What's A Reformer?
The Pilates Reformer is a machine that has a sliding carriage and springs that you can adjust to make exercises easier or harder. There are straps, handles, a jump-board, a box, and bars that allow you to do an infinite number of exercises laying down, seated, and standing. Some people argue that they see results faster when using the reformer, because of the added resistance. The reformer works to develop your physical fitness in every way; you can work to build strength, flexibility, coordination, speed, agility and endurance.
I encourage my clients to start with Pilates Mat workouts to learn the basic principals of pilates and to help strengthen their core. Once my clients have an understanding of the mat work then they progress on to the reformer. Some mat exercises can get easier over time, but once you do them on the reformer they can become a challenge. The varied spring resistances allows you to do one exercise many different ways. You can go with light resistance, which puts more of the work in your core, or add a heavier resistance which gives your extremities more of the workout.
Centering: Focus is on the center of the body (core), your body's alignment and mentally centering your self.
Control: Your muscles are always being controlled, so that each movement is thought out and specific.
Concentration: All exercises should demand your full concentration to work you body to its maximum.
Breath: "Breathing is the first act of life, and the last...above all, learn to breath correctly." (From Joseph Pilates' book Return to Life Through Contrology). Diaphragmatic breathing is incorporated into every exercise.
Flow: To create a flow and ease in your practice, so that you can move from one exercise to the next with grace.
Precision: All exercises must be precisely performed and with proper alignment.
The benefits of pilates and the reformer: toned thighs, a flat/tight tummy, smaller hips, strong glutes, improved posture, rehabilitation, spinal alignment, and an increase in flexibility. Pilates helps to give your muscles a long, lean look without creating bulk.
The reformer changed my body and strengthened my core and legs unlike any thing else. I swear that the reformer transformed my butt and helped me get my body back after having my daughter. The results I saw within myself and the results I see on a regular basis with my clients makes the reformer my absolute favorite piece of equipment and workout. If you haven't tried a reformer class yet I would highly recommend it!