The Pilates Power Gym is a small, in-home version of a Pilates reformer and is available in a couple different versions: the Pilates Power Gym Pro and the Pilates Power Gym Plus. It uses a combination of resistance and your body's natural movements to tone all your muscle groups in long, slow motions that you can learn in minutes.
The Original Pilates Power Gym
The original Pilates Power Gym has since been replaced by the latest iterations, both designed to improve upon the original. Fans of the original unit can usually find one secondhand on websites like eBay or local online marketplaces. The newer versions, however, have features that improve upon the original but still allows users a simplified version that fits nicely in a home gym.
Features Available on the Power Gym Units
The Power Gym is basically a large padded board that glides along a track. It can be adjusted to different heights for different exercises and to make moves more challenging. It allows users to perform simple, intuitive movements that can be quite effective at toning and shaping the body.
Pilates Power Gym Pro
Featuring a padded platform atop a smooth glideboard, the Power Gym Pro provides three elevation options and 48 resistance options. This version is an excellent option for people new to Reformers or Pilates in general. This unit costs a little over $400.
Pilates Power Gym Plus
Similar to the Pro model, but with more options, the Power Gym Plus provides 15 elevation options and 240 resistance options. This version is the better option of the two for those who want to push their Reformer practice to new levels and challenge their body's strength and stability significantly. The cost for this unit is around $600.
Cardio Package Upgrade
The Cardio Package Upgrade is an optional attachment added to a Power Gym Unit to include cardio workouts to the Reformer workouts. This package includes an attachment and a DVD of cardio workouts to accompany the Power Gym and costs around $50 when purchased separately or around $35 when purchased as an additional feature with the machine.
Though each unit comes with an instructional DVD for workouts, purchasers can also enjoy a free, two-month trial to The Fitness Channel when buying a unit. The cost of membership to this channel after the free trial period is around $5 a month and includes a wide variety of workouts to accompany the Power Gym. This is a good option for those who want varied, visual instruction to accompany the equipment.
Advantages and Disadvantages of the Power Gym
There are numerous reformers on the market. To make an informed decision of whether a Power Gym option is a good idea for you, consider the pros and cons of these units.
Advantages of using this system include:
- Limited learning curve: Even someone who has never used a reformer or done Pilates can learn to use this machine in minutes.
- Easy to move: The hidden wheels allow the machine to be moved easily, so you can store it out of the way when it isn't in use.
- No assembly: The machine comes completely assembled, so you can use it right out of the box.
- No lag time between exercises: You can switch quickly from one exercise or resistance to another, so there is no lag time as you work out.
- Compact size: The Power Gym is smaller than other reformers, so it fits in small homes and apartments.
- Incline feature: The added incline feature means that you can continue to get resistance from the machine as your abilities improve.
While the advantages are numerous, there are a few drawbacks:
- Size: While the machine is billed as being able to fit people up to 6-feet 2-inches in height, many people from 5-feet, 6-inches and taller have found they are unable to get full range of motion. Other, heavier users find it difficult to balance on the narrow board.
- Limited routines: If you are an advanced Pilates athlete who practices regularly, you may find that this machine is too limited for your use. While Pilates has more than 500 moves, the Power Gym can only do a fraction of them.
- Unstable bar: Some users have reported that the bar area is not stable when using it for squats on an incline.
Livestrong says the Pilates Power Gym units are a good option for people who want a Reformer on a tight budget and for those who do not want to bother with assembling a complicated machine. Pilates Gym Reviews designates the Power Gym units as good options for beginners and Pilates enthusiasts alike. Fit & Me likes the compact size of these machines, making them ideal for home use.
Effectiveness and Intensity
When used properly, any Pilates Reformer unit (or, as these machines are sometimes called, "mini-Reformers") will provide an effective workout that will increase strength, balance, and stability. It's a great method of doing resistance work without added stress to joints from high impact movements. Like most home fitness equipment, it is only effective with consistent use.
Pilates at Home With the Power Gym
If you are interested in starting Pilates at home and are looking for an easy-to-use and compact reformer, either iteration of the Power Gym can be a suitable option. It's important to note that mat Pilates can be quite effective as well and doesn't require expensive equipment, so if you're looking at this equipment in an effort to start practicing Pilates, it's not the only option.