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Pilates workout with the X-iser Machine™

X-iser from Corrective WellnessWouldn’t you like to have the ability to add cardiovascular work to your Pilates classes without foregoing the Pilates workout? Here is a way to add cardio work while complementing the Pilates workout in addition to helping clients feel better, increase their endurance, burn more fat and save time? The X-iser Machine™ is a stepping device used for an exercise protocol called Sprint Interval Training (SIT). This method of exercise can help you and your clients accomplish all of the benefits listed above and more!

X-iser Machine™, offered through Corrective Wellness, is a stepper that can be used to build both upper and lower body strength and endurance while saving you valuable time. The machine was used in a study conducted in part by Dr. Mark Smith, Ph.D. The study evaluated the effectiveness of Sprint Interval Training (High Intensity Interval “burst” training) versus Low- to Moderate-Intensity Continuous Training (LMICT). The results of the study found that Sprint Interval Training is more effective at increasing cardiovascular health, reducing fat and increasing sports performance. The greatest advantage however is that the time investment to achieve these benefits is significantly lower than the prescribed 30-40 minutes, 3-4 times per week of cardiovascular exercise that we’ve heard about for so many years.

One of the most common excuses given about why people do not do cardiovascular work is the time investment. It has been drummed into us that in order to obtain and then maintain cardiovascular fitness, we must exercise for 30-40 minutes, 3-4 times per week at a level of 65% – 85% of maximum heart rate. That’s a minimum total weekly time commitment of 90 minutes. In his studies and research, Dr. Smith has found that the time investment for burst training is a whopping 12 minutes of cardio per week! Can you imagine? Only 12 minutes per week, that’s incredible. Who doesn’t have 12 minutes per week to invest in their cardiovascular health especially when it is incorporated into a Pilates routine?

Here is the breakdown of the 12 minutes per week. The intervals are performed on three different days. Each interval session consists of cardio blasts that can be 20, 30 or 60 seconds in duration. There are four segments of blasts, each of which have alternating periods of work and rest. It would look like this:

  • 20 second Burst (stepping as quickly as you can for the entire time)
  • 20 second rest
  • 20 second Burst
  • 20 second rest
  • 20 second Burst
  • 1 min, 40 seconds total of which 1 minute is cardio

You would then wait a minimum of 4 minutes between each cycle (during which time your clients can be doing their Pilates mat or equipment work) and repeat the cycle 4 times for a total of 4 minutes of cardio. If you choose to do the 30 or 60 second burst then the rest cycle would be of the same time duration as the burst; still waiting a minimum of 4 minutes between each cycle and repeating the cycle 4 times.

Using the X-iser Machine™ will complement the Pilates work you are doing with your clients because proper form in the stepping requires core engagement, breath control, balance and focus. Your clients will love you for helping them achieve the benefits of cardiovascular fitness while still seeing the benefits of their Pilates routines.

With a price tag around the $400 mark, the X-iser is a great piece of equipment to have particularly in studios which have limited space available for treadmills or elliptical machines. The X-iser folds up easily and can be stored under a Reformer or Cadillac or even under an office desk. Weighing only 14 lbs. it is portable too. Get your clients moving towards total fitness, the X-iser is an excellent tool to help you get them there.  For more information or to purchase the X-iser Machine™ visit the X-iser website today.

Dr. Smith’s full research article is available from his website as a PDF download at Corrective Wellness.

By · Posted on March 17, 2009 · Topic Feature Articles

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12 Responses to “Pilates workout with the X-iser Machine™”

  1. JoAnn Kovaly on March 17th, 2009 7:33 am

    What a joke… especially if you want to be taken seriously in the Pilates world.

  2. Beth Begelman Beth Begelman on March 18th, 2009 2:22 pm

    JoAnn–I understand your skepticism but I would encourage you to read the research article before discounting this type of cardiovascular training. Burst training can be done in many different ways, the X-iser is just one option. As a Pilates Instructor one of the questions I am frequently asked is about cardio work and keeping it in one’s routine. This type of training allows cardiovascular work to be incorporated into a Pilates session without losing a lot of the session time to cardio. It is a programming option but only as an addition, it certainly isn’t meant to replace the Pilates work.

  3. Melissa Turnock on March 18th, 2009 11:32 pm

    You need to be careful you don’t close your mind to a world of opportunity JoAnn. There are many possibilities you can offer your clients to contribute to their overall health status. Look at your clients as a whole person needing a variety of tools to maintain a healthy body and mind, not just as ‘a core and some stabilising muscles’. There is much more to health, strength and body awareness than just Pilates.

