When Joseph Pilates created his unique brand of exercise there no way he could have known how successful it would become. Now some 80-odd years later, Pilates is one of the most popular forms of exercise around the world. But there is often some confusion about which method is the most beneficial – mat or reformer.
What is a Pilates reformer?
When Joseph Pilates first created his own exercise routine it was performed on the floor – what we now know as Pilates matwork and it wasn’t until his internment in a POW Camp that Joseph adapted hospital beds with springs and rope that the first Pilates reformer was born.
The modern day reformer is a specific piece of exercise equipment that allows users to add resistance to their Pilates moves while still performing each move as it was intended to aid the body. If you have never seen a Pilates reformer before then at first glance it can look it’s designed for torture rather than exercise but the reformer has numerous benefits in addition to those gained through Pilates matwork. A Pilates reformer should ideally have all, if not most, of the following:
- Strong frame
- Sliding platform with mat
- Soft rollers
- Elastic cords
- Foam pads
- Padded cushion
- Non-slip frame caps
- Foot bar
Today’s reformers allow users to provide additional tension and resistance thanks to the pulleys and cords attached to the frame. With a Pilates reformer, users are able to perform movements lying, standing, kneeling or sitting with measured resistance throughout the entire workout.
Check out this video of a Pilaates reformer workout:
The benefits of a Pilates reformer
While any form of Pilates is extremely beneficial, the reformer provides additional benefits to those gained from matwork. Using a Pilates reformer can help you achieve the following:
- Long slender muscles
- Strong shoulders
- Strong chest
- Defined arms
- Slimmer calves, hips and thighs
- Tighter buns
- Firm, slim abs
- Strong core
- Increased flexibility
- Improved posture
- Improved breathing
- Improved sense of well-being
- Mind-body connection
In addition to the above benefits, the Pilates reformer can also offer the following benefits:
- Help athletes develop a strong core and increase their agility and performance. Regularly using a Pilates reformer can also help reduce the risk of injury;
- Corrects spinal and pelvic misalignment and improve muscular control;
- Reduce blood sugar levels and improve management and control of diabetes;
- Improve balance and reduce the risk of falls and injuries in people suffering from osteoporosis;
- Is a suitable form of exercise for anyone with heart problems;
- Is suitable for pregnant women and can improve blood circulation, muscular relaxation, boost energy levels and help prepare the body for labor;
- Is suitable for anyone with back, hip or knee problems who find other forms of exercise (including matwork) difficult or painful.
If you are looking for an alternative form of exercise that is practical and beneficial to your health and well-being then the Pilates reformer could be just what you are looking for. Contact your nearest Pilates studio or teacher for more information about how a Pilates reformer could improve your health and change your body.[stextbox id=”grey” caption=”About the Author”]Emma holds a Bachelor of Applied Science (Human Movement) degree and has over 10 years experience in the health and fitness industry. During this time, Emma has worked as a personal trainer, sports trainer (TAC Cup U18 AFL), and a health promotion officer.[/stextbox]