The Resister: Joe’s Lost Apparatus
by Elaine Ewing
The Resister™ is an apparatus invented by Joseph Pilates in the 1940s to exercise the whole body. Up until recently, The Resister™ was lost to history and unknown to the Pilates community. Here is the story of one of Joe’s lost apparatus and how it was given a “Return to Life” so that we as a Pilates community now have the chance to keep this special work of his alive.
The History of Pilates
Apparatus for Home Use
Most Pilates teachers and enthusiasts are familiar with the two books that Joseph Pilates wrote, “Return to Life Through Contrology” and “Your Health”- which encouraged the public to practice his method as a lifestyle, as well as giving them mat exercises they could do at home with detailed instructions. But were these books the only place Joe documented his method in writing and wrote instructions on how to do his exercises? They are certainly the most published of his written work, but at some point it crosses the mind of any curious Pilates teacher that surely Joe must have documented his life’s work in writing in more than just those two places.
The truth is that Joe wrote and published instructions on how to use many pieces of equipment that he invented throughout his lifetime. Joe wanted us to know how to use more than just the mat! He published a series of exercise charts for many pieces of equip- ment, complete with images, instructions, an order of exercises, breathing cues, the purpose of the exercise, muscles targeted, and number of repetitions. One of Joe’s goals was to inspire people to find easy ways to exercise throughout their daily life and in the convenience of their own homes. Two common reasons for not exercising are no time to exercise and no space to do it in. He addressed these problems in two ways: he invented equipment that doubled as furniture (the Bednasium, The Wunda Chair, the Bench Mat and the Divana for example), and he invented equipment that took up only a small amount of space (such as The Gym-in-a-Door, Magic Circle, and Ped-o-Pul)…. and The Resister™.
Full text available in 'The Show Must Go On'