Do you remember the first time you saw a Pilates reformer? Maybe you were too shy to admit, but we know you probably thought it looked like some sort of torture device at first. You were likely wondering how or where you were supposed to sit on this contraption with springs hanging everywhere, ropes and pulleys, a footbar, and more. Of course, by now you should certainly know that the reformer is not a torture device! In fact, the Pilates reformer is one of the most versatile, modifiable, and ingenious pieces of exercise equipment you’ll ever use.
The amount of exercises and variations of exercises you can do on the reformer are seemingly endless. The comprehensive design of the reformer and the variety of positions one can assume on the reformer allow for the variation in exercises. Footwork, legs in straps, arms in straps, kneeling, side lying, standing, plank positions, you name it—the possibilities are endless! We would surely need more than two hands to count the number of exercises or positions that can be done with the reformer…but can you think of any other piece of equipment you would find at your local gym that you would even need one hand to count the possible number of positions or exercises? Just think, you would likely use a minimum of 5 different pieces of equipment at the gym just to complete a full body workout. With the reformer, you can get a full body workout with just one piece of equipment! (And in my opinion, a more challenging workout than is possible with any piece of traditional gym equipment.)
Like most, you’ve probably experienced an injury or physical limitation at some point in your life. When this happens, the thought of exercise with (or even without) equipment is a bit nerve-racking. You worry that you might further hurt yourself, that you don’t have enough balance, or that equipment won’t provide enough support for stability. Guess what? None of these are any concern with the reformer! As Pilates instructors, we pride ourselves in having the ability to offer exercise regimens for every body regardless of physical limitations or fitness level. The reformer is just one of the many pieces of equipment we use to do so. The reformer allows us extensive flexibility to alter spring tension, modify positioning, work within healthy ranges of motion while moving in all three planes of movement, and support parts of the body while working other parts.
I mentioned working or moving in all planes of movement. This is one particular advantage the Pilates reformer has over traditional gym equipment. Most pieces of gym equipment allow for a very limited number of exercises often times only in one plane of movement. In other words, you can move your arms up and down or out and in, but most pieces of gym equipment won’t allow you to do both—and they definitely won’t allow you to move your arms or legs in a circular motion or what is referred to as circumduction. Moving and working the body in all three planes of movement in all ranges of movement is essential for optimal movement mechanics. This translates to greater agility, better balance, and enhanced neuromuscular coordination.
The list goes on and on about how advantageous the Pilates reformer is. Ultimately, the Pilates reformer is the one-stop piece of equipment for all your workout needs related to building functional strength and flexibility. So, whether your continuing to understand or just starting to explore all that the reformer has to offer, we hope you join us for reformer classes (or more reformer classes) at MPS or Central Core!