Product Review:  Body Balance Pilates Arc

by Megan Senger

What It Is: It looks like the offspring of the classic aerobics Step and the Sydney Opera House. But itís this architectural design allows the Arc to function as a back support and alignment corrector for Pilates-based exercises. Users lean into the Arcís supportive curves to achieve the ab-blasting poses that the exercise method is known for.

What You Might Not Know: The Arc was designed by equipment architects Balanced Body Pilates, created by ex-furniture designer Ken Endelman. Years ago he was approached by an instructor hoping to make her studioís equipment more functional and ergonomic, and his unusual company was born.

Feeliní the Love: The Arc is essentially a lightweight version of the Step Barrel: a useful but cumbersome piece of Pilates equipment in which few home exercisers could pragmatically invest. The Arcís lightweight design makes it ideal for both studio classes and home-gyms and thus a snappy replacement to the classic.

Those who wish to work towards a dancerís body but havenít yet developed a dancerís body awareness will value this equipment. And, its sloping curves make the Arc an effective bridge between the comfort of the Lay-Z-Boy and contortions of the Pilates V-sit. My abs appreciated the extra boost!

If I Could Change One Thing: The DVD that is included with your Arc purchase is only twenty-three minutes long. As a fitness pro, I am concerned that so little instruction will make the Arc overly challenging for beginner use Ė Pilates is a precise and complex exercise method. It would be nice if the Arc package included one of the longer workout DVDís currently available at additional cost from Balanced Body Pilates.

Should You Get It? If you are experienced in Pilates and the in-studio Step Barrel already, the Arc is a convenient addition to your home gym. For those brand new to Pilates, trying a few one-on-one sessions or classes at a studio will give you a better understanding of using the exercise method - before you make the full Arc investment.; $159, includes DVD and booklet

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