fellow internees. In an effort to help rehabilitate bedridden German soldiers at the camp, he rigged springs to their metal hospital beds so they could, too, do his exercises and “return to health.”

When Joe moved to the U.S in 1926 he filed the first patient for what he dubbed The Universal Reformer, inspired by the bed contraptions he had created more than a decade earlier. Being the innovator that he was, it wasn’t long before Joe invented more equipment, such as the Cadillac,Wunda Chair and barrels at his studio in New York City.  With the exception of the Barrels, Joe designed the apparatus to operate with spring-based resistance, to simultaneously deliver support and challenge to the body as it moves through the exercises.

reformer pilates sunshine coast

Types of Pilates Equipment

Today's Apparatus

 Fast forward to 2020, and we are lucky to have access to many reputable manufacturers of Pilates equipment.  Although some of the apparatus have evolved to offer adjustability and versatility the principles remain the same.

The Reformer

The reformer was the first piece of equipment Joe invented.  It features an elevated bed-like frame, either made from metal or wood (or a mix), that houses a gliding, cushioned platform called a carriage; the carriage moves along rails by way of a pulley system. On one end, the carriage is attached to a set of springs that deliver resistance and can be customized to accommodate any fitness level.

The reformer also features a footbar at one end, shoulder blocks, and a movable headrest at the other.

The reformer is renowned for its incredible versatility, allowing for a variety of exercises to be performed  in all body positions (i.e., lying down, sitting, kneeling, standing).

mat pilates north lakes rolled up mats in basket

Types of Pilates Equipment

The EXO Chair

Also widely known as the Wunda Chair, this piece of apparatus looks deceivingly friendly, but don’t be fooled. It is considered to be one of the most challenging pieces of Pilates equipment.

In his 1931 Patent application, Joseph Pilates described his invention as “a chair that would better support the body and promote better posture…”  Joe envisaged his chair gracing the lounge rooms of his New York Clients.

The modern day Wunda Chair, specifically the Balanced Body EXO Chair features a cushioned “seat” – a small base with little support – a split pedal and springs for resistance.  The EXO Chair offers many benefits including: Seated, upright and functional weight bearing resistance work, increased quadriceps focus, and an increased challenge for stability due to the smaller base of support.

Types of Pilates Equipment

The Springboard

Fusing elements from the Reformer, Cadillac and mat to give a full body workout.  The springboard is bolted to the wall and consists of eyelets that run up and down the sides.  Springs attach to the eyelet to provide resistance for upper and lower body exercises. Yellow springs are for arms and purple springs for legs.  There is also a pole that attaches to the springs for a variety of exercises. The fixed pole at the bottom of the springboard can be used for stability whilst lying supine.

Types of Pilates Equipment

The Magic Circle

The Magic Circle is one of the earliest pieces of Pilates apparatus. It is said that Joseph Pilates made the first magic circle from the ring of a keg. Nowadays the  Magic Circle is made of either pliable metal or rubber and is designed to provide resistance to your Pilates exercises. It’s primary purpose is to be secondary to the exercises, meaning that is supposed to compliment whatever activity you are doing.

Types of Pilates Equipment

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Each Live Pilates Studio has access to over 200 hours of quality certified routines for its instructors to create classes tailoring to select needs.
We are passionate about Pilates and the real health benefits that can be tapped into, which has been translated into, what we believe, is Australias’ most beautiful and well equipped Pilates Studio.
Join us to experience the difference of Live Pilates. Message us now for more information. We look forward to welcoming you into our beautiful space where you can transform both your body and your mind. It’s time to Love Life!



Using the latest reformers and equipment from leading brands like Body Balance and TRX along with a premium fitout and stunning fixtures, every Live Pilates studio will be the place you have always wanted to workout at.
Our classes are traditional. We have no loud music and definitely no ‘watch and follow’ monitors. Simply quality teachers working with you to help you achieve your goals one session at a time.
With modulated lighting and music the environment and mood will change to suit the class directive.



Live Pilates instructors are focused on delivering top quality classes to help all clients achieve their desired result in a safe yet challenging manner.
They are highly trained and certified with many holding Degrees and Diploma’s in various areas of health and wellbeing, we aim to provide you with an experience of the highest calibre.



Our core philosophy is to Live positively through good health. Essentially to “Love Life”.
Pilates is at the core of this program.
We also offer members information sessions on many other areas of leading a healthy life including nutrition, lifestyle, and general well being.
Contact us today for information on our next session at your local studio.


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