Pilates Machines vs Pilates Equipment - What Should You Call It?

The Truth About "Pilates Machines"

Three women sitting on the exercising mat and doing abdominal exercises with a Pilates Power Ring.
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Are you getting an eye roll when you use the term Pilates machine? This quick tip is mostly for beginners who discover they are committing a faux pas, or at least giving away their beginner status.

Pilates terms change over time, so what I'm about to tell you might not always be the case. But the current usage is that it is mostly the uninitiated who say "Pilates machine". Once you get into Pilates, you will find that almost nobody says Pilates machine.

To sound like you are not a rank beginner, use the terms that seasoned Pilates exercisers and instructors use. Usually, we refer to Pilates equipment. And then for the larger pieces we refer to them as Pilates apparatus. Joseph Pilates, inventor of Pilates, called it the apparatus. Often we use the specific names of the different kinds of equipment.

A Brief Guide to Pilates Equipment.

Pilates equipment can be grouped in two general categories, separated both by size and where you can expect to find them and use them.

First, there are the small, portable equipment pieces like the magic circles, fitness bands, and the exercise balls. Of these, the magic circle is the only one of those popular three that is traditional Pilates equipment invented by Joseph Pilates. The smaller equipment is popular for studio and home use, and is frequently featured in Pilates DVDs.

Then, there are the larger pieces of equipment (apparatus) that include things like the Pilates reformer, Pilates chair, barrel, tower, and cadillac.

This is the equipment you would expect to find at a Pilates studio.

    Specific Pieces of Pilates Equipment and Apparatus

    • Before You Buy a Pilates Mat: Explore the differences between yoga mats and Pilates mats, whether you want one that rolls or folds, and the different materials used in mats.
    • Before You Buy a Magic Circle: Invented by Joseph Pilates himself, see the different choices you have in how they are designed today. Quite different from the original that was made from the barrel ring of a keg. Use that factoid so you don't sound like a beginner.
    • Pilates and Exercise Balls: How to choose and use a fitness ball as they are incorporated into many Pilates exercises.
    • Pilates and Exericise Bands: Find out the advantages and disadvantages of tubing bands compared with ribbon bands.
    • The Anatomy of a Pilates Reformer: Joseph Pilates invented the Reformer, one of the major pieces of Pilates apparatus. He started with bed and machinery springs attached to bedposts to exercise infirm prisoners of war. This evolved into his Universal Reformer and today's variations of the Reformer.

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