Pilates and The Xiser Machine 
Incorporate Cardio into your Pilates Workout
By Beth Begelman - For Pilates Digest

Wouldn’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™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.
xiser pilates
 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 £300 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.

Dr. Smith’s full research article is available here Sprint Interval Training - " It's a HIIT " - by Mark J Smith, PhD

Written for Pilates Digest by:-

Beth Begelman

 Beth Begelman

Beth Begelman has been working in the fitness industry for the last 10 years. Fitness and athletics have always been part of her life. Growing up in the Miami area, she was a competitive swimmer and water polo player. She was a high school All-American water polo player and she played on a women’s team that competed on a national level. After spending several years in the airline industry and in the corporate world, Beth began her fitness career as an aerobics instructor. She continued her career and interest by being trained and/or certified to teach yoga and Pilates; two mind-body disciplines in which she also enjoys participating. Always wanting to learn more, Beth pursued a career as a personal trainer because she enjoys working one-on-one with clients.

While doing personal training Beth met a client who aspired to be a professional golfer. She began research on golf-specific fitness training and found that while golf-specific trainers do exist, they are not easy to find; particularly ones who are qualified to do high level sport-specific training. Out of desire to learn more about golf-specific training and to provide clients with the best and most accurate information, Beth researched and found the most-desired certification in the golf fitness industry. Advantage Golfoffers three levels of golf-specific fitness training. It was run by Dr. Greg Rose who is a co-founder of the Titleist Performance Institute and is a notable figure on the Golf Channel’s Golf Fitness Academy.

Beth has obtained the highest level certification with Advantage Golf and is a Master Golf Fitness Instructor and she is a level 3 Golf Fitness Professional through the Titleist Performance Institute. She uses these qualification as well as her knowledge in Pilates and Yoga to train local golf enthusiasts and players preparing for professional golf careers. Beth is certified as a Pilates apparatus instructor with the PhysicalMind Institute; her mat training was completed with STOTT PILATES ®. Additionally she holds a certification with Mike Wright’s Golf Pilates as a Pilates for Golf trainer.


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" Xiser is a portable ergonomically correct sprint trainer. This unit can be kept at home or at the office for quick burst workouts that effectively mimic sprint training. It's perfect for the fat-loss lifestyle "

Jade Teta ND, CSCS
Keoni Teta ND, LAc, CSCS

Authors of The New Metabolic Effect Diet



 “World’s best stair climber!”

Paul Chek, CHEK Institute


" I use burst training with every client I have. It is not an option! Everyone gets on the
X-iser day one to experience what a real burst feels like!
The X-iser is an essential part of my celebrity business - Nutrition on Location - and the foundation of my personal training
routine as well! "

J.J. Virgin CNS, CHFI, Ph.D.

Nutrition and Fitness
Expert for:

ABC's Extreme Makeover
Dr. Phil Ultimate
Weight Loss Challenge
Nutrition on Location - Celebrity Fitness Consulting