You may have heard of Pilates and reformer exercises before. And if you have, you may be wondering why this is such a strong trend nowadays for health-conscious people.
Physical fitness shouldn’t take a backseat in your lifestyle, even if we’re in an extremely fast-paced society. Pilates reformer exercises let you do very easy workout routines. That’s just one of its major benefits.
First, let’s take a short trip down memory lane.
Joe Pilates and Contrology
Back then, gyms and physiology weren’t much of a thing. But people needed an exercise that would help them fix their posture, maintain a physically fit body, and strengthen their core muscles.
Joe Pilates thought about this and invented “Contrology”—which is basically the Pilates we now know today.
Key Point: Contrology isn’t just an exercise
Mr. Pilates aimed to create a method for health and fitness and not just a mere workout routine. Contrology, or Pilates, is an overall health system.
Now, how do we start learning Pilates?
Most of the time, people opt to learn Pilates in a one-on-one session at first. Since Pilates is an overall health and fitness regime, you got to pay attention to the details.
You can work out with a professional fitness instructor in the beginning. Then, as you get familiar with the system and your body adjusts to the workout, join group sessions.
With those things out of the way, let’s talk about the real topic of this article: Pilates Reformer.
What the heck is a Pilates Reformer?
Joe Pilates didn’t just invent the system. He also invented the equipment that is core to the overall workout regime. This is the “Pilates Reformer.”
A Pilates reformer is a bed-like frame with a flat platform, which is the carriage. The carriage rolls back and forth on wheels. Its design lets you perform a wide variety of exercises for your core muscles and whole body.
Let’s take a closer look at the parts of a classic Pilates reformer.
The Footbar, Springs, and Gear System
A Pilates reformer has footbar that gives a perch for the feet and hands, acting as a launch pad for the carriage.
For classical reformers footbars are either up or down. Other reformers let you adjust the height of the footbar. This depends on your body type, height, weight, and strength.
The springs offer most of the resistance on the reformer.
Each of the springs hooks onto a spring bar, which enables different levels of resistance. You can hook or unhook springs to adjust resistance.
Classical reformers keep their spring tensions the same. Meanwhile, a more modern Pilates reformer has a color code for the springs and tension.
With the help of an instructor, you can figure out how many springs to use for the exercise.
3. Gear System
The gear system lets you change the spring bar’s distance from the end of the carriage. You usually adjust this to suit your height. Be careful, though, because adjusting the gear system will also adjust the tension.
This has the largest surface area on the reformer. This is where you will lie down, while kneeling, sitting, or standing up will glide it in the frame.
Head Rest and Shoulder Blocks
The head rest can be down flat or up, depending on the exercise you’re doing. Again, an instructor can better decide when to raise it up or lower it down.
Shoulder blocks lie on both sides of the head rest, keeping you stable on the Pilates reformer while pushing/pulling.
Straps and Ropes
You use these straps and ropes to push or pull yourself against the resistance of your body and springs. They connect to the pulleys at the top end of the reformer, with handles to help you get moving.
Make sure you got the best quality straps and ropes, too. Sport2People Stretching Strap can help you in this department.
So how do we use it?
For something that offers quite a lot of benefits, this equipment is very easy to use. You can perform exercises for your:
Most of the exercises you’ll do involve a lot of pushing and pulling of the carriage. Another good thing is that you can do such exercises in different positions such as:
- Lying down
- Pulling straps
- Pushing the footbar
- Perched on the footbar
- Perched on the shoulder blocks
- Upside down (with the help of additional equipment, of course)
Now, it’s time to see the benefits of Pilates reformer. Check them out!
Pilates Reformer Benefits
Regular reformer workouts are good to improve you back health, core flexibility and body awareness. Core Pilates exercises work like magic to your body. Aside from these, here are some other main benefits of Pilates reformer workouts.
Stronger Core (Core Pilates)
When doing Pilates reformer exercises, you move in many ways. Each time you do the workout, you target your whole torso from the hip to the shoulders.
Pilastes reformer exercises help to stabilize your back and core muscles. The resistance of the pulley and spring system let you do this.
You will also achieve better posture and coordination. And you can’t easily achieve these results with other types of exercises.
Full Range of Motion
With the help of the bars and cables of the reformer, you can move your body in full range. You cannot easily do that on your own.
Meanwhile, without professional help, you would be prone to fall back into the same movement habits as before. That’s not going to help your Pilates reformer regime.
Pilates reformer exercises also give you the appearance of greater length with full range of motion. Basically, you will look taller, slimmer, and sleeker with regular workout.
Eccentric Muscle Contractions
The exercise let you have enough resistance and movement that also help you build stronger bones. Meanwhile, eccentric muscle contractions enable you muscles to “lengthen” while it resists force.
This is one of the keys to get strong and long muscles without so much bulk and exhaustion.
Pilates reformer exercises let you gradually move a notch higher in terms of your routine. With regular exercise, it’s easier to challenge yourself to try harder routines. And when you feel the need and the ability to do that, it means the exercise is working.
In addition, the reformer works on your limbs more thoroughly, unlike other forms of exercises. This paves the way for a more comprehensive workout.
The resistance that the reformer offers lets you get results faster. As you grow stronger and more efficient, you can leave reclined routines to ones that are more challenging.
You may even notice a sleeker profile on your arms, legs, and abs after just a few months.
As we keep insisting, Pilates reformer exercises are better when you have a professional guide. It’s not easy to succeed with Pilates workouts just by yourself. If you can’t hire a professional, you can always resort to training videos and DVDs.
Also, make sure you buy the proper equipment such as this Pilates Reformer by Stamina. It’s a very helpful machine for you to kick off your Pilates reformer routine. Remember that proper equipment can also either make or break your fitness success.