Updated: Nov 11, 2020
Reformer Pilates. It’s an exercise sensation that has “blown up” in recent years but what is it and why should we be doing it?
Designed by Joseph Pilates, “Contrology” (later changed to Pilates) was conceived as a mental and physical conditioning in which individuals could work their bodies to their full potential. The first Pilates machine was built by Joseph when he attached springs to hospital beds so that patients could start to tone their muscles even while still bed-bound – the machines that have developed from these are now known as Reformers. In their infancy, the Reformer was shaped like a sliding bed and used springs as resistance (and the concept is pretty similar to this day!)
When doing Pilates on a mat or a Reformer, the amount of resistance and tension can often vary, but with a Reformer it can be regulated. To some, Reformer equipment might resemble a torture apparatus, looking like a single bed frame but with a sliding carriage and adjustable springs to regulate tension and resistance. However, far from painful, these cables, bars, straps, and pulleys allow exercises to be done from a variety of positions, even standing.
Conducted either one to one with an instructor or in group sessions, Reformer Pilates’ main objectives are to strengthen the core and increase micro control, improve balance and posture and finally develop flexibility.
A huge part of Pilates (both mat based and reformer) is ensuring that you have a strong ‘core’. This extends past just strengthening into the ‘stomach’ muscles. Anatomically, your ‘core’ is made up of your pelvic floor muscles, your abdominal muscles (transversus abdominis, rectus abdominis, internal and external obliques), multifidis, erector spinae and diaphragm. In order to perform each Pilates exercise with good form you have to be able engage these core muscles and that’s where micro control comes in. The Reformer is a great tool that introduces an element of instability to each exercise with the moving board on the springs, this allows the instructor to work strengthening the body with small controlled movements also using each of the 6 Pilates principles (Centering, Control, Breath, Flow, Precision and Concentration).
Micro controlling the core muscles, in combination with repeated slow and controlled movements using the Pilates Reformer, drastically improves balance. With the combination of the physical with the mental concentration and flow, the exercise routine becomes a whole body workout instead of focussing on the individual areas.
At the The Studio we provide both Reformer classes and one to one Reformer Pilates sessions in courses with our Pilates therapists!! Interested in giving it a go? Go to Book Now to view our classes and one to one session options!