Reformer Pilates – what is it all about?
Reformer Pilates is growing in popularity. Recently we discussed Pilates in general and explained that there are two main types.
There is the Pilates that is performed only on a mat, but there is also a version that involves the use of specialist equipment and machines.
The name of one of these specialised machines is the reformer.
The history of the modern day reformer is an unusual one.
The basic idea was developed a hundred years ago during World War 1. It was developed to help injured soldiers to exercise and build strength and flexibility whilst they were still bed bound.
But today, the modern machines are incredibly well designed.
Background to Pilates
Its founder was a dedicated student of a wide variety of exercises.
Joseph Pilates combined Western and Eastern ideas about health and physical fitness and was one of the first to do so.
He was influenced by Greek and Roman ideas on exercise as well as body-building.
He also looked at gymnastics, tai chi, martial arts and Zen meditation in his work too.
That all makes it sound very complicated but with proper instruction, anyone can do Pilates.
What exercises are performed on a Pilates reformer?
Pilates has not always been known by that name. Originally it was called Contrology.
This gives us a useful insight into how the exercises are performed. There is a real emphasis on precision, as you will see in this short video.
The reformer is one of the most versatile pieces of exercise equipment you can find.
It can be used to strengthen a variety of different muscle groups and has also been shown to improve low back pain, increase flexibility and restore balance.
You can target virtually any muscle group in the body, including many that tend to get overlooked.
What are the benefits of reformer pilates?
Because of the added resistance of the springs, this is a type of exercise that is high-intensity but low impact.
Among other things, it is of great use during pregnancy. The low impact nature is perfect for swollen joints, the pelvic floor exercises will help during childbirth and core work will help ease back pain.
Exercising during your pregnancy will maintain a base level of tone and fitness, helping your body to snap back more easily after pregnancy.
It is also great for posture. Engaging your core isn’t just about getting great abs; it does wonders for your posture too.
Your muscles contract to keep you balanced throughout the movements, thus improving your stability and creating better posture and alignment.
It can also be beneficial for strengthening and weight loss. And something that is often overlooked is the positive impact it can have on mood. Controlled and relaxed movements and controlled breathing can have a meditative effect on the mind.
Give it a try!