Strong Shoulders with Reformer Pilates

Jun 19, 2018

So you’ve already tucked your children into bed and you’re waiting for your husband to arrive home, who’s right now uberly late from work. Knowing he’s tired and it’s your anniversary, you’re looking to surprise him with his favourite dinner paired with a glass of red wine and a relaxing full body aromatherapy massage. And so, you prepared a meal especially for him. When he gets home, he greets you with a kiss. And then you reach for that bottle of red wine only to find out you can’t uncork it because your shoulder is sore. Luckily, your husband is there to help you open it. And you ended up having your hubby massaging your shoulders instead of you giving a full body massage to his tired body.

Does this sound familiar?

If your shoulders hurt for some reason, most likely, it could be brought on by overuse, lack of flexibility or too much exercise with poor form or lack of strength.

Especially for the ladies in their middle age, probably, most of your days are tiring because you’re fully loaded with tasks at home and at work. You work here, shop for groceries there and carry stuff everywhere. Just to be able to tick all those little boxes on your to-do list, somebody’s paying the price – your shoulders.

Sometimes, we take our shoulders for granted. The shoulder joint is a very mobile joint. But this mobility comes at the expense of stability. That’s why it’s easy for it to get sore. Sometimes, simple tasks like combing hair and putting on clothes become challenging.

Women are sometimes at higher risk of shoulder pain. Compared to men, women have a weaker set of shoulders which is why it’s so important to make sure our shoulders, as well as the surrounding muscles, are strong to be able to cope with the high demands of everyday life.

Maybe you’re thinking there was a mechanical problem with the rotator cuff of your shoulders. Maybe you’re thinking it’s in the bone and ligaments. But it can be more complex than this. Not to mention with the normal ageing process, the structures of the shoulders degenerate little by little.

There’s what experts have called subacromial pain syndrome, which is defined as all non-traumatic, usually one-sided shoulder problems that cause pain, localized around the acromion (outer end of the shoulder blade) often worsening during or subsequent to the lifting of the arm. It comes in different terms including bursitis, tendinosis Calcarea, supraspinatus tendinopathy, a partial tear of the rotator cuff, biceps tendinitis, and tendon cuff degeneration.

How to Strengthen Your Shoulders and Minimise Shoulder Pain

Reformer Pilates is an effective way to minimise shoulder pain. There are a lot of reasons why this should be included in your weekly lifestyle.

Reformer Pilates is a full-body workout that helps you create self-awareness. If you become more aware of your body, it can reduce injury risk by allowing you to move more efficiently. As a great core workout, Reformer Pilates helps you get those strong abdominal muscles.

What does a strong core do for the shoulders, you say?

It saves your shoulder from injury. Your core supports your other body parts. If your core is weak or inflexible or too active, your shoulders will compensate for it. This means they have to exert more effort to be able to move efficiently.

Reformer Pilates teaches you to use your shoulder muscles more effectively. It activates and strengthens the muscles that stabilise your shoulders. In turn, it can reduce shoulder issues.

Correct alignment, body awareness, and relaxed breathing are Pilates principles that you can apply to any prescribed exercises, which improves the quality of the exercise themselves.

And speaking of exercise, a 2016 systematic review by MN Haik et al showed that exercise therapy is the best conservative therapy to reduce pain, improve function and increase range of motion in people with shoulder pain.

The researchers included 64 randomised controlled trials investigating physical therapy modalities for subacromial pain syndrome on pain, function or range of motion. The review includes comparison among exercise therapy, no treatment, placebo, sham, and other treatments such as surgery and injection.

It was found that exercise therapy provided strong evidence being as effective as surgery and better than no treatment or placebo to improve pain, function and range of motion.

They also added that exercises that restore muscle flexibility and strength to the shoulders should be used as the first line of treatment before resorting to surgery.

Exercises with mobilizations such as Reformer Pilates may optimize improvements in pain and function. So if you almost live with shoulder pain, you might want to book a Reformer Pilates class in Perth.

If you perform Reformer Pilates regularly, you’ll have stronger shoulders and you might not need to massage your sore shoulder from time to time. You might even toss away the painkillers or completely forget about surgery!

Keep your shoulders ready for daily life’s challenges. Book a Reformer Pilates session with us! Call us today on 9272 7359 or click here to learn more.



  • Diercks R, Bron C, Dorrestijn O, et al. Guideline for diagnosis and treatment of subacromial pain syndrome: A multidisciplinary review by the Dutch Orthopaedic Association. Acta Orthopaedica. 2014;85(3):314-322. doi:10.3109/17453674.2014.920991.
  • Haik MN, Alburquerque-Sendín F, Moreira RFC, et al. Effectiveness of physical therapy treatment of clearly defined subacromial pain: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Br J Sports Med 2016;50:1124-1134.