    A lot of my clients are grateful to be able to combine their Pilates and cardio in one space. We have a bike and we do interval training with clients that are seeking some fitness too. For others, esp knee pathology clients, it is great for assisting rehab (under our guidance). This Xiser equipment looks good as a ‘value add’ to have in your studio. Remember the more you can offer a client in their experience with you, the more value they will percieve they get from ‘Pilates’. For others coming to you it will be of no consequence, in which case no harm done.

    Yes, read the research as Beth advises but also keep your eyes and mind open to how you can enhance your clients experiences under your roof . If offering a piece of equipment that works on cardio activity means the difference between a client staying with you or leaving to join a gym, or starting up with you or not, it has been well worth it. Food for thought.

  4. Elaine Ewing on March 21st, 2009 10:27 am

    I agree that in this day and age, we as pilates instructors and studio owners need to keep our minds open to new ideas and creative ways to keep and bring new clients into studio. When large gyms offer every kind of exercise, including pilates, the fact is that we need to remain competive. Its tricky, though, because as JoAnn points out, we still want to be taken seriously in the pilates world.

    I think finding ways to incorporate cardio into pilates studio is a great idea. It is beneficial to our clients’ health. Pilates should still be the main focus of the studio, but what is the harm in including one or two other classes per week into the schedule? After all, Joe Pilates was a fencer and a boxer, and it doesn’t seem like he discouraged these other forms of movement and exercise.

  5. Jarrett Phillips on October 7th, 2009 9:30 pm


    I was excited to come across your article. I have been a trainer for 10 years and currently work as the Fitness Director for Corrective Wellness the distributing company for the X-iser. I see skeptics like JoAnn everywhere I go. They simply do not realize what this machine does because of all the cheap imitations that have come about. The X-iser has been around since 92 and was developed by a world renown bio-mechanist. It is utilized by over 50 professional sports organizations for their athletes to do sprint interval training. The skeptics only see the light after I put them on it and their heart rate jumps to 180 and legs turn to jello in just 60 seconds.

  6. Jamie L on October 8th, 2009 10:21 pm

    I have a machine and also got my parents one. It sounded to good to be true I couldn’t believe that this Dr. had hard evidence that all you need to do is this type of sprint training for your cardio. Good bye dreadful treadmill!!! I can get on my machine and knock out a triple 20 in no time and have my heart rate sky rocket and my legs are burning in a matter of seconds. I have also had my machine for over a year and still find it difficult. Once you have one you will become a believer!

  7. Anne S on October 31st, 2009 11:24 am

    I LOVE my X-iser. It really is a perfect compliment to the pilates routines I already do. Interval sprints are an established method if your clients are trying to lose weight, plus doing pilates in between sets makes it a perfect routine that doesn’t take hours!

  8. JoAnn Kovaly on October 31st, 2009 11:48 am

    I still think it is a joke. Reminds me of the “personal training” world where trainers are always looking for the latest gimmick. How many different training toys do you need to do a better squat…. If you want to have cardio within a Pilates workout, jumpboard is an excellent way to do so and it is “original” Pilates. If you want to have cardio that is not within the Pilates workout, treadmills, stairsteppers, etc. are great. Just do not call it Pilates.

  9. Paul Williams on April 22nd, 2011 9:39 am

    X-iser is not a gimmick it was invented in 1977 by Dr Juris Terauds, Professor of Biomechanics and is used by professional athletes all over the world.

  10. Howard Radin on March 22nd, 2012 12:36 pm

    Pilates instructors need to start thinking more comprehensively. All of our disciplines are complementary. They each provide a different benefit to the individual. Pilates doesn’t do what strength training does and doesn’t do what yoga does and doesn’t do what cardio does. Open your mind, enlarge your toolbox and start helping your clients by recommending a more well rounded approach to their fitness programs.

  11. Steve Murphy (Murph) on April 11th, 2013 1:07 am

    I’ve been using one of these machines for years, and it seems to be a very efficient way to get a cardio workout. After a broken vertebra left me with a misaligned spine and ultimately led my docs to an osteoporosis diagnosis, weight-bearing exercise got to be really important to me. But it’s also problematic, because most of the time, something or everything from the base of my spine to my toes hurts. But my (best-in-the-world!) PT approved the machine for me, and the motion seems to agree with me, because nearly every night, I can do 20 minutes before my back starts to get stove-up. (That’s good for me.) And although the X-iser has quite a few miles on it, it’s still smooth and quiet.

    Does it work? We’ve been watching my cholesterol, BP and glucose for the best part of 15 years, and although I can’t prove it, I think the workouts on the X-iser have helped a lot with all three. Particularly with glucose, it seems to me that during those times when I couldn’t do the exercises, the numbers have gone up. It’s a good and well-made machine, and if something eventually wears out that I can’t fix (on the machine, i.e.), I won’t hesitate buy another one.

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