What Is Reformer Pilates? | HyperLuxe Activewear
What is Reformer Pilates and How Can It Transform Your Workout Routine?
Reformer pilates occasionally gets a bad wrap for being perceived as a lazy exercise option but anyone who has stretched, clenched and flexed their way through an entire reformer pilates class can confidently debunk that myth.
Sure, reformer pilates is largely done while lying on your back, which certainly makes it extra appealing to those of us who don’t enjoy high impact exercises, but when done correctly, reformer pilates provides a challenging all body workout that activates muscles you probably didn’t know existed.
What is reformer pilates?
A fantastic option for anyone looking to build muscle strength without putting undue strain on their joints, reformer pilates was initially devised in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates while he worked as a nurse during WWI.
Keen to expedite soldiers’ recoveries during extended hospital stays, Joseph attached springs to patients’ beds to enable them to remain active and stretch out fatigued muscles while on prolonged bed rest. Following WWI, the flexible entrepreneur developed the first dedicated pilates reformer with a moving carriage, and the rest is history.
A century after its inception, reformer pilates is loved by millions of people of all ages across the globe - from young folk who appreciate a full body workout that tones muscles and increases strength, to the young at heart who may be recovering from an injury or seeking to preserve their mobility, balance and flexibility, while decreasing their risk of falls.
What are the benefits of reformer pilates?
The benefits of reformer pilates are numerous, which is one of the main reasons behind its popularity. Loved by athletes, celebrities and civilians alike, reformer pilates improves muscle strength and posture, increases flexibility and can help reduce back pain by strengthening and stabilising the muscles that support your spine.
What to expect from reformer pilates?
Before joining a reformer pilates group class, many physiotherapists and instructors recommend doing a couple of guided one-on-one sessions first to become acquainted with the anatomy of a pilates reformer and to learn important principles such as how to activate your pelvic floor and when to inhale/exhale while on the reformer.
These one-on-one sessions are particularly important for anyone with an injury or ongoing health concern so that your instructor can develop a rehabilitation plan that will challenge you without flaring up existing injuries.
No matter your fitness level, your instructor will likely start you off on a series of basic movements that are important to master before moving on to more advanced poses and positions. While they may look simple, it’s vital to learn how to do these movements properly to ensure you’re activating the correct muscles.
If you’re fighting fit and keen to tone your abs, glutes, arms and legs, your go-to reformer pilates studio will likely clear you to join a group class from the get-go.
Is reformer pilates hard?
The great thing about reformer pilates is that it can be as easy or as hard as you want it to be.
If you’re simply after a good stretch, you can spend an hour doing gentle movements, whereas if you’re keen to break a sweat, there are plenty of very challenging exercises to try out on a reformer.
Your instructor will help you choose the correct combination of springs, which add resistance, depending on your fitness level. The ability to customise springs for your fitness and strength level is fantastic as it ensures you don’t go too hard, too quickly, and end up with an injury or strain.
While some reformer pilates moves only activate a couple of key muscles, more advanced exercises, such as The Boomerang, require input from muscles located all over your body. Definitely not a move to try during your first reformer pilates session!
How does reformer pilates differ from mat pilates?
While reformer pilates exercises add resistance via the use of springs, mat pilates exercises utilise your own body weight as resistance. Many reformer and mat pilates exercises look very similar, but the addition of the reformer can make exercises significantly more challenging.
What to wear to reformer pilates?
Considering how much bending and stretching is involved in reformer pilates, you’ll want to wear a comfortable outfit that isn’t going to roll down or ride up, as well as a pair of grippy socks, like the Move Active Unisex Crew Non Slip Grip Socks, to help stop your feet from slip sliding around on the equipment.
Non slip socks are particularly important to maintain your balance and sure footedness for exercises that require you to stand on the reformer. Many reformer pilates studios won’t let you step foot near their reformers without appropriate grippy socks so you absolutely must invest in a pair before your first class or one-on-one session.
Look and feel the part with Hyperluxe
When it comes to clothing, form fitting styles such as leggings, bike shorts, crop tops and figure hugging tees that move with you are recommended over oversize styles that may get in the way as you glide your hands and feet up to the ceiling while reclined on a reformer.
From Nimble to Leelo Active, Vie Active and P.E Nation, HyperLuxe offers one of the widest array of outfits suited to be worn for reformer pilates. Visit us in store or online to find the perfect set for your next class or one-on-one session.