Teachers Clubhouse 4—Differences in Apparatus

Teachers Clubhouse 4—Differences in Apparatus

Show Me...
Workout Tempo
Observe & Learn
Other Languages

Watch the preview

Teachers Clubhouse is an open workout and forum in which instructors from any Pilates background can learn and share. In this session, there happen to be teachers from all over the world who work on many types of apparatus. With this in mind, Karen and Sandy lead a discussion centered on how the traditional apparatus (Vintage Pilates uses Gratz) feels and works the body differently compared to what everyone is used to. Filmed at Vintage Pilates, Los Angeles, CA.

What Others Are Saying


  1. This was so inspiring. I could not agree more with what was said, after trying every possible brands of the years that I have practiced Pilates there is that something extra in the Gratz equipments that t brings you right “home” like any no other brands. You feel “The Work”. I always felt something was missing in my practice no matter how hard I tried and even when I succeeded and that I found that missing piece in the Gratz equipment and at Vintage Pilates. Its has become more and more powerful for me over tim, of course after I learned to make friend with its push and pull. At the risk of sounding like a 13 year old girl (LOL).Pilates is truly now my BFF.

    • Sandy Shimoda Author

      Hi Noam,

      You? A 13 year old girl? You are so much wiser…I have noticed such a change in your work since you began using Gratz. It gave your intelligent body the opportunity to feel the push and pull of the springs in your body. All BFFs are always there for you, keeping you company and making you feel good, right?

  2. Carrie
    brutybrutus 6 years ago

    I really love the point that nothing is by accident both in the equipment and in the system. This makes perfect sense since everything we need to help us get what we need for our bodies is right there in the Pilates system just as it is in Gratz equipment. What a perfect team! Let the simplicity of both challenge you. It’s all there. Great Clubhouse!

  3. bmbpilates

    This is a great discussion and there are many rich insights that were noted during the discussion. The ones that stood out the most for me are:
    – the more connection you have (or connected you are), the more efficient you are.
    – relating the springs to the muscles/mimicking the movement of the body.
    – not wanting the apparatus to be more complicated than the work.
    -the equipment simplicity helps support client independence.
    How we teach and how we move in pilates is all about connection to our center and maintaining it through changing variables through efficient movement. The equipment support support and enhance this and partner with the client. Thank you for this discussion!

    • Sandy Shimoda Author

      Julie – you are welcome! Actually, I love your outline of important points. It reminds me of the multitude of insights that come up iin the course of teachers clubhouse, inspired by all the teachers there, and the opportunity to discuss them.

  4. Gaia Faggiani
    gaia 6 years ago

    Dear Karen, dear Sandy, thank you for this TC! I love working on Gratz ! I agree with body being motor machine only working if there’s connection to the apparatus in all its parts. Also, I like what Sandy says that the entire center is heavy and weighted, it is connected to the rest of the apparatus so it’s not moving by itself. And also I agree on Gratz apparatus being simple as it was designed, as the work should be, you don’t want your apparatus to be more difficult than the work! Right!

    • Sandy Shimoda Author

      Wow Gaia, you got a lot out of this workshop. I love teachers clubhouses. I find the teachers to be so inspiring to watch and to discuss with.

  5. soul_eil

    Sandy, what is the distance from the ladder to the barrel, and the distance between the rungs on the preferred ladder barrel……..Love these Teachers Clubhouse workshops!

  6. What a great discussion. For me finding the feel of the exercises can only really be achieved on Gratz equipment. Having spent alot of time working out on other brands i only really see a difference in my body when i work on Gratz. Gratz allows me to work with the apparatus where before i have been fighting against unnecessary tension in the body.
    As a teacher teaching on Gratz i now understand the importance of the dimensions in assisting the teacher in providing a safe workout for client and teacher. I now have apparatus that helps me as a teacher look after my body whilst i am teaching as the apparatus really is the teacher!

