Pilates exercises are based on working out against resistance. You can either use your own body weight as resistance or a Pilates reformer machine, which consists of pulleys and springs that provide resistance. Pilates reformer machines look similar to row machines but offer more options for exercising. The Pilates Allegro is a type of Pilates reformer machine produced by Balanced Body.
Pilates consists of 500 classical exercises that train your abdomen, buttocks and lower back. A reformer machine resembles a bed frame with a sliding base and adjustable springs, bars and pulleys. Some people choose to be trained privately on how to use a reformer first because the machine can be daunting. Reformers come with multiple attachments for additional resistance exercises and are designed to achieve maximum Pilates results in less time.
Balanced Body offers both an Allegro Pilates Reformer machine and an Allegro 2 Pilates Reformer, which is a newer model with modifications based on customer reviews. More than 30,000 Allegro Reformers are used at home and in fitness clubs. They differ from other reformer machines in that they are portable; the Allegros can be easily folded and stacked. Both models consist of an extra-wide foot bar that adjusts to four vertical and four horizontal positions and locks in place. They also have an eight-wheel suspension system for smoother use and a softer touch rope system that gives quick rope adjustments.
Pilates Allegros also come with a variety of accessories for additional exercise options. A retrofit kit lets you add a mat workout to either side of the Allegro reformer. An adjustable riser lets you change the angle of resistance for exercise that targets specific body parts and movements. You can also purchase a sitting box, which attaches to the Allegro and allows for more abdominal exercises and side stretching.
Mat vs Reformer
Deciding between traditional Pilates exercises done on a mat versus using a reformer machine can be difficult. Reformers allow you to do more exercises than you can on a mat and can produce visible results faster because of the extra resistance from the pulleys and springs. But if you're doing Pilates at home, the mat-only version is significantly cheaper. Reformer Pilates should be learned in a group class or private session first because it can be tougher to pick up. The mat-version of Pilates can be learned at home with a good Pilates DVD led by a certified instructor.
- Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images