Traditional Pilates Enhanced with the Pilates Reformer
The Pilates reformer is an iconic piece of equipment that uses resistance to help lengthen and strengthen your muscles during high-intensity, low-impact workouts. By lifting, pushing, and pulling on the various apparatuses and combo offerings the reformer uses, you can access different kinds of movements than with classic Pilates mat routines.
The varied combinations and workouts on the reformer are endless. Of course, there’s only one way to truly understand just how the reformer works and why it’s such a revered piece of Pilates equipment—by taking a Pilates reformer class at Sheppard Method Pilates of Westwood!
What is the Pilates Reformer?
The Pilates reformer was first created by Joseph Pilates in 1946 and uses a system of pulleys and springs, which are adjustable for different levels of resistance. The machine is made up of a padded carriage on a wooden frame that is connected with the springs; on one end are shoulder blocks to keep your body aligned, and on the other end is a foot bar to push with your feet or hands as you use your strength against your set resistance to slide the carriage like a sled along the reformer track.
Additional reformer equipment and props such as straps, jump board, vertical tower, Pilates box, dowel sticks, and Pilates balls and rings can also all be added to the machine or incorporated into reformer exercises to create a diverse, and even more effective strength and cardio workout, depending on what you are looking for.
How Does the Pilates Reformer Work?
Like mat Pilates, the reformer will benefit your posture, improve your circulation, and increase overall mental health. Additionally, your body weight and the reformer system’s resistance allow for a high-intensity and low-impact full-body workout. With the Pilates reformer, you will also improve muscle tone, flexibility, and range of motion. Resistance training also helps to build strength without the risk of injury, as weightlifting can.
Pilates reformer classes offer a slow-paced, therapeutic routine that can focus on alignment and biomechanics, or a high-intensity cardio workout that burns calories without putting stress on the joints, knees, ankles, or lower back. Your mat Pilates experience will also improve, as the increased muscle strength as you focus on using new and subtle muscle groups to lift, push, and stretch yourself on the reformer.
Combination Workouts with The Reformer
One of the many advantages of the Pilates Reformer is its versatility. Through combination approaches and the use of additional props and equipment, you can truly make a Pilates reformer workout anything you need it to be. Some common reformer additions and combos include:
- Jump board: The cardio of the Reformer, this padded foot plate is locked into place at the foot of the machine, allowing you to “jump” while lying supine on the carriage, using your rebound to accelerate back and forth on the reformer track.
- Pilates sitting box: This prop adds height to the reformer to assist you in optimal sitting positions. Using this box allows for a greater range of movement in the torso, arms, and legs while facilitating exercises when lying on the reformer.
- Up stretch combo: The long stretch series is a popular routine using the reformer and includes the up stretch combo. Using the shoulder blocks and foot bar opposite—your feet are actually on the shoulder blocks and your hands on the foot bar! By alternating between a pike and a plank in this position, you will work your core, shoulders, legs, and back.
- Tower and reformer combo: A trapeze table or half trapeze, also known as Cadillac Pilates, is a separate piece of equipment that is similar to the reformer in its use of pulleys and springs. Some reformer machines, however, offer tower systems that can be attached to a reformer machine to offer a combination of tower and reformer Pilates, expanding exercise options.
- Pilates props with the reformer: Pilates props that we often see in mat Pilates such as the Magic Circle, small Pilates balls, as well as wooden dowels can also be incorporated into reformer workouts for added resistance and mobility to target different parts of the body and vary your reformer workout.
Reformer Pilates Classes in Westwood
At Sheppard Method Pilates, we offer regular group reformer classes, guided by our expert Pilates instructors. By tailoring reformer workout programs for all levels of fitness and experience, you do not have to worry about your experience with the reformer machine. Every workout is different with all the combination options, so the reformer can offer something special to your Pilates routine. Come try out reformer Pilates at Sheppard Method in Westwood!
Call the Westwood Pilates instructors at Sheppard Method Pilates to discuss how we can help you include Reformer Pilates in your exercise regimen and boost your overall health.