To AMP UP your Workout:



When you walk into a fully stocked Pilates studio (like the Mind 2 Body Fit Studio at the Plant on Providence’s West Side) you may  think it looks like a sex dungeon. There are 9 foot long wooden machines with shiny chrome frames over head and padded straps hanging at the end of heavy silver springs. You may even expect to find a leather clad dominatrix barking out orders. But this is a different kind of “workout.”

Pilates aficionados will tell you that the machines or “apparatus” as they are called will greatly up your Pilates skills and add the kind of variety to your workout that will keep you coming back. 

According to Maria Andresino, owner of Mind 2 Body Fitness and a Master Pilates trainer,

“The mat exercises are the basis of all Pilates moves, much like ballet is the basis of many other forms of dance. But taking these exercises off the mat and onto the apparatus takes it to the next level!”

There are about 500 exercises created by Joseph Pilates over 80 years ago.  Each exercise has a variation on 4 primary pieces of equipment:

Balanced Body Equipment

There are a handful of Pilates equipment manufacturers.  Maria Andresino of Mind 2 Body Fitness swears by Balanced Body in Sacramento California. “They have been making equipment since the early years of the industry and have been the most responsive to the community. I have worked on almost every piece of equipment out there and Balanced Body’s is by far the best.”

The basic design of the the equipment has not changed drastically since it was invented by Joseph Pilates in World War I (While interned in a POW camp, he took the springs off the bed frames and attached them to the walls to help soldiers exercise their way back to health.) Balanced Body, however, continually delivers new innovations based on feedback from the field. Their latest catalog of equipment provides the most efficient core workout you can get off the floor!

Try a Pilates Equipment Workout to Really Kick Your Core!

Why Springs?

Pilates Equipment workouts can progress from relatively easy to brutally hard. The equipment is designed to both challenge and assist your movements.  First, the use of springs adds resistance (a heavy spring at full extension weighs about 60 lbs.); and the property of a spring is different than a elastic band or dumbbell.  Spring resistance gives work throughout the entire movement as you stretch it, hold it, and then control it’s return.  So in Pilates you’re always working to fully lengthen a spring and release with control. (Addressing the concentric and eccentric phases of a muscle contraction.)

Second, spring resistance can also support your weight and assist you through an exercise.  The springs can do some of the work for you (like lift you off the floor.) As you get stronger you then reduce the resistance and provide more work from your own muscles.

Maria says, “One of my favorite things to demonstrate is how less weight can be more challenging. When a big strapping guy comes into the studio and says ‘Put some more weight on’ I give them a particular exercise on a very light spring and they can rarely perform the exercise. They usually don’t ask me again.

Springs can also give you an extra stretch which you can’t get from gravity alone. And lastly, working on a moving surface like the Reformer adds challenge because you are forced to dynamically stabilize as you move, often in a precarious position.

But don’t be intimidated by the apparatus. They are designed to be adaptable. You don’t need to be strong or flexible. A qualified instructor can customize each exercise for any age, fitness level, injury or body type. Instructor certification on the apparatus takes typically 400-600 hours including lecture, practice, observation and apprentice hours. This is one reason why Pilates sessions are so expensive.  Equipment sessions typically run from $25 for a Group Session to $70 for a Private.

Try the latest Balanced Body equipment at the new Mind 2 Body Fit Studio at the Plant, 60 Valley Street on Providence’s West Side. The M2B studio has 2 floors of Pilates and Personal Training equipment.  Also offering mat classes, TRX and BOSU classes.  Owner Maria Andresino has been training clients for 15 years. She also offers teacher training, particularly integrating the newest equipment into a killer core workout.


M2B Fit Studio offers free half hour classes.  Taste the equipment without a commitment! 

While it’s not a sex dungeon, and Maria doesn’t usually wear leather, her clients have been known to call her “Mistress Maria.”

To learn more about Pilates  equipment and see the latest catalog, go to: