Unless you are out of touch with the world, you will be no stranger to the popular workout term, Pilates. I’m sure all of you out there have heard of this style of exercise at one point or another throughout your lives. You may or may not be aware of the fact that there are MANY styles of Pilates being practiced by thousands of people every day around the world with one of the most popular of these styles being, Reformer.
“What exactly is a Pilates Workout Reformer?” I hear you ask.
Well, sit tight because in this article I will explain what this machine typically looks like, how it works and why it’s changing peoples’ exercise regimes right around the globe.
What Does a Pilates Reformer Look Like?
The Pilates Reformer is a comprehensive workout machine that was founded by Joseph Pilates in the 1920’s. The concept was initially developed for the sole purpose of allowing sick and wounded soldiers to strengthen their bodies and heal their injuries in a timely manner mid and post-war.
Many that come into contact with a reformer for the first time feel a little intimidated as it is admittedly quite a strange looking object. As the idea was originally formed from the use of hospital beds, the modern contraption that we use today has improved in design over the decades but, remains a solid frame representing that of a bed.
The centrepiece of the Pilates workout reformer is referred to as the “Carriage”. This is where the user will generally lay, sit, kneel or stand whilst using the machine. The carriage moves backwards and forwards within the sturdy frame on a set of wheels and it includes two built-in shoulder pads that keep the user from sliding out of place whilst using the equipment.
At one end of the reformer, the carriage is attached to the frame by a series of springs. On every Pilates reformer the springs will vary in resistance. This is so that the operator can customize the level of resistance to their workout depending on whether they are a beginner, intermediate or advanced user.
There is also an adjustable, padded bar at the opposite end of the reformer to the springs. This is called the “Foot Bar”. It is used to place either your feet or hands on throughout the workout sequence. Lastly, each reformer consists of two long straps that have a padded handle at the end. These straps can again be used by either your feet or hands my means of pulling down, out or away from the body.
How is a Pilates Reformer Used?
“Okay, so I now I know what the reformer looks like but how is one supposed to use it?”
A Pilates workout reformer is a truly remarkable exercise machine that is also very versatile. It can be used in a plethora of
ways but most movements on the reformer are based around either pushing or pulling the carriage in some way so that it influences the resistance of the springs. These actions are usually performed using the straps, foot bar or some other piece of equipment.
A few common examples of movements that can be performed on the Pilates reformer include but are not limited to:
- pushing on the foot bar with your feet
- pushing on the foot bar with your hands
- pushing the carriage away with one foot whilst the other foot is on the standing platform
- pulling down on the straps with your hands
- pulling down on the straps with your feet
- balancing on the carriage in a stationary position
- with the use of other equipment
- the list goes on…
The wonderful thing about the reformer is that this single, contemporary machine can target every muscle in your body. You can perform exercises laying down, sitting, kneeling, standing, half on half off, perched on something, upside down, sideways etc. There really is no limit to how you can use this multipurpose machine. It is simply up to the individual as to how they feel most comfortable using it.
Why So Many People Are Turning to Reformer Pilates
In general, the Pilates practice strongly promotes building strength, improving flexibility, toning muscle and increasing stability. Whilst all types of Pilates are popular, reformer Pilates boasts a far deeper and dynamic workout then that of mat based Pilates. This is one of the many reasons as to why people are choosing to incorporate this training style into their own exercise regime.
Whilst standard forms of exercise can be great in their own rights, reformer Pilates is fantastic for those who suffer from back pain and/or sore joints. With the gentle and controlled movements this training promotes, you can rest assured that you won’t do any harm to those troublesome areas. The entire machine is also very padded and comfortable meaning that you won’t be putting any strain on your back or knees.
As well as this, reformer Pilates does wonders for rehabilitation purposes. Whether someone is recovering from a sports related injury, an operation, accident or biological ailment, Pilates reformers can be a phenomenal tool throughout this process. In many cases, Pilates reformers have been proven to be one of the fastest yet gentlest methods available on the market.
Some other great benefits that come from using a reformer include:
- Increased balance and coordination
- Improved posture
- Strengthened pelvic floor
- Muscular endurance
- Relief from pain
- Lengthening of the body
- Decreased stress & anxiety
- Weight loss
- Promotes a strong, lean body
- Mental clarity
- Graceful movement
- Corrected breathing
- And much much more!
It Really Is a No Brainer
Here at My Pilates Collective, we are extremely passionate about this practice and we believe that EVERYONE should be able to have access to all of these life-changing benefits associated with the Pilates workout reformer. As you can see, there are countless reasons as to why this method of exercise and piece of machinery are so widely popular around the world. The facts really do speak for themselves.
If you are an intermediate to advanced user than you will already know about and most likely agree with everything we’re talking about. However, if you have never tried this form of exercise before, we highly recommend that you do. You have nothing to lose in giving it a go and we’re confident that you will find many reasons to love this practice as much as we do!
If you have any feedback, questions or require help with anything at all, please feel free to leave us a comment below and we will endeavour to respond as soon as possible.
Kiara – Site Founder
My Pilates Collective