Pilates the power of reformer
There is probably no piece of equipment more famous than the Pilates reformer—and that is for good reason.
The reformer makes a dramatic impression when you first see one, and an even more dramatic results in your body when you use it.
Reformers classes are usually one of the main choices and most popular choice for Clients and Pilates practitioners.
Portable reformers are also popular as home exercise equipment. (See MOTR) and Reformer becomes a “must do” when looking for private class.
What makes the reformer so special?
First, take a look at what is a reformer is and how to properly use it, then we will see tremendous benefits of it on your body.
The reformer was invented by Joseph Pilates. It is like a bed with a flat platform on it, called the carriage.
The carriage is attached to the reformer by a set of springs more or less resistant and heavy / light.
The carriage has two shoulder blocks that makes a stopper for shoulder, avoid sliding and help perform some exercises.
At the spring end of the reformer, there is an adjustable bar called a footbar.
On the Footbar you put the feet or hands. The reformer has straps with handles on them that are attached to the top end of the frame. They can be pulled in legs or arms, hands, elbows, to move the carriage as well and perform exercises.
Reformers parts are adjustable for differing body sizes and different levels of skill, different resistances to challenge or make the exercise easier.
How to Use
With endless possibilities of exercises, you can perform almost everything, any kind of muscles group, different range of motion, different levels and modifications on the reformer.
From classical exercises to creative and modified versions: catalogue is infinite.
Exercises motion goes from lying down, sitting, standing, pulling the straps, pushing the footbar, up on the footbar, up on the shoulder blocks, with some add-on equipment, upside down, sideways, and all kinds of variations.
In other words, the reformer can train many parts and dynamics of the body in many different ways with just one relatively sleek piece of equipment.
Benefits of Reformer
From: Overall strength, flexibility, coordination, and balance, benefits from Reformer are the same than benefits of Pilates.
From these benefits it leads to:
- Better posture
- Graceful and efficient movement
- Body awareness
- Pain relief (ease chronic pain)
- Restore physical balances
The Reformer creates a unique and varied exercise environment; It is large enough to accommodate full-range motion, which is wonderful for increasing flexibility while building strength.
The action of the Machine itself: Pushing and pulling with legs or arms against the resistance, carriage, and body weight is helping strength building.
The exercises provide enough resistance and movement variety to help build strong bones. And there is a special feature—eccentric muscle contractions. This is when a muscle lengthens as it resists a force. The reformer’s set-up for eccentric contraction is one of the keys to achieving the long, strong muscles without bulk for which Pilates is known.
MAT PILATES VS REFORMER PILATES
So Mat or Equipment?
This is one of the one of the most common question and sometimes it can be confusing for new comers.
Both Mat and Reformer workouts provide tremendous benefits, many Pilates newbies and regulars are often confused about which form is right for their current goals and abilities.
Both methods train you to initiate the movements from your body’s powerhouse (your core/centering) and accordingly will quickly translate into benefits across your day-to-day activities.
While you can perform the same series of exercises on the reformer that you can on the mat, the workouts are notably different.
Mat classes uses the body weight for exercises, while the Reformer adds resistance to the Pilates exercises via the use of the springs of the machine.
Due to the resistance and straps, moving carriage Reformer’s exercises variety available is greatly increased compared to Mat.
The level of Reformer I would say can reach from basic to highly advanced movements in virtually any position on the reformer.
The Reformer can also provide a more challenging strength and endurance due to resistance than mat classes, leading to visible results sooner.
Basically, you can do more exercises on a reformer compared to a mat and it gives you the option of performing exercises in more different body positions, from your back, side, stomach, being seated and also on your feet or knees.
Note also that pricing is different: Reformer’s classes are more pricey than Mat classes- due to the highest cost of the machine it self for studios.
So which one?
From my point of view: It depends on your need, goals and profiles. Don’t worry too much: both are complex systems, with very high end workouts. Both activate core’s muscles, body’s awareness and will help you get stronger, leaner and more conscious of your movements the right way.
MAT: for me Mat’s class IS great option for beginners because of its emphasis on learning how to control your muscles during exercises and focus on your body and breathing with no interference of the machine. Mat is only using your body weight and that makes a whole challenge. Plus it’s super easy you don’t need anything but yourself and mat. Can practice anywhere, everywhere.
But don’t be fooled, Advanced Mat classes are the hardest because you’re using your body all the time, the reformer isn’t there assisting or supporting you.
REFORMER; I like to use Reformer with Men, injured people, rehab and pre/postnatal women. Reformer resistance, straps and movement is helping assisting the workout and can help client’s feel their muscles easier and faster.
It’s very good for rehab as it’s very good to target on specific muscle area and also to work on physical unbalances.
Reformer frame 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 had knee surgery/ 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 own body weight, speeding up their recovery through controlled movement.
Another example is someone with scoliosis, they may find it difficult to do Mat Pilates, but with the Reformer they are able to increase their range of motion safely and effectively. Correct their postures faster and develop muscle’s strength on their weaker side with more precise workout.
For the same reasons I find it amazing on Prenatal workouts as most pregnant women suffer from deep unbalances and back pain but can’t lay down the whole class. With reformer we can play in other planes such as kneeling, sideways, up on your feet, and much more.
WHAT CLIENTS SAY
Marylin, 34 yo, former Athlete, beginner practitioner
“I found Reformer easier that it targets faster my muscles and I can control my movement better with the help and assistance of the machine. Mat is nice too but really difficult and hard to control your body at the first place”
Marie 28 yo, Young Mom, practicing Pilates postnatal,
“For me Reformer helps work deeply and target more precisely some group of muscles; Thanks to the moving carriage It challenges gravity and balance and help me work on my weaker side and muscles’ unbalance. I feel every inch of body’s muscle; With resistance you can choose heavy / lighter and that push you through your limits and beyond;When I stretch with Reformer I can go deeper in my stretches and reach a bigger range of motion. I love the Reformer, definitively my favorite!”
Arnaud, 41 yo, Reformer and Yoga practitioner
“Reformer allows me to focus more on my breathing, the machine helps me structure my practice. As a beginner it gives me a strong guidance and the ability to work deeply and effectively, with no risk of injuries. I like the emphasize on my upper body: arms and back exercises are really interesting and shaped me fast. Fully recommend to do Reformer ”
Private Class 1-1 @Jey’s Studio (Xinhua road, Changning district, Shanghai) First trial 350 rmb- More infos & Booking Wechat Jeydancepilates Phone 18302148381 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website : www.jeydancepilates.com