What is a Pilates Reformer, Why is it good for me?…
My most Frequently Asked Questions.
When you first see a Pilates Reformer it has a powerful effect - your imagination goes wild on how can it possibly be used for anything other than torture. Then, when you use the Pilates Reformer, you feel and experience a powerful effect on your body. Pilates Reformer classes are becoming more and more popular as the work is incredibly efficient and effective to all over body conditioning and it’s fun to do and rewarding to get better at it.
What Is a Pilates Reformer?
The Reformer was invented by Pilates founder Joseph Pilates. It is a bed-like frame that has a piece on which to lie or stand that is called a carriage. The carriage is attached to springs on one end and moves back and forth on wheels within the frame. The springs add or reduce the level of resistance to the carriage as the exercises push or pull it along the wheels. There are shoulder rests at one end to keep you stable on the carriage and at the other end, where the springs are, there is a foot bar. The footbar is used to move the carriage by the pushing the feet but also by the hands depending on exercise. Body weight and the springs provide the resistance that make the carriage more or less difficult to move.
There are straps that are attached to the carriage that are used by either the feet of the hands and again the springs and bodyweight will make make the resitance lighter or heavier to move the carriage. All parts Reformer can be adjusted to suit everyone and skill level, modified to make them accessable to anyone or more challenging to an advanced practitioner.
How does a Reformer Work?
The Reformer is remarkable in its versatility and can be used lying down, sitting down, standing, front lying, side sitting or standing either pushing with feet on hands on the footbar or arms pulling straps, legs pulling straps, hands using the shoulder rests to move the carriage. It has it all going on.
The variety of exercises and the resistance of the springs used to push, pull or hold the carriage still create long, lean muscles, strength, balance, flexibility, balance and coordination and add another dimension to the Pilates Matwork.
This means that this one piece of equipment can train and condition the body in so many different ways, dynamically or deliberately on so many different levels that the efficiency and effectiveness of the Pilates Reformer classes is unrivalled and its no wonder why so many are choosing this method for themselves.
What are The Benefits?
The Reformer offers all the benefits of Pilates which include overall strength, long lean muscles, balance, coordination, flexibility, spinal mobility, helps correct posture. Over time this has an effect on your daily life improving how you move and hold yourself, reducing aches and pains, helping reduce stress and finding more activities enjoyable and exciting, feeling strong from the inside out. The way you move your body is reflected in the way you move through life.
The core is strengthened and fortified giving you strong, flat abdominals and deep abdominals that support the spine. Your gluts become strong, toned and lifted which also supports the lower back and pelvis. Your hips, thighs and pelvis are all strengthened and balanced as a result of Pilates Reformer classes and the varied and unique exercise experience it brings.
The spring resistance and straps go the extra mile in creating the long lean muscles, and flexibility is not only increased but it becomes easier to achieve and maintain. Bone strength in also increased by the pushing and pulling against higher resistance levels. The deep support muscles of the body are challenged further by the instability of the carriage and adds an extra dimension to the already incredible Pilates matwork.
Probably the most notable difference between Pilates on the Mat and Pilates on the Reformer, apart from the increased resistance challenge benefits and assisting with greater flexibility, is that it encourages eccentric muscle resistance which lengthens and strengthens the muscle as it resists force - giving the muscles strength without bulk.
The Reformer and its benefits are for anyone and everyone from people new to exercise to elite athletes and I have never met anyone who hasn’t had an amazing experience working on them.
How Much DOes It Cost?
Since there are many options it is important to know what you are looking to do, what your goals are and why you have decided to reach out, in order for me to know what will best suit you. A Group class ranges from the Intro offer at 16€ to 35€ for a casual class, with around 25€ a class, being the average but it will depend. You want to achieve results and so making a commitment to yourself has value. Have a look at my intro offers so you can try, and if you like it we can talk about if any of my packages will suit you and your needs.
How Many Classes Should I Take?
Joseph Pilates famously said, “In 10 sessions you’ll feel the difference, in 20 sessions you’ll see the difference, and in 30 sessions you’ll have a whole new body.” but how you arrive to these benchmarks will be personal to you, your needs and your level of commitment.
You will feel a difference after one Reformer class, but to have lasting change and see and feel a real difference then a minimum of one class a week, or preferably two, over a 12 week period will set you on your way.
I usually work in blocks of 12 week packages, with an option to pay in one go or monthly. I rarely offer a 5 or 10 class pass, for example, as the model doesn’t get results for my client. There is an option to come to one off classes, as some clients are just passing through and so suits popping in.
I know we have demanding lifestyles, and our self care gets put on the backburner a lot of the time, but it’s important to look after yourself and work your body and mind as a priority. You can’t give from an empty bucket so make sure yours is full and think about your goals and why they are important to you. You will feel more energetic, strong, reslient and this will spill over into your life and into your home. Our self care gives a great message to those around us.
Is It a Cardio workout?
Initially the workout is deliberate and slow because getting the basics correct is important. As you get more familar with the work we can get more dynamic. The range of motion increases as does the speed and it then becomes more aerobic as you get into the advanced work. I often do a bit of work to get the heart rate up as this is good for us, warms us up so our muscles are moulded more easily, and gets out metabolism going. Pilates can be cardiovascular, yes, but is not in itself a cardio based method.
Can Anyone Do It?
With very few exeptions Pilates on the Reformer is accessible to anyone and everyone, whether you are new to exercise, injured or an elite athlete. Exercises can be adapted and modified so everyone gets what they need. I have never met or taught anyone who has not felt better after a session.
How Do I book?
Go to the Into Offers page and decide if you would like to try the Group Intro Offer or the Private Intro Offer. If you prefer Group, then check the timetable on the Times and Prices page to see if there is a class that suits you before buying.
When you have bought the offer, I will then send you an email to Thank you and send you a basic client information form, so I can know a bit about any previous experience, injuries, or conditions you may have, and make the class safe for you. I will ask you at what time you would like to come, and book you in. And then we can take it from there.
Can Pilates Help My Back Pain?
By promoting a strong, stable but flexible spine and improving posture Pilates can help with your back pain and prevent future pain and injury. Joseph Pilates said that If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old, if it is completely flexible at 60, you are young. So the spine is super important and I teach my clients how to move sequentially and with contol. We re-educate movement patterns and work the deep abdominals which support the spine.
Can Pilates Help Me Lose Weight?
Pilates is effective on toning up muscles, and becoming strong and fexible and can help you lose weight if thats a goal you are working towards, but it is not focused on weight loss. It may not be effective as other cardio exercises such as running or cross fit, but it can certainly help. As you get into the advanced repetiore it is more dynamic and cardi but to begin with it kind on the joints and the focus in on deliberate movement and strength and stretch with control.
Pilates calms the nervous system and reduces adreneline and cortisol and thus can help lose weight. Also positive lifestyle changes can have a positive knock on effect on people’s eating habits, and thus the desire to overeat or for comfort subsides and healthier food choices come more naturally.