Pilates is a great exercise that has numerous physical and psychological benefits. And the best of all, it is suitable for everyone.
The best thing about is that comes in many forms. From mat to reformer, it is fun, and you can make it easy or demanding, depending on your needs.
One of the popular forms is tower Pilates, but what exactly is tower Pilates? It is a group of exercises performed on a tower, which is a machine that has different functions in order to add some resistance and makes the exercises more efficient.
Clients can choose among a variety of Pilates tower exercises, depending on their fitness level and desired results.
So, if you want to know more about it, or decide if this is for you or not, read the following chapters that will inform you more about what exactly is this and how it looks like in practice.
What is Tower Pilates?
I already gave a brief definition of it, but here I will tell you a bit more about what is tower Pilates.
First of all, I have to define a tower. It is an apparatus that can combine various exercises, including those done on a mat, in one machine. Some say that it is exactly the same as a reformer, but that is not completely true. To be honest, so many variations of these machines exist, that some really look alike, and offer more than basic versions.
All of the machines, including a tower are used to add resistance and increase the efficiency of exercises. With more resistance, your muscles work more, and gain strength faster. In addition to that, exercises done on a tower will improve your balance too. And the best of all, it is safe to use, as everything is done in a slow and controlled motion.
When compared to a reformer, it may seem that some exercises are the same, but it actually activates your body and muscles in a different way. Straps and other parts are pulled under a different angle, and those who tried both will tell you that even when you do the same exercise, it feels different.
How Do You Use a Pilates Tower? [Exercises List]
There are numerous and various exercises you can do, and listing them all would require a lot of time. So, here is a basic and most popular Pilates tower exercise list with simple instructions.
This exercise, together with the one following below, is excellent for arms and shoulders, it strengthens the muscles and improves posture.
To do it, stand in a way that you are facing the tower. Hold the springs at a shoulder height with an overhand grip. On an inhale, pull your hands towards your chest and while opening your elbows to the sides. On an exhale, strengthen your arms. Do it in slow and controlled motion.
Chest expansion is also an upper body exercise. Stand facing the tower and hold the springs in front of you, at a 45-degree angle, with your palms facing backward. On an inhale, slowly pull them towards your hips and then pause. Move your head and look to one side and then to another, slowly. Look in front again, and slowly move the hands to the starting position on an exhale.
Pilates is all about core and this exercise will activate it. Lay down in a way that you put your feet to the fixed bar. Legs should be straight and your arms should be positioned firmly on your sides. The more you spread them the more stability you will have. Use your core muscles to lift your hips. This exercise is also excellent for gluteus muscles. Pull up on an exhale, keep the pose for a few seconds, and slowly lower down.
I said that tower can activate all of your muscles, so here are some variations of leg exercises, which also activate the core. Majority of these exercises can activate more than one group of muscles.
Lay down on your back in a way that you can hold the tower frame with your arms, which means that your head is oriented towards the tower. Attach the springs onto your feet and keep your back firmly on the ground. From this position, you can perform various leg exercises. You can lower your straight legs in front of you and slowly spread them, then get them back towards each other. You can move them up and down while holding them together and straight to activate your core. Or you can start with bent legs in a 90-degree angle and straighten them again.
Of course, you can do much more than this. Every exercise also has variations which can make it more demanding for advanced users, or easier for complete beginners. You will know what is best for you according to your fitness level, and the instructor will also be there to guide you through the process.
Is a Pilates Tower [Reformer] Worth it?
Answer to this question depends on your needs and expectations. If you are looking for a fun and efficient way to strengthen your body, improve your posture, and health in general, then this could be for you. But some people prefer mat Pilates, or something that is more cardio oriented, like power Pilates.
Tower can be excellent for those who are recovering from an injury or some medical condition, of course, if your doctor permits. Elderly people can also benefit from it. Wondering why?
Well, on a mat, you have to lay or sit down, then stand up, and that may not be easy for everyone. Tower is further away from the ground and you can get on and off easier.
But it is not just for old or injured, it can be great for everyone. Some exercises are very demanding and you will sweat a lot! In my opinion, it is also very fun and I would definitely recommend it to everyone!
