How to bring some of the most popular movements from the classroom to your own mat at home.
You’ve probably heard of Pilates. The low-impact workout consists of a series of core movements that help flatten and tone your midsection while also stabilizing and supporting your spine and back. Pilates mat classes are available in the most popular gyms across the United States. However, a distinct type of Pilates — Pilates movements performed on a reformer machine — is gaining popularity as well. This workout is ideal for persons who are recuperating from an injury or who want to focus on precise core movements and isolate more muscles than Pilates on a mat can provide. It’s also a good choice for injury rehabilitation and low-impact healing.
As a trained Pilates instructor, I recommend that people start with a Pilates mat session to learn the basics without having to become used to the reformer machine. However, some people choose to begin on the reformer to learn how to properly activate the core before stepping onto a mat for a Pilates class. But before you get on the reformer, here’s everything you need to know about what to anticipate in a class – as well as how to do some of the most popular exercises at home.
What is a Pilates reformer and how does it work?
The reformer is a bed-like frame with a flat platform that rolls back and forth on wheels, designed by Joseph Pilates. “It is a spring-assisted device that is used as part of a Pilates workout session under the supervision of an instructor to acquire proper muscle length and strength in an organized manner.” The reformer aids the individual in accomplishing the Pilates aims, which include using diaphragmatic breathing to organize the body’s posture through synchronized movements with a focus on postural control. The carriage is the platform, and it is connected to one end of the reformer by a set of springs. The springs allow you to control the carriage’s resistance as it is pushed and pulled along the frame by your own weight and strength. There are additional shoulder blocks on the carriage that maintain you in a secure position so you don’t fall off the reformer’s end.
At the end of the reformer is a foot bar, which is an adjustable bar that holds the springs. Depending on the activity, your feet and hands can be put on this bar. The reformer also features long straps with handles at the top of the frame, opposite the foot bar, that you may place your feet or hands in. The springs may be modified to adapt the workout for different skill levels and body types by affecting both the foot bar and the handles. In reality, dancers utilize the reformer for training and injury recovery as well as anyone trying to strengthen their core.
Is reformer Pilates a good workout for you?
The Pilates reformer is appropriate for people who want to gain core stability and good postural alignment. Pilate’s reformer can be a wonderful workout for anyone. “Both the equipment and the exercises can be customized and adjusted to fit anybody, making it ideal for people wishing to tone up, recover from an injury, train for a specific activity or sport, or get a low-impact, full-body workout.”
Pilates reformer practice is low-impact and suitable to all fitness levels, It benefits everyone from youth to elders, professional athletes to those who lead a more sedentary lifestyle,” says the author. Pilates reformer work helps athletic performance, back pain, injury recovery, weight loss, balance, bone density, and posture, to mention a few.
It’s a movement system that aims to improve our daily lives and well-being. “To participate on a Pilates reformer, people must be able to bear lying flat on their back. Lying down on your back for long amounts of time is not suggested for pregnant women in the third trimester.
People with additional spinal or neck concerns, she says, may need to be aware of appropriate changes. Before beginning any workout program, consult your doctor, and make sure to inform your instructor if you have any injuries. “If any of the activities prescribed by the teacher create pain, it is critical to communicate with the instructor and to cease the practice.” It’s crucial to pay attention to your body and change the level of resistance by changing the springs and modifying the placements to ensure optimal alignment.
The reformer allows for a full range of motion, which is ideal for gaining flexibility and strength at the same time. Pushing and pulling with the arms and legs against the resistance of the springs, carriage, and body weight creates a unique full-body strength-building workout that differs from traditional Pilates mat exercises. When you hold the wires in your hands or put your feet in the cables, your muscles can stretch to their utmost extent. While there are certain leg and arm movements in mat Pilates, they are normally done without resistance unless you use light dumbbells or a Pilates ring as an accessory. The reformer may target your arms and legs while still concentrating on your core, giving you a more complete workout.
According to one study, performing Pilates reformer exercises once a week for ten weeks reduced the chance of falling and improved static and dynamic balance and functional mobility in persons 65 and older who were at risk of falling. Another study found that lower back and shoulder strength improved following twelve sessions of Pilates with the reformer apparatus.
To really focus on leaning out the body, schedule 2-3 sessions per week. It’s wonderful for strengthening the body’s tiny core muscles while simultaneously stretching out the long muscles.
If you have a story about your Pilates Journey, please share it in the comment box below; it will help other pilates beginners.