It is not uncommon for people interested in starting their Pilates journey to be confused by the Reformer. While at first glance it may look like a rather intimidating piece of equipment, rest assured that it is surprisingly simple to use. Better yet, it can provide a host of unique benefits that will do wonders for your health and fitness.
Whether you’re a Pilates newbie or just looking to learn a little more about the Reformer, this article will help you understand exactly what it is and how it can enhance your fitness.
The Reformer is a piece of apparatus resembling a bed with a flat platform on it – called a ‘carriage’ – that moves around on wheels. There are shoulder rests, a footbar, straps or ropes with handles attached, and springs. The handles are pulled with your legs and arms, which moves the carriage as well. Resistance is created through the springs, which can be adjusted depending on your ability or how intense you would like your session to be. Simple as can be!
So – what are the benefits of the Reformer?
As noted above, the Reformer can be easily adjusted to suit your ability. This means that as you get better at Pilates, you can easily increase the resistance using the springs and continue to make progress, all while using the same piece of equipment. This gives Reformer Pilates the added luxury of simplicity. There is no need to get to grips with an endless number of machines – every exercise can be done using one piece of equipment.
What’s more? The fact the Reformer can be easily modified means it can be used for a multitude of fitness goals. Whether you’re looking to tone your muscles, train for a specific sport, or are in need of exercise rehabilitation, the Reformer can be altered to suit your preferences. There are also a variety of classes at our Godalming and Guildford studios to further suit your needs.
While it’s true that Pilates places an emphasis on core strength, and the Reformer indeed honours this, it is also an effective tool for strengthening your entire body. This is all thanks to the straps and springs, which can be used for a multitude of exercises to target a range of muscle groups. From bicep curls to leg circles, the Reformer is a versatile piece of equipment that can help you target just about any muscle you desire.
Furthermore, the springs on the Reformer target not only the larger muscle movers, but the smaller muscle stabilisers too. This, in turn, counteracts muscle imbalance, therefore preventing injury and optimising your overall fitness.
Unlike other forms of exercise like running or jump squats, the Reformer is low-impact and joint-friendly. This makes Reformer Pilates ideal for those who are older, recovering from injury, or prone to joint pain. As the reformer allows you to exercise on a horizontal plane, a significant load is taken off your joints, meaning you can exercise without worrying about putting too much stress on your body.
In fact, one study found that participants with chronic joint pain saw a positive improvement in muscle strength after practicing Reformer Pilates. Researchers believed that this was due to the Reformer’s ability to reduce stress on the joints and help make it easier to move through exercises.
If you’re someone who needs variety in their workouts, don’t let the fact that Reformer Pilates is done with a single piece of equipment put you off! Hundreds of exercises can be done on the reformer, meaning no two sessions need look the same. Given that variety is often correlated with consistency, the Reformer offers a simple way to keep your exercise classes exciting but not overwhelming. To help with this at The Pilates Movement we utilise a variety of additional equipment such as dumbbells, Pilates circles, roll up poles, jump boards and more… Our Reformers are absolutely top of the line, so you will be experiencing your classes on the best machines the industry can offer!
Hopefully, this article has shown that (despite its complex appearance) the Reformer is a user-friendly and versatile piece of equipment with a myriad of benefits. If you’re convinced, we invite you to join us for a Reformer Pilates session at either one of our Godalming or Guildford studios. Our expert trainers will be here to answer any of your questions and help make your experience of the Reformer as comfortable as possible. Sign up for a class today and experience the wonders of the Reformer for yourself.