You have probably noticed that our physiotherapy center has a Clinical Pilates program. Don´t let the word “clinical” intimidate you. Our certified Pilates professionals can design programs for athletes, or just people who want to stay in shape. Besides, everyone should experience the Pilates reformer at one point in his or her life.
What is the Pilates Reformer?
The Pilates reformer consists of a spring and pulley system, which is attached to a moveable carriage. Some of the reformer exercises require you to place your hands or feet in the stirrups of the pulleys. Others have you position your feet on a height-adjusted foot bar. The springs of the reformer are color coded according to the amount of resistance they supply.
In addition to the basic components of the Pilates reformer, the apparatus has head and shoulder adjustments. If you have ever felt uncomfortable in a Pilates mat class, these adjustment devices help put your upper body in the correct alignment, so you can perform the exercises in proper form.
Using the Pilates Reformer
If you have taken Pilates mat classes, you are already familiar with the fundamental principles of Pilates. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Pilates, or for those who need a refresher, these include:
- Fluidity of movement
Athletic Movements on the Reformer
The mat and the Pilates reformer both adhere to these principles, but the reformer keeps things interesting by adding resistance, increasing the range of motion of the exercise and facilitating exercises in all body positions. Standing exercises, for example, are less common in mat classes. The moving platform of the reformer lets you perform standing exercises that simulate sport-specific movement patterns.
The reformer also enables a form of plyometric exercise. When the Pilates instructor works with an athletic client, he or she might substitute the foot bar with a jump board. The jump board allows you to perform plyometric movements from a supine position. Since the carriage supports your back, this is an easy way to learn to maintain your spinal alignment whilst performing jumping movements.
Upper Body Workouts
The Pilates mat series consists of a diverse repertoire of exercises for your abdominal muscles, your core, your glutes, your hamstrings and quads, and your inner and outer thigh muscles. Only a minimum amount of attention is devoted to the muscles of your upper body. Of course, it is possible to use resistance bands on some of the exercises, but the Pilates reformer provides a more effective form of resistance for your upper body. Some exercises will use your body weight from a leveraged position, whilst others will use the resistance supplied by the pulley system. In some cases, you might be working your abs and your upper body simultaneously.
A challenging set of Pilates reformer upper body exercises are performed in a kneeling position. Since you can not use your legs for leverage, and since your back has no support, the kneeling reformer upper body series presents your core stabilizers with a formidable challenge.
A Pilates reformer workout might be just the little extra something that you need in your fitness program. Have a chat with one of our instructors! Call 08 9272 7359 today 🙂