About the Pilates Apparatus


“I invented all these machines. Began back in Germany, was there until 1925, used to exercise rheumatic patients. I thought, why use my strength? So I made a machine to do it for me. Look, you see it resists your movements in just the right way so those inner muscles really have to work against it. That way you can concentrate on movement. You must always do it slowly and smoothly. Then your whole body is in it.” Joseph H. Pilates

“Joe Pilates developed his exercise method and his apparatus hand in hand.”
Jay Grimes, first generation Pilates teacher

While many students are introduced to the Pilates method through a group mat class, the mat exercises represent only a fraction of the extensive system developed by Joseph Pilates. First generation teachers (those who studied directly with Joseph Pilates) have noted that mat exercises were given to students to do at home on the days they did not come to the studio to work out. “Uncle Joe” would occasionally have students perform the mat exercises to demonstrate that they were doing their “homework”, but most lessons at the original studio were done on the apparatus, the term Pilates used for his equipment.

The apparatus used at Studio Body Logic by students taking private or small group lessons is based on Joseph Pilates’ original designs. Each piece is ingeniously designed to both support and challenge students as they perform the “work”, Pilates’ unique system of exercises to strengthen and lengthen muscles throughout the body. The larger pieces of apparatus use springs of varying size and tension to create resistance; the equipment and exercises can be easily adapted to meet the needs of each individual student. The apparatus is designed to work with you, to complement the exercises as you develop strength from a stable core.

Studio Body Logic is proud to offer nearly all of Joseph Pilates’ major pieces of apparatus at both studios, including:

The Universal Reformer: Known simply as the Reformer, this piece of apparatus most frequently associated with Pilates was originally patented in 1924 in Germany. Joseph Pilates built the first wooden-framed reformers himself; after his death, metal framed reformers built by Gratz were most commonly used. A classical reformer consists of a raised rectangular frame with a sled-like carriage that glides along metal rails and uses springs to provide adjustable resistance. Clients perform exercises while lying down, sitting, kneeling, and even standing on the carriage.

SBL offers five reformers in both the Arlington and Alexandria Studios.

The Cadillac (Trapeze Table)/Tower: The Cadillac consists of a raised mat framed by metal posts at each end and across the top of the unit. Attached to the metal frame are a variety of springs and bars used to perform the exercises designed for that apparatus. The frame of the apparatus also helps clients with centering their body as they work.

The Cadillac is the largest and heaviest piece of apparatus, and takes up considerable space in any studio. Romana Kryzanowska, Joseph Pilates’ protégé, designed the Tower unit, which enable students to perform many of the exercises done on the Cadillac while taking up a much smaller footprint in the studio.

There is one Cadillac and three Tower units in Arlington; Alexandria offers one Cadillac and four Tower units.

The High Chair, or Electric Chair enables clients to exercise with their spine in a vertical position. It has the heaviest springs of any piece of apparatus in the studio, which can serve to both support and challenge clients. The High Chair also has a high back to help novice students stay upright in a seated position, and hand holds on the side to help students maintain balance when standing.

Each Studio location has two High Chairs.

The Wunda Chair: Sometimes referred to as “the Reformer for New York apartments”, the Wunda chair enabled Joseph Pilates’ clients to have a piece of apparatus in their own homes that could be discreetly placed in plain sight. When flipped onto its “back”, this piece of apparatus converts to a chair with a sloped seat, a design Joseph Pilates felt was best for the body when seated. The Wunda Chair, like the High Chair, enables clients to exercise in the vertical plane. It consists of a small mat above a padded pedal connected to adjustable springs. Because it offers less support than the High Chair, the Wunda Chair is typically used by stronger or more experienced clients.

There are two Wunda Chairs in Arlington and three in Alexandria.

The Ladder Barrel is a waist-high frame with a semi circular padded mat on one end and two posts with rungs between on the opposite end. Like the other Pilates apparatus, the exercises on the Ladder Barrel develop strength and flexibility while working from a stable core.

There is one Ladder Barrel in Arlington and two in Alexandria.

The Pedi-Pole consists of a tall metal pole in a square wooden base, with a second metal bar at the top forming a T-shape. Springs with handles at one end hang from the far ends of the “T”. The Pedi-Pole is reputed to have been designed to help a famous opera singer, who was working with Joseph Pilates, to open her chest and diaphragm. Exercises done with the Pedi-Pole also promote shoulder stability and balance.

There are two Pedi-Poles in Arlington and one in Alexandria.

In addition to these larger pieces of apparatus, Pilates also invented and used an array of smaller pieces that targeted specific areas of the body. Studio Body Logic is proud to offer the following small apparatus at the studios:

The Spine Corrector and Small Barrels

The Magic Circle

The Foot Corrector

The Toe Exerciser

The Bean Bag Roll-up Device

The Push Up Bars

Contact Us!

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Come on Over!

Alexandria Studio:
2417 Mount Vernon Ave.
Alexandria, VA 22301
Tel: 703.739.7601

Arlington Studio:
4600 North Fairfax Drive
Suite 210
Arlington, VA 22203
Tel: 703.527.9626

Alexandria Studio Hours:

Monday 11am-8:15pm
Tuesday 9am-8:15pm
Wednesday 9am-8:15pm
Thursday 9am-8:15pm
Friday 9am-1pm
Saturday 9am-1pm

Arlington Studio Hours:

Monday 11am-1pm, 5pm-8:15pm
Tuesday 9am-1pm, 5pm-8:15pm
Wednesday 3pm-8:15pm
Thursday 9am-1pm, 5pm-8:15pm
Friday 8am-12noon
Saturday 9am-1pm