  7. nancymchin 8 years ago

    The first time I tried Gratz, I must admit I hated it. It made me work so much harder. I thought, what is wrong with this reformer? I been working on non Gratz for years, so this was a very different feel. Yet over time, I came to love it — for the exact same reason I first disliked it. It made the work harder! And in a very intentional way. I came to understand exercises because of all the effort it takes to close that last quart-inch of spring. In Down Stretch, I saw how I could lift and lengthen my back even more than I thought I could. Elephant, which I had previously thought was nothing more than a calf stretch, became an active exercise. I could go on. But Gratz fundamentally changed the work for me.

    • Sandy Shimoda Author

      Oh Nancy, you always have a way of making me laugh. Thank you for your sharing your experience so candidly. I have enjoyed watching your body and your understanding change!

  8. Andrea Maida
    Andrea Maida 8 years ago

    I actually came to Pilates as a client and did my first training program on non-Gratz equipment. After I started to teach I attended a workshop given by Ton and Michael that was on Gratz equipment. I must have noticed a difference as thereafter I continued to seek out Gratz studios as it became my preferred equipment to work on. I found out a lot more was going on in my body than I had ever realized and I had to re-learn some of the exercises. My body changed as well. I am trying to remember exactly when I decided I wanted to work on Gratz exclusively – I think maybe my body weighed in more on this decision than my mind in the way the exercises felt and the way I could connect to and use the apparatus. This was a very interesting discussion, thank you!

    • Sandy Shimoda Author


      Thanks for sharing your experiences with us. It is quite a grand statement to say that your body told you which equipment helped you benefit from and feel Pilates most! I have nothing more to add to that one!

  9. Ynowak 8 years ago

    On topic of variations in the equipment, I have noticed differences in Gratz equipment built say 10 years ago and in recent years. I have worked out of a Gratz Ladder Barrel that is smaller than a newer one. It is obvious when placed side by side. Also the spine correctors are not the same. Some older Gratz Spine Correctors have sharper angels and newer ones have more rounded angels. Have you noticed this as well? I am worried because Gratz is the best representative of the original work that we have. I hope they do not follow the path of the others and stay true to original designs! I agree with the discussion at the end of this video. The work done on this equipment is powerful in its own right.

    • Sandy Shimoda Author

      Input from experienced teachers like you will be important in encouraging Gratz to stay true to the original designs. Jay, Karen and I make sure to give our input about changes that diminish the work out and I encourage you to share your thoughts too. We have 2 ladder barrels in our studio (one belongs to Jay) and although the shape of the barrels are the same, the distance of the barrel to the ladder, the amount of padding, and the height of the ladder rungs are different. These small variations do affect the exercises and all students (varying between 5’1″ and 6’3″) prefer Jay’s older version to the new one. Take note that neither of the bases are adjustable nor do they need to be!

      As for the spine corrector, the degree of arc on this piece of equipment should be the same as on the ladder barrel, even if the angle of the flat ledge is more padded or less padded. Please feel free to share your input on the varying shapes here if you like!

      Have a great day…

  10. joesmat 8 years ago

    I am particularly interested on the emphasis you constantly encourage about getting connected into your backbody musculature in the work. I have been practicing my mat with this foremost in my mind ever since you first talked about it in your Mat Video entitled BACK TO THE BASICS.
    So the word CORE is a bit of a misnomer in the Pilates Mat Methodology is it not!
    Thank you again.

    • Sandy Shimoda Author

      You are always welcome.

      Kudos to you for taking the time to apply the back basics to your mat so that you can make sense of how it applies to exercises on all the apparatus (as seen in this teachers clubhouse). In all Pilates exercises, the CORE works 3 dimensionally around the body, so naturally it involves the back as well as the stomach and the bottom as well as the inner thighs!

  11. Tbara 8 years ago

    I love this series

  12. lghammerle

    Thank you for opening up your Teacher’s Clubhouse for our viewing! I enjoy watching the workouts, hearing the corrections and cues and look forward to the conversation that follows. As always with Pilatesology, all the classes are very inspirational!

  13. leslie 8 years ago

    YEA !!! These are my favorite classes. Thank you.

    • Sandy Shimoda Author

      Leslie, you are soooooooo welcome. I want to thank all the teachers who make every class challenging and inspired!

Leave a reply