Reformer pilates classes offer an effective, low-impact whole body workout that focuses on building strength and rebalancing muscles. It helps strengthen major muscle movers but also activates small stabilisers and enhances flexibility. A regular Pilates programme will improve posture, movement and core strength, and help with balance, and can alleviate back pain.
There are a number of different types of reformer classes offered by various studios. The key is to choose the right class for your experience level and body type. If you are new to Pilates, start with a beginner class and build up your skills before progressing to an intermediate class. If you’re already experienced, find a class that challenges your skill and pushes you to challenge yourself.
The most common piece of equipment used in Pilates is the Reformer. It consists of a flat platform with a carriage that moves across the floor, a back and front platform, and sometimes two sets of resistance straps. Springs are attached to the bar that allow for adjustable resistance to vary the exercise, with most traditional reformers having yellow, blue and red springs. A stronger student can add more springs, while a less experienced student may only use the lighter ones.
Instructors usually shout out the levels of springs during class to make it easy for students to choose their appropriate challenge. However, students should always be aware of what they are doing on the machine. Keeping hands and feet away from the spring area will help prevent injury. The heavier springs on the reformer will provide more resistance, while the smaller springs are more for balance and stability work.
A good Pilates instructor will be able to explain the mechanics of the reformer and the different parts so that students can feel comfortable on the equipment. It’s also important for instructors to understand each student’s abilities and needs, which includes any injuries or medical conditions that may affect their performance.
Reformer Pilates classes are great for runners, as they can help with posture, stabilisation and the strengthening of specific muscles that are often weakened in running. It can also help with breathing, which is a big benefit for athletes as it increases the oxygen flow to the diaphragm and can boost stamina.
Pregnancy reformer pilates is a fantastic workout for pregnant women, as it helps to strengthen the deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles. This reduces pressure on the spine and can increase postural awareness and comfort during pregnancy. In addition, it can help reduce back pain and prepare for labour. As with all exercises, a qualified Pilates teacher should be consulted before beginning a pregnancy reformer program to ensure it is safe. In most cases, Pilates matwork training is required before moving on to reformer training. This is because matwork gives a strong foundation of understanding and skill before moving to the more challenging reformer apparatus. Often, it can take months to build up enough strength and confidence to move onto more advanced Pilates reformer exercises.