Invented by Pilates founder Joseph Pilates, the reformer is a bed-like frame with a flat platform on it, called the carriage, which rolls back and forth on wheels within the frame. The carriage is attached to one end of the reformer by a set of springs and at the other end by a long set of straps on a pulley system. The springs provide choices of differing levels of resistance as the carriage is pushed or pulled along the frame. At the spring end of the reformer there is an adjustable bar called a footbar. The footbar can be used by the feet or hands as you move the carriage.
Body weight and resistance of the springs are what make the carriage more or less difficult to move. Reformers parts are adjustable for differing body sizes and for differing levels of skill. The instability of a rolling carriage with the springs set at different levels of resistance provides all kinds of stability challenges that develop core strength and promote better balance. For example, having less of the body on the carriage is one of the ways Pilates exercises get harder. It means more body weight has to be supported by yourself, and the body and machine have to be controlled even more from the core. Paradoxically, when the springs are on a lighter setting some exercises are more challenging for the core because it has to work harder to control and stabilize the movement. The stronger core, the better the balance, posture, and overall well-being.
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 thereof. In other words, the reformer can train many parts and dynamics of the body in so many different ways with just one relatively sleek piece of equipment.
It is beneficial for almost everyone – I have taught children as young as ten who found it was an important part of their ballet training to ensure global strength and flexibility up to a client in their 80’s who found the exercises provided enough resistance and movement variety to help maintain strong bones and balance.
Many people recovering from an injury particularly lower back or knee problems sometimes struggle to get down on to the floor for a mat class – this is where the Reformer is beneficial as its raised platform is easy to sit down safely.
There are so many benefits to using Pilates equipemnt, why not come and try a session get in touch today to book!