Home Pilates Reformer with Free-Form Cardio Rebounder, by Rhian Hunt
The idea of leaping up and down on a trampoline while lying on your back with your head on a pillow sounded so bizarre to me that when I first read the description of the Stamina Aero Pilates Pro XP 556 Home Pilates Reformer, I thought that I had misread the text. At that point in time, I knew that Pilates exercises – invented by a Greek-German fitness enthusiast of the same name – involved stretching and flexing as a method of physical development and weight loss.
However, as I investigated more, I became intrigued, and came to see how the apparent contradiction made perfect sense when considered in the light of the equipment’s design. Lying on a sliding carriage, kicking against a trampoline-like ‘rebounder’ mounted at the foot of the machine gives the workout benefits of a trampoline session while being far easier on the joints and spine. I also discovered that the Pro XP Series Reformer (Pro XP 556, 557, 686 and 636) is a powerful tool for scores of health-building, calorie-burning Pilates exercises, which is made even more effective by the inclusion of the rebounder.
Trampoline-Jumping While Prone
Built out of sturdy steel and tough wood, the Stamina AeroPilates Pro XP 556 Home Pilates Reformer is a slickly-designed piece of equipment meant to make the most of Pilates’ exercise concepts. Stretching and flexing against resistance is an important part of such a workout, and the XP 556 provides ample tools for doing exactly those exercises in many different ways.
At the core of the system are four tough elastic cords attached to handgrips, a sturdy steel footbar for bracing, and a carriage moving on wheels and gliders to allow the exerciser to slide back and forth atop the frame.
The elastic cords can have their lengths easily adjusted for different levels of resistance and different heights of user. The footbar of the Stamina Aero Pilates Pro Reformer can be set in three different positions, again to both accommodate various sizes of people and so that it can be placed in the most appropriate place for specific exercises.
The carriage (on which the exerciser lies) is mounted on industrial-strength wheels for smooth, quiet operation for users up to 300 pounds, features extra-long rails for the convenience of the tall, and includes a well-padded headrest and shoulder supports. The machine’s upper surface is 15 inches above the floor, a convenient height for climbing on and off for users of all fitness levels and physical conditions.
Over 100 Exercises
These features alone allow the Pro XP 556 Reformer to offer the Pilates enthusiast a huge array of different exercises—over 100, in fact, as detailed in the Level 1 workout DVD and color wall chart included in the box. However, the inclusion of the Free-Form Rebounder—a vertical trampoline which can be attached to one end of the Reformer—adds even more possibilities for working out. A second, 20-minute DVD details the best ways to use the Rebounder. The advantage to the Rebounder over a typical trampoline is that the exerciser lies prone while using it, thus avoiding shocks to the joints and spinal column while gaining all the calorie-burning, body-toning advantages of trampoline use. The Rebounder can be easily removed when not in use.
The frame of this machine is warranted for 5 years, while the warrantee covers the parts for only 90 days. However, given the strong steel and wood construction, the Pro XP 556 should last ordinary users for years as long as few simple maintenance procedures (also described in the user manual) are followed.
Aeropilates Workout Level 1
For more information on Stamina AeroPilates Level One Integrated Workout with Marjolein Brugman click here
Aeropilates Workout Level 2
For more information on Stamina AeroPilates Level Two Integrated Workout with Marjolein Brugman click here
Aeropilates Workout Level 3
For more information on Stamina AeroPilates Level Three Integrated Workout with Marjolein Brugman click here
Much Assembly Required
Although I am impressed with the Stamina Aero Pilates Pro XP 556’s design, sturdiness, and the unusual workout it provides, there is one aspect of the device which is somewhat daunting even to a fit and active user: the initial set-up. The Aero Pilates Pro comes unassembled, and the complexity of the machine, combined with the sheer number of parts that must be bolted together, makes setting it up seem nearly as involved as building a detailed model ship.
The parcel which the user receives contains no less than 119 separate parts, plus dozens of screws and bolts, and a combination wrench and three different-sized Allen wrenches for assembly. Simply keeping track of all the different screws and bolts – of which there are six different kinds, including pivot bolts, button head bolts, flat head bolts, and so on – is likely to prove challenging, especially for those with limited assembly experience. The user manual features 9 pages of assembly instructions, and recommends that 2 people should cooperate in assembling the Aero Pilates Pro XP 556 for the sake of safety.
Although the workout offered by the machine is top-notch, especially for those with joint problems, preparing the XP 556 Reformer for use is a major project, and involves complicated, lengthy assembly far beyond the usual assembly needed for an exercise machine. Some will view this as a pleasant challenge, while others would be best-advised to find a friend who is an enthusiastic tinkerer to help them build the device.
Be Certain to Build the Stamina Aero Pilates Pro XP 556 in Its Permanent Home
Because of its intricate construction and large size, the new owner of an Aero Pilates Pro machine should carefully choose the location where they want to build it. Disassembling the Aero Pilates Pro is a long process, and reassembling it elsewhere is equally time-consuming, so moving the machine is something that should be done as little as possible.
The Aero Pilates Pro is also heavy and unwieldy, meaning that it will be difficult to fit it through most ordinary house doors. The device is 94 inches long – almost eight feet – and weighs around 200 pounds. Therefore, it is wise to construct it exactly where you want it.
Where Can I Get the Best Deal on the Stamina Pro XP?
The best place to buy the XP 556 Reformer is on Amazon, which offers a good price and good customer service