What does a Pilates Tower do to Your Body?
I already mentioned some benefits like strengthening your muscles, especially the core, and improving your balance and posture. But that is not all it does to you.
Any form of exercise will make you feel better in your mind, it will also have beneficial effect on your cardiovascular system as it can increase your heart rate. Those who perform harder exercises can also expect to lose some weight and tighten their bodies.
It is also excellent for spinal mobility, and that is extremely important for those who sit a lot, as many of us do while working in the office.
Being low impact, it is safe for joints, and great for those who run or do some other demanding activity. Sports like running, although healthy, will not activate all muscle groups and can be bad for joints. This is why many runners exercise Pilates. They are stretching and strengthening their ligaments, tendons, and muscles that are important to support joints.
And of course, as you increase flexibility on a tower, you will reduce the possibility of various injuries.
What to Expect in a Tower Pilates Class?
What exactly to expect depends on your fitness level, previous experience with physical activities, age, health, and some other factors. This is why I always recommend to go to a good studio, where instructors will make personalized exercise plans for you. They will also be able to see and correct any mistakes. When you are practicing at home, sometimes you can do more harm than good.
When you learn the basics, of course that you can start exercising in your living room.
These classes basically combine mat Pilates with added springs and resistance that can assist you, but also make exercises a bit more demanding.
It will activate all muscle groups, and when you finish, you will definitely feel the difference. It is a full body workout that includes stretching, muscle activation, and some balance work. Pilates tower class is also a fun way to exercise.
The only way to find out what to expect is to try it yourself!
How Much does a Tower Pilates Class Cost?
Professional Pilates equipment can cost thousands of dollars. Also, instructors have to be certified, and that can cost even more. To be a certified tower Pilates instructor, you have to invest a lot, so naturally, to get the money back and earn something, you have to set a price for a class. And that price can be quite high. But some things are worth the money. It is better to spend on health than on some other things that many of us spend on.
All of this is a reason why classes in studios can be quite pricey. The exact amount you will pay depends on a studio location, other available studios in the area or competition, and the equipment used in a studio.
Of course, the price also varies among different countries.
I can give you some average estimates here, but the best way to find out the exact prices is to check your local studios.
In Europe, prices vary a lot. So, in the UK, for a good studio, you will have to pay around 100 Pounds for about 6 classes. Of course, the more classes you pay, the cheaper per class it gets.
In Germany, in large cities, you will pay around 20€ per class. Yes, I know, towers, and similar machines are pricey. If this sounds too much, you can join a mat class that is much cheaper.
In Canada, it is very expensive, and in very popular studios in large cities, prices can go up to 80 dollars for a class.
In the USA, you will pay up to 50 dollars for a tower class. In smaller cities, it can be as low as 20.
Prices here are stated for large and extremely popular studios, so don’t worry, I’m sure that you can find cheaper ones in your area.
Also, keep in mind that individual classes can cost a few times more than group classes.
Can you Do Tower Pilates at Home?
Some people prefer to exercise at home, and one of the reasons is to reduce the cost. But, Pilates tower for home is not something that is suitable for everyone. It is large, quite expensive, and usually doesn’t have all the options as the professional equipment.
Home towers can be bought in very simple versions, which are basically thick mates with a small frame above. Although they may look simple, these machines are actually quite good and effective.
But, if you don’t have space for those, don’t worry, you can exercise without them too. At home you can use just the mat, or some basic props like rings, bars or balance balls that are affordable, simple to use, and can easily be stored even in small living spaces.
If you decide to buy a tower for your home, make sure you know how to use it to avoid injuries.
Now when you know what is tower Pilates, you can decide if this exercise is for you. Even if you are unsure, or you do not like the tower, think about some other forms of Pilates like tower, Cadillac, mat, Classic or power. Although similar, all have noticeable differences, and I assure you, when you try it, you will definitely like it.
If you have never exercised before, find a local studio to learn the basics, and after that you can even enjoy it at home!
Various classes exist, from group to private, so there is no excuse not to exercise and work on your health. Even those who like to exercise at home can do it, as home versions of tower are available on the market.