When it comes to Pilates equipment, the first one that comes to mind is likely the Pilates reformer! We know that this piece of machinery can leave quite an impression on those who use it, and with good reason. Many people have taken the plunge to purchase one for their home! Today, we are going to talk about what the reformer is, what makes it so special, and how taking a reformer class can benefit your Pilates workout.
What is a Pilates reformer?
Joseph Pilates, the creator of the exercise we all know and love, was the inventor of the reformer machine. It looks a lot like a bed frame with a flat platform on top. We call this the carriage. It has shoulder blocks that will keep you in place as you push or pull. The carriage rolls back and forth on wheels within the frame and attaches to one end of the reformer with springs. The springs are what allow you to choose how much resistance there is as you push or pull along the frame.
Near the springs, there is an adjustable foot bar you can move with your feet or your hands as you move the carriage. There are also long straps attached to the top end of the frame. These straps can be pulled by the legs or arms to move the carriage! Basically, the reformers use your body weight and a little resistance from the springs to create the challenge of the exercise. You can adjust the parts to fit your fitness level, so it’s perfect for anyone who wants to give it a try.
How is the reformer used?
Pilates reformers are so versatile that users can exercise lying down, sitting, standing, pushing the foot bar, pulling the straps, lying sideways, and tons of other variations your instructors will show you. Simply put, the reformer is the perfect tool to train your entire body. You can perform all sorts of exercises to promote strength, flexibility, and balance. Most of the exercises on the reformer demand that you push or pull the carriage, or that you hold the carriage steady as it is pulled on by the springs. Many people find the reformer to be the perfect exercise companion, as it can challenge even the most seasoned Pilates enthusiast and gently introduce Pilates to the newcomers.
What are the benefits of using the reformer?
The best part of the reformer machine is that it offers all the great benefits of Pilates: strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination. Each of these skills can make daily life that much easier, including better posture, easier movement, and even pain relief from back issues and other alignment concerns. The main focus of Pilates is the core muscles in the abdomen, back, buttocks, and thighs. These are your powerhouse muscles! Using the reformer is a great way to uniquely work out these muscles in a controlled way.
The reformer is a large machine, but that is a good thing. It’s large enough to allow a wide range of motion to help its users work on their flexibility. However, it provides enough resistance to build strength as well. That combination encourages length and teaches the body to sustain that length for longer than before.
All exercises also provide enough resistance and variety of movement to improve the strength of the bones. The reformer was designed to encourage eccentric muscle contractions, which is when a muscle lengthens as it pushes against a force. This is one of the key ways to gain strength and tone without bulk, which is one of the main features of Pilates.
The rolling carriage has also been set up to be less stable, which challenges your ability to stabilize it with your core. This promotes better balance. If you need more of a challenge, your instructor will tell you to put less of your body on the carriage. The body and machine need to be controlled even more from the core. We have found that our Pilates Reformer classes are ideal for all physical ability levels, which is why the full name of the reformer is the “Universal Reformer.”
How can you learn to use the reformer?
The number one way to learn how to use the Pilates reformer is in a controlled class environment. Once you learn the basic movements that comes with the foundations of Pilates, you will have a better idea of how to use the reformer on your own. If you take a class, you can be sure that your form will be adjusted, the level of difficulty will be just right for you, and your instructor can guide you to exercises that will benefit your body most. Once you get the hang of this, you can consider buying a reformer for your home.
Contact us today at Sculpt + Sweat Pilates in Las Vegas! We look forward to giving you a new and challenging workout you will love.