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Pilates Product Review: The PilatesStick

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By Rebekah Rotstein

Rotstein demonstrates with the PilatesStickBack when I was seeing private clients in their homes, I would lament not having Pilates equipment with me. Many of my clients have specific conditions and past injuries, so I rely heavily on the machines for the neuromuscular feedback, assistance and challenge that springs provide. The need I had for transportable equipment—a need I’m sure that many instructors still have—would be diminished now, thanks to the PilatesStick®. This clever device allows you to set up a resistance unit in your own home, or anywhere you like for that matter. Just secure it into a door and you have your own springboard with a rolldown bar.

The brainchild of exercise physiologist Charles Blount, the PilatesStick is a portable kit containing a bar, a thick resistance band called Slastix, cotton loops for the feet or hands, a foam anchor to secure it into a door and a yoga mat. All this comes in a sleeve making it as easy to carry around as a yoga mat bag, with the Slastix serving as a strap to throw over your shoulder. The basic kit will run you about $150. The system also offers additional items for purchase like wall mounts and a ballet bar attachment. Peak Pilates acquired the distribution rights to the PilatesStick earlier this year.

The PilatesStick basic kitFor those looking to complement their current workout, or studios wanting to offer economical and comprehensive classes, the PilatesStick is a good investment. The kit also includes a list of exercises along with a poster-size version for display on a wall to remind you of various options. The accompanying introductory DVD provides an easy assembly guide and a nicely laid out Pilates exercise program. It includes the classical repertoire like Rolldown, Swan/Flying Eagle and Thigh Stretch with a smooth flow and clear transitions between exercises. It also demonstrates new adaptations made possible by grip straps on the bar that secure the feet. This addition to the traditional rolldown bar activates the feet with exercises like “Leg Arcs” (where the straightened legs rise and lower) and integrates further core control in “Pushaways” (where the knees bend in and then push the bar away.)  The minimal explanation and cueing on the DVD, however, make it more appropriate for an experienced Pilates practitioner than for a beginner.

I tested the PilatesStick myself and also on my colleague, fitness veteran Jeff Bell, to get a well-rounded perspective on varying heights and body sizes. Since there’s only one tension option (i.e. only one Slastix band), certain exercises worked better on his muscular male frame than on my petite female body. This is true specifically in open-chain arm work in which more tension makes the exercise more challenging. For instance, the resistance was too great for my hypermobile shoulders in Arm Circles and Chest Expansion unless I repositioned the foam anchor, whereas it worked very well for Jeff. In an exercise like Rolldown where the resistance assists the movement, the additional tension of the Slastix helped him release his hip flexors, improve his spinal articulation and access his deep abdominals. The leg work with feet in the loops worked beautifully with the heavy Slastix and we could adjust the body positioning farther from or closer to the door as desired to vary the tension (though you can anchor the foam at any level; I tried it on a weak door and had no problem). I particularly like the strap on the bar that can secure the feet, providing an innovative option for leg work to integrate the muscles of the feet, much like the exercise Parakeet does with the push-thru bar.

The major benefits of the PilatesStick are its compact size, portability and affordability, allowing you to spice up your home mat workout with additional resistance and stretching opportunities. It lets you simulate a Tower class with the rolldown bar and leg and arm springs to provide a full body workout. I also love the ability to perform the many fascial releases that the springs of the machine enable, such as adding a sidebend to the one-arm rolldown and various other twists and stretches. But just as the machines are meant to be used with a certified instructor, I would recommend the same with this device for a Pilates newbie in order to avoid potential strain and to understand how to perform the exercises correctly.

Rebekah Rotstein is the founder of Incorporating Movement and educates Pilates instructors and exercise specialists internationally.She worked in the sports medicine department at Smith College as a student athletic trainer before she began her Pilates studies at the Kane School of Core Integration. Rebekah designed the workout Pilates for Buff Bones™ and authored the CE lesson on osteoporosis for Hatherleigh Medical Education’s series for fitness professionals. She is a continuing education faculty member of Kinected in New York City. She is also a contributing writer to the web site of Dr. Andrew Weil and has been interviewed by various media outlets including CNN and Martha Stewart Living Radio.
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Posted on Friday, December 18, 2009 at 07:00AM by Registered CommenterLauren Charlip in , , , , | Comments1 Comment | References1 Reference

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    Response: richard goozh
    Pilates Product Review: The PilatesStick - Pilates Pro - Pilates-Pro.com: The Pulse of the Pilates Industry

Reader Comments (1)

The PilatesStick sounds like a very well designed product, especially for those who are new to performing pilates exercises. I myself have compiled some simple back stretching videos that are highly beneficial to those just starting with or even regular uses of pilates exercises. YouTube search "Geraldton Chiropractor" if you wish to view them. Worth a look!

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShane Mezger

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