All About Pilates Reformer, The Gentle Yet Super-Effective Workout That Stars Love
“Reformer Pilates’ rise in popularity is due to the fact that this workout guarantees great results without the imposition of a grueling routine,” says Laura Quinn, practice director of this discipline at the Alo Wellness Club in Los Angeles. We’re talking about the low-impact workout practiced by celebrities like Hailey Bieber and Meghan Markle that has become the body sculpting routine currently favored by insiders. The reformer’s spring resistance system, which is essentially the same one developed by the inventor of this physical-mind workout, Joseph Pilates, provides linear sliding that does not require the use of electricity. In the past, exercise machines were only available in gyms, but today there are various versions for private use, which explains their rapid proliferation.
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Typically, people sign up for Quinn’s classes in hopes of a visible transformation of their “core” (the set of muscles found in the central part of our body) or the body as a whole, and Reformer sessions are unable to offer such results without the physical effort required by other workouts. “Many of my clients tell me they can’t do certain exercises, but over time they do because we’re building strength and relieving tension.” In general, in fact, we are seeing a shift in the preferences of fitness addicts towards training that does not burden the body and mind. Take a look at the case of Jennifer Aniston, who spoke about the evolution of her fitness program. “Before the pandemic, strenuous workouts were the norm, which often led to higher levels of cortisol in the body,” says Marisa Fuller, owner of the Studio Pilates center in Brooklyn, New York. “This kind of training can make us feel exhausted and exhausted.”
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Reformer Pilates is part of a trend of so-called “mindfulness training” that has spread in recent years, Fuller says, and he agrees with Quinn that these exercises will become more popular as the public becomes aware of their benefits.
With the help of two experts, we’ve put together a mini beginner’s guide to the Pilates reformer. Here it is below.
Pilates Reformer Principles
“Reformer Pilates is a workout that, while not high impact, produces world-class results,” Fuller says, pointing out that it is suitable for a wide range of clients, from supermodels to people with injuries. In addition, it is ideal for beginners in fitness: “It is an ideal workout for those who do not have much experience or, due to their age, cannot practice other types of training,” says the expert. Since the training focuses on activating your core, the benefits build up over time. “Core strengthening improves posture and helps prevent injury, while also providing a stable foundation for the rest of the body,” Fuller explains.
The machine used for Pilates Reformer uses a non-electric sliding system. “This tool uses the properties of springs to work the muscles, subjecting them to constant tension, which is the basis for obtaining excellent results,” explains Fuller.
Quinn emphasizes the importance of fluid movement, including breathing and concentration. “Proper practice of low-impact movements, even just a couple of times, can be more beneficial than killing yourself with heavy exercise sets or intense cardio,” Fuller notes. “Alignment is a key concept for keeping the body in good health and protecting against injury both in and out of the gym.”
See also: Workout more effectively: 30 minutes of strength training or 60 minutes of cardio training?
Advantages of Reformer Pilates over other workouts
In Reformer Pilates, your body weight provides the resistance, which can be increased or decreased by adjusting the springs. This means that training can be customized to suit your goals. “Reformer Pilates offers many benefits, including increased core strength, injury prevention, correcting muscle imbalances, improving posture and flexibility, and more,” says Fuller. “It’s really a real tottofar workout.” With a single machine, you can perform hundreds of exercises that train and improve joint balance and flexibility throughout your body, making Reformer Pilates a great cross-training tool for a range of sports. “Reformer Pilates is working on core stabilization, which is very important for any athlete,” says Fuller, pointing to improved muscle endurance, stability and peripheral joint coordination, as well as an increase in anaerobic threshold as additional bonuses.
How to get started with Reformer Pilates
Since proper exercise is the foundation of any physical activity, learning the Reformer Pilates movements with the help of a professional is the best solution to start doing this workout in complete safety. “Personally, I would not recommend practicing Reformer Pilates at home unless you are already intermediate or advanced,” Quinn warns. According to the expert, the first step to getting started with Reformer Pilates is to find a teacher or course that’s right for you.
Fuller agrees, emphasizing that good practice is key. However, he shares some general advice:
- Check: “In Pilates, it’s not the speed at which repetitions are performed,” he emphasizes, “but the control of movement in order to work on the right muscles and strengthen them.”
- Patience: “Everyone feels out of place when they try Reformer Pilates for the first time, but don’t let that put you off. With each session, you will gain more confidence and feel the difference in your body as you build strength and tone,” he assures. “There are a lot of exercises to learn, so don’t worry if you don’t feel like you’ve mastered them all from the first lesson.”
- Compression: “Each exercise targets specific muscles, so when you do the movements, squeeze the appropriate muscles,” Fuller advises. “The more you focus on the contraction, the more effective the exercise will be.”
Two Basic Pilates Reformer Exercises
Fuller notes that this exercise works both glutes: “One side for stability, the other for kicking.” You should also raise your leg to hip height, but only as far as you can without arching your back. “Start by getting on all fours with your hands at shoulder level and your knees on your hips,” Fuller explains. “Keep your spine straight but relaxed. Slightly bring the knee of the supporting leg so that it is under the body. Raise your other leg and place your foot on the bar at the end of the machine. Exhaling, stretch the raised leg behind you. Inhaling, return to the starting position. Run 90 seconds and repeat.
This exercise is designed to work out the gluteal muscles and hamstrings. “Lie on your back and place both feet on the bar at the end of the machine,” Quinn explains. “While stretching your legs, slowly raise your pelvis, but make sure that your shoulder blades do not leave the ground. Inhale as you extend your lower limbs and exhale as you return to the starting position.” To make the exercise a little more difficult, Quinn suggests trying it with one leg in the air and alternating sides.
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This article was originally published on American Vogue.