Have you heard about the Pilates Reformer? At first glance, they can look intimidating. They are large with lots of moving parts. But I’m going to tell you what the Pilates reformer is and how it can really strengthen your core!
What is the Pilates Reformer?
The Pilates reformer is a machine that has springs for resistance, arm straps and a foot bar with a carriage that moves. The carriage moves against the spring’s resistance, which can be adjusted for difficulty level. During class, you move through a variety of positions on the carriage. These include sitting, lying down and standing.
How does it work?
When using the Pilates reformer, the springs provide resistance in order to strengthen and challenge the core. This is called “eccentric” strengthening. Essentially, you are lengthening the muscles while contracting them. This will give the long, lean look for which Pilates is well-known.
3 Benefits of the Pilates Reformer
1. Low impact
The class emphasizes controlled movements that are often done without a ton of movement. You are also using springs for resistance so there is no “pounding” on the joints. This is great for women looking to strengthen without stressing their joints too much.
2. Challenges your balance
Standing on the carriage or holding specific positions on the Pilates reformer will challenge your balance. You will need to utilize your stabilizing muscles to stay upright. Everything is able to be modified so don’t let poor balance deter you!
Using an attachment called the jump-board allows us to get your heart rate up (all while being low impact) to increase cardiovascular health. It’s also great for athletes looking to cross-train like runners.
How does it challenge the core?
Traditional Pilates includes exercises and movements that are demanding of the core muscles. In return, it helps strengthen them along with the other stabilizing muscles. Since the majority of movements are on an unstable surface (ie: the moving carriage), your core also needs to be activated throughout in order to maintain your stability.
At Revitalize Physical Therapy, we are always finding new, exciting movements to try on the Pilates reformer that will strengthen your core and be fun at the same time!