Students often ask me about taking the Cadillac, Chair and Barrels courses and if it's a good idea. Of course my answer is YES, but I'd like to give some of the rationale behind my thoughts.
While Mat and Reformer give you a wonderful foundation and a great selection of exercises, they are a drop in the bucket of Pilates knowledge.
I believe Joseph Pilates had a reason for inventing the Cadillac, Chair and Barrels. Maybe he saw that he needed more solutions to give a client an exercise in a way that would benefit his or her body in the best way possible. There are certain exercise and physical needs that aren't addressed by the Mat and Reformer.
A couple of scenarios that come in mind: A client needs support but doesn't do well on a moving platform. A client isn't strong enough to hold her legs in the air but needs to strengthen the upper back and arms.
Some clients don't progress to the intermediate level but still need the challenge of variety. By moving an exercise from the Mat or Reformer to the Cadillac, Chair or Barrels, the client gets to try what seems like a new exercise and indeed it is, because it's on a different piece of equipment. Maybe the client can "feel" it more on the Chair than she or he does on the Mat or Reformer. This adds more reason for the client to enjoy their Pilates sessions and perhaps deepen her understanding, and of course bring her back for more.
Speaking of a deeper understanding.... Taking the plunge into Pilates has probably wet your appetite for more. By taking the Cadillac, Chair and Barrels courses, you will gain a better understanding of the limitless possibilities that Pilates has to offer to not just your clients but to you as well. Maybe you, like me got interested in Pilates because you wanted to be able to understand your own body and be able to do more for your own curiosity and wellbeing. Having accomplished that by studying these new pieces of equipment, you'll be able to share your enthusiasm and variety with your ever growing list of clients.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.