When a Pilates instructor I know told me she bought the AeroPilates Pro XP 555 I couldnt wait to use it. She got a discount but it retails for about $700. This machine is made by Stamina.
Recommend this product?
First things first what is this?
Pilates (pronounced puh-LAH-teez) is something like a cross between Yoga, stretching and calisthenics. Pilates is a body /mind exercise system developed by Joseph Hubertus Pilates approximately 80 years ago. Born to a Greek father and German mother, Joseph was a sickly child. He suffered from Rheumatic Heart Disease and other afflictions. In order to strengthen himself, he became physically active. He developed the Pilates Method.
While Pilates helps with flexibility, posture and strength, it is not much of a cardio or strength training workout, so it should be an add-on to a regular routine.
What makes Pilates different from Yoga is that it is more dynamic. In many moves, you hold your torso in place while moving your limbs in different directions, which challenges your balance, core strength, stability and flexibility. You will hear instructors talk about transverse muscles.
Working on these muscles is the basics of Pilates. Transversus Abdominals run across the abdomen in an east to west direction. We also work the rectus abdominus which run north to south and the oblique abdominals which are two layers run diagonally across the abdomen.
The AeroPilates looks like some type of weird bed contraption to me. It is made of steel with wood ends. Its purpose is to build your core. But along with this traditional purpose of Pilates, the XP 555 has what is called a Free-Form Cardio Rebounder. This gave me a low impact cardio workout while doing Pilates. I found it really an unusual piece, fun to use and effective.
The machine measures 88 inches wide by 23 inches wide by 37 inches high. It is 10 feet off the ground. I am used to doing Pilates on the floor or on foam rollers. This was my first experience with a machine such as this. I found that I was able to do more exercises with a greater range of motion off the floor. In addition if you have trouble getting up and down off the floor you wont have to worry with the Pro XP 555.
It weighs 133 pounds. It does not fold. The maximum weight of the user can be up to 300 pounds.
What it comes with:
Staminas AeroPilates Pro XP 555 comes with two videos. One is a beginners Pilates video. The other is a Cardio Video that will help you use the Cardio Rebounder. It comes with a wall chart and a mat to put under the machine which will protect your floor. You dont have to use this mat if the machine is going on carpeting but as long as you are getting it you may as well use it.
It comes with elastic cords that provide resistance; comfortable padded hand and foot straps which are adjustable so your height should not be an issue and an adjustable head rest.
It comes with a 90-day warranty on the parts and a 5-year warranty on the frame.
Lets use the AeroPilates Pro:
The first thing I noticed was the Cardio Rebounder. It is inserted so that it is perpendicular to the machine. Lying down my feet can hit it which is the purpose of the Rebounder. When my friend was explaining it to me before I saw it I couldn't imagine what it was like. After using it, the concept makes a lot of sense. The Rebounder can be taken on and off easily. It fits in holes at the base of the machine. It is really a mini trampoline. There is also a horse shoe shaped bar that runs around the base of the machine in front of the Rebounder. This is used for some of the exercises and is much easier than trying to balance on foam rollers but works as well in my opinion.
I laid down on a very comfortable padded cushion and just got familiar with the machine. You will be watching videos but if there is something you dont understand please talk with someone who can show you how to use the machine properly. It isnt difficult at all. It makes Pilates work easier although what we say is that Pilates doesnt get easier we just get stronger. In this case the AeroPilates really does make doing Pilates easier.
The cushion that was under me moved back and forth on rollers. I found it to be quiet and smooth. My friend knew I was going to review the piece and suggested, which I am finding more and more useful, using WD-40 if it ever stops gliding smoothly or squeaks though this hasnt happened to her machine. It is just a good idea to keep this on hand for those who tell me their machine any machine is sticking or squeaky. I got used to the back and forth motion with my feet on the bar. I then put the Rebounder on and slid back and forth while hitting my feet against the Rebounder. You can turn your feet in or out to hit different muscle areas. I do a lot of cardio work. For me this wasnt the most exhausting one Ive done however in Pilates class we dont do any cardio work (Other than the cardio vascular work that is inherently tied in with working so hard.) so this was a treat and it was fun to use. I tried a variety of exercises. I then took the Rebounder off and just used the bar for my feet and the handles for my hands.
One exercise I did which you might know if you take Yoga is putting my feet in what is called the chair position. I am on my back with my legs up and my knees bent. This position is great for the core area but add the arm movements and it is fantastic. I held the handles in my hands and as I brought my knees into my chest I brought my hands forward while lifting my shoulders holding my abdominal area in the entire time.
A classic Pilates movement are leg circles. The Aero Pilates adds to the circles because I put the same handles on my feet. As I moved back and forth I made circles with my legs.
The resistance is changed very much like a band I have which is made by Altus. There are four bands. Each one sits in a space at the base of the machine. With four on I have the most resistance. When I use the Altus with all three bands connected for example I cannot move it but my husband can. When I take two off I can do bicep curls. The Aero Pilates Pro works the same way but the resistance isnt as hard as it is on the Altus. I can easily use all four bands on the AeroPilates but it is challenging. You can start with none in and build up. Or for some exercises you might be able to use one band and others two bands. You can figure that out for yourself as you go along.
Jos final thoughts:
I really loved using the AeroPilates Pro XP 555. I went to her house several times rather than my normal Pilates class and got a better workout. I felt safer on the machine in many ways than I do in class. I find the foam rollers to be on the borderline of dangerous so not having them was a nice reprieve. Although I dont think the Rebounder can replace a piece of cardio equipment it is a good place to start if youve never done cardio work. In addition since it is like a trampoline I found it really easy on my joints. My heart rate wasnt nearly as high as when I do classes or work on equipment but along with Pilates its a nice combination.
Please feel free to leave a comment or ask a questions.
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Thanks for reading. jo
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