The Pilates reformer is a traditional piece of Pilates equipment which looks like a bed with springs, a sliding carriage, ropes and pulleys. The origins of the Pilates reformer date back to WW1 when Joseph Pilates experimented by attaching springs to hospital beds, so that patients could start toning their muscles even while they were still bed-bound. In their early incarnation the Pilates reformer was shaped like a sliding bed and used springs as resistance.
Reformer Pilates is similar yet very different to mat based Pilates. Reformer Pilates is done using the Pilates reformer machine and is can be more intense and more dynamic than mat based Pilates as it adds resistance to the Pilates exercises via the use of the springs which form part of the machine called the reformer!
The Reformer Pilates repertoire of exercises available is vast providing much variety. The exercises usually work muscles through a large range of motion which is ideal for building core strength, building & toning muscles as well increasing stability through the joints.
Reformer Pilates can also be used as a sport specific cross training tool. Reformer Pilates works on core stabilisation which is vital to any athlete as well as muscle endurance, peripheral joint stability, muscle strength, balance, co-ordination and much more.
Reformer Pilates is great for rehab purposes too! It allows the client to exercise in a horizontal plane of motion and not be vertically loaded and weight bearing through their legs. (For example if a client has had knee surgery or a knee injury, this horizontal plane enables you to strengthen the muscles of the leg through a larger range of motion using a lighter resistance than their body weight, speeding up their recovery through controlled movement.)
Many people are quite scared of the reformer when they first see it as it looks quite intimidating and almost medieval. Put any fears you may have aside because after just one or two workouts on a reformer and you realise that it is the most versatile and effective piece of exercise equipment ever made…plus it’s great fun!
The springs that provide much of the resistance from the reformer are generally quite strong. Most reformers have up to 5 springs and when combined can add up to a considerable resistance. Conversely, as there are five springs, using only one or two of them can provide a gentler resistance depending on the exercise and the muscle being worked.
This means that the intensity can be varied considerably from one person to the next, making it an incredibly versatile piece of equipment to use as a workout or rehab tool.
COME TRY A REFORMER INTRO SESSION!