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Couple creates exercise invention

Sharon and Kevin McSpedon at The Pilates Barre at 28 Prospect Street,

Ridgefield residents Sharon and Kevin McSpedon have collaborated to invent a Pilates exercise apparatus that can be customized to fit almost any Pilates studio or home environment.

The prototype apparatus has been installed in The Pilates Barre at 28 Prospect Street, which is owned and operated by Mrs. McSpedon.

The apparatus, currently dubbed The Apex Tower, has a U.S. patent pending, and the McSpedons have already received their first order from another studio for the innovative equipment.

The original Pilates equipment and methodology was designed by Joseph Pilates during the early half of the 20th century. Mr. Pilates, a circus performer and boxer, was placed in an internment camp during World War I and began rehabilitating injured detainees. Mr. Pilates used items available to him in the camp, such as bed springs and beer keg rings, to create resistance equipment for his patients.

One apparatus that evolved from these early years was the Pilates tower, now used in Pilates studios across the globe. The tower is typically a flat rectangular structure, often made from narrow boards or metal tubing, that stands anywhere from three to five feet off the ground.

The tower can include a range of springs, bars and pulleys that create tension, offer kinetic feedback and up the intensity of a number of different muscle movements and stretches. The system is focused on the body’s core, particularly the deeper muscles of the trunk and the abdomen.

Pilates towers, however, are cumbersome and specific primarily to Pilates exercises, making it difficult for studios to offer regimens other than Pilates.

“An example is our own studio, The Pilates Barre,” said Sharon McSpedon. “We also teach Barre technique, which uses a ballet barre to help clients lengthen and strengthen their muscles. With The Apex Towers, our instructors are truly able to fuse the Pilates and Barre methodologies to help clients get a unique total body workout.

“I also wanted our new towers to be closer to Joe Pilates original design than what we had before.”

Ms. McSpedon enlisted her husband Kevin, who took her design from a concept to a reality. He worked with local metalworkers to build an open, tubular tower in a nickel finish.

The modular unit can be customized for almost any space and  height and will allow students to reach through the towers to the ballet barre.

The end result is a clean, modern, highly functional space which allows Ms. McSpedon and her instructors limitless possibilities and creativity in their work.

“The new equipment is sleek; it’s stylish,” said Mrs. McSpedon. “It’s classic Pilates: form meets function. Who knows where it will take us….or which new exercise modalities we’ll introduce.”

Anyone interested in learning more about the apparatus may contact the studio at 203-438-2222 or by emailing pilatesbarre@att.net.

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