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What is Reformer Pilates and why is it so good for you?

Chances are you have heard of Pilates. It is a popular low-impact exercise performing a series of core exercises that help flatten and tone your mid-section, as well as stabilize and support your spine and back.

But there is a different kind of Pilates, and it is getting more and more popular, and it is called Reformer Pilates. This type of Pilates is great for people recovering from an injury or those looking to home in on precise core movements and isolate more muscles than in mat Pilates.

What is a Reformer?

The Reformer consists of a solid, steady frame (not all are solid timber) and within that frame there a numerous moving part. Here are some of the individual parts that make up a Reformer:

  • Carriage - the carriage is what you sit, stand, kneel, or lay on. It glides up and down and is where the movement for each of the exercises occurs.

  • Footbar - sounds pretty self-explanatory right, that’s where you are wrong, it’s not just feet that rest on this, we have exercises where you rest your hands on here and some exercises don’t use the footbar at all (but where do my feet go we hear you ask? Keep scrolling to find out).

  • The springs - these are the resistance (like your weights at the gym) each spring colour corresponds to a different strength. The springs add the resistance to each of your movements!

  • Straps - There are two different sized straps attached to a rope and around a pulley. These straps are where your hands or feet go (but never at the same time). Put some springs on and place your hands or feet in the straps and you can add a challenge to the upper body and the lower body.

How do you use the Reformer?

A wide variety of exercises are done on the reformer to promote length, strength, flexibility, and balance. Most Pilates reformer exercises have to do with pushing or pulling the carriage or holding the carriage steady during an exercise as it is pulled on by the springs.

One of the best things about the reformer is its versatility. Exercises can be done lying down, sitting, standing, pulling the straps, pushing the footbar, perched on the ​footbar, perched on the shoulder blocks, with additional equipment, upside down, sideways, and all kinds of variations.

What are the benefits of Reformer Pilates?

  1. Full body workout - Using a Reformer to perform specific, individualised movements will give you a balanced, full body workout. The subtly of the springs on a Reformer, globally strengthens the whole body to not just target the large muscle movers, but also activate the smaller stabilisers. Where there is uneven weakness, you are also able to work unilaterally to focus in and correct imbalances.

  2. Builds strength and tones muscles - Reformer pilates allows you to move through full range while working on strengthening muscles. This dynamic form of exercise, cleverly uses the machine’s springs and levers to create resistance and allow for equal focus on the concentric and eccentric contractions to create long, lean, toned muscles. It not only targets major muscle groups, but also the small stabilising muscles are called to action when working on a reformer machine.

  3. Low impact (but high intensity) - Reformer Pilates is ideal, under professional guidance, for anyone suffering and recovering from an injury. The springs and ropes are specifically designed to enable you to work in the horizontal plane rather than weight bearing, reducing the load through your body. The low impact allows for repetitive movements to occur which in turn tones and strengthens the injured areas to speed recovery.

  4. Improves core and posture - Many of the exercises performed on a Reformer machine target the core whilst working the peripheral postural muscles at the same time. A stronger core is essential for ideal posture.

  5. Improves mental health - Since its creation, a lot of information focuses on the benefits of Reformer Pilates on increasing muscle strength, toning, improving flexibility and posture. Research continues to emerge on the positive impacts that Reformer Pilates has on Mental Health. From using the steadiness of your breath to find mindfulness in movement to stress management and relaxation. As a from of exercise, Reformer Pilates can reduce stress hormones like cortisol and increase endorphins, your body’s feel-good chemicals, giving you a natural mood boost. A Reformer program can be designed specially with these benefits in mind.

So now what...???

So now that you know what Reformer Pilates is, it's not as scary as it seems, there is only one thing you need to do us to secure your place in our brand new reformer classes starting in 2022!

And don't forget if you have any other questions about our classes or anything at all please do not hesistate to contact our team or send us and email to:

We can't wait to see you in the studio soon!

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