Generally, there are two kinds of Pilates programs. The first one is done on a mat while the other one incorporates a series of instruments. One of these instruments is the Reformer.
A typical Reformer is a device with a bed-like framework that is either made of wood or metal. Attached to it is a hard platform known as the carriage that has a head rest and movable shoulder block that are supposed to slide back and forth. In addition to this are multiple springs, a foot bar, pulleys and ropes. The goal of the Reformer is to provide resistance during exercise with the springs and your own body weight. The advantage of this device is that it provides more intensity making more results compared to mat-style programs.
Most modern Reformers come in color-coded springs that denote a certain level of tension which will be further explained by a trained instructor once you learn how to use it. He will be responsible for most of the adjustments in the device and you will gradually undergo different tensions as you go.
An exercise performed in a Reformer starts with your back lying against the carriage. Your head should be comfortable placed in the head rest while the shoulders are fixed in the movable blocks. You put your feet on the foot bar and start by pushing it away from your body. You repeatedly push it away while a specific tension on the spring makes every push harder to do. You do this continuously while breathing in a regular pattern. There are variations on the position of the feet and will require at least ten repetitions each.
Whether you use a Reformer or a mat for the exercises, you work to improve all aspects in the body like coordination, balance, strength, flexibility and strength. For development on the outer physical aspect, you get firm abs, strong back and toned thighs and buttocks.
There are more conditions that you can only do in a Reformer, making it more versatile compared to a mat. One of these is the unique muscle contractions you get in using it. It basically involved the stretching of the muscles against force and results in longer and leaner limbs.
As a beginner, you will undergo the lowest tension first. As you go up to higher tensions, your body will also change as well to accommodate the needed force to combat the resistance. Once you reach a considerable level, you will be qualified to increase the number of equipment such as circles, rings and resistance bands. These add-ons will not only make faster results but also add variety to the movements you make making Pilates overall dynamic.
Not sure what to expect from Pilates or if it’s right for you? Learn about this almost 100 year old program and why it continues to grow in popularity. The Pilates Fitness Guide helps you choose the best Pilates program for your needs and goals, guides you through the basic movements, and teaches you how to get the most from your efforts.