Pilates Reformer

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Pilates Reformer

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June 16, 2016

Prepare to move your body in new ways. Pilates Reformer takes you through a complete body workout with a special focus on back movement, abdominal strength, and enhancing total flexibility. These classes are appropriate for all levels! Schedule a Class.

What Is a Pilates Reformer?

The Pilates Reformer machine, created by Joseph Pilates, is a frame with a flat platform on it that kind of looks like a bed, called the carriage, which rolls back and forth on wheels within the frame. The carriage is connected to one end of the reformer by a set of springs. The springs offer choices of varying levels of resistance as the bed is pushed or pulled along the frame. The carriage has shoulder blocks on it that helps the person from sliding off the end of the reformer as they push or pull the carriage.

At the spring end of the reformer there is a foot bar that can be adjusted. The reformer also has long and short straps with handles on them that are connected to the top end of the frame. Reformers parts are adjustable for various body sizes and for various skill levels.

How Is a Reformer Used?

Among the very best features of the reformer is its adaptability. Exercises can be done while you are lying down, standing, sitting, pulling the straps, pushing the foot bar, sitting down on the foot bar, sitting on the shoulder blocks, with added equipment, upside down, sideways and all sorts of variations. Simply put, the reformer can train lots of parts and characteristics of the body in a lot of different ways with simply one tool.

What Are the Advantages of Pilates Reformer Exercises?

The reformer offers all the advantages including general strength, balance, coordination and especially flexibility. It stretches and moves the bones in the joints which result in working the muscles from the inside out.

The reformer is big enough to accommodate full-range motion that can be terrific for increasing your flexibility while building your strength. You get strong as you build flexibility. And it trains the body to sustain that strength. Pushing and pulling with legs or arms against the resistance of the springs, the bed, and your own body weight is generally what you use for strength building. The workouts provide enough resistance and motion range to increase bone density. There are also special muscle contractions. This is when a muscle lengthens as it resists a force. The reformer is a set-up for what is known as eccentric contractions. That is one of the keys to achieving the long and strong muscles without adding tons of bulk. It’s what Pilates is known for.

The instability of a rolling bed with springs set at various levels of resistance provides all kinds of stability challenges that develop your core strength and help give you better balance. The stronger your core, the better your balance, posture, and overall well-being.

Ways to Discover Pilates Reformer Exercises

The best way to learn this method is in a small group class or with a personal trainer. As you learn some exercises and start to understand the foundations of the Pilates method, it might make sense to eventually buy one for home use. You can then practice at home to help you get better at the exercises. But first get experience working in a small group class or one on one with your personal trainer.

Overview of the Pilates Reformer

The Pilates Reformer is an exercise machine used to incorporate the Pilates exercise techniques for a challenging and intense workout. Springs, leverage and body weight are used as resistance while you do movements targeting specific muscle groups. Workouts consist of controlled, flowing movements working your muscles through a complete range of motion. The reformer adds increased resistance to the movement. By working to overcome the resistance, you end up in increasing your fitness level.

Increase Your Muscular Endurance

Muscles have to exert force to overcome resistance. Pilates Reformer training results include increased muscle fiber endurance, size and strength along with increased connective tissue strength. With increased muscular endurance, your muscles are able to exert force for longer periods. Increased endurance allows you to perform everyday tasks without getting tired. Additional benefits include improved muscle tone as muscles are lengthened and strengthened without appearing bulky.

Increase Your Core Strength

Exercising on the Pilates Reformer requires proper form and technique. With proper positioning, you can target your full core, including your abdomen and lower back muscles. By conditioning these core muscles, as you workout they will contract to stabilize and align your spine. A strong core will increase the effectiveness of all exercises due to your ability to maintain proper alignment. Core strength increases your ability to generate power to your muscles and reduces the risk of injury.

Improve Your Posture

Workouts on a Pilates Reformer will improve your spinal alignment. With improved alignment, your muscles will strengthen to improve spinal support and stability. Improved posture will lengthen your joints giving you a taller appearance. Muscular imbalances will be corrected decreasing the risk for injury, especially to the lower back. When performing everyday movements, awareness of proper posture during exercise will carry over to awareness of proper posture.

Increase Your Flexibility

Flexibility is the range of motion of your muscles and connective tissue. Workouts on a Pilates Reformer require your muscle groups to move through a full range of motion. Improved flexibility reduces strain and stress on your joints and muscles. Muscles contract with increased efficiency, and workouts are more effective. Improved flexibility minimizes stiffness, soreness and the chance of injury. You can carry out everyday movements with less strain and fatigue.

Improve Your Breathing

Pilates workouts emphasize proper breathing. Breathing ends up being deeper and less frequent, resulting in improved relaxation. Benefits include increasing your lung capacity and breathing efficiency during exercise and at rest. Your lungs are better equipped to supply your body with increased oxygen during workouts. Energy levels increase during exercise and at rest.

Reduce Your Body Fat

Exercise increases your metabolism, your body’s ability to burn calories. Increased muscle mass increases the number of calories your burn. Obviously when you burn more calories than you eat your extra body fat is burned and used for energy to meet the increased demand. Increasing your metabolism let’s you burn more fat while you workout and while you rest (even when you sleep).

Pilates Reformer takes you through a complete body workout with a special emphasis on keeping your spine mobile, increasing your abdominal strength (giving you good abs), and improving your overall length and flexibility. In other words, the reformer can train many parts and dynamics of the body in numerous different ways with just one piece of equipment.

The reformer is large enough to accommodate full-range motion which is fantastic for increasing flexibility while building strength. The reformer adds increased resistance to the movement. Workouts on a Pilates Reformer require your muscle groups to move through a full range of motion.

To really uncover the benefits of Pilates Reformer classes, let’s look at the history of the machine and then how you can best use it.

What Is a Pilates Reformer?

The Pilates Reformer machine was invented by Joseph Pilates – which is a bed-like frame with a flat platform on it, called the carriage, which rolls back and forth on wheels within the frame. The carriage is attached to one end of the reformer by a set of springs. The springs provide choices of differing levels of resistance as the carriage is pushed or pulled along the frame. The carriage has shoulder stops on it that helps the participant from sliding off the end of the reformer as they push or pull the carriage.

At the spring end of the reformer there is an adjustable bar called a foot bar. The foot bar can be used by the feet or hands as the client moves the carriage. The reformer also has long and short straps with handles on them that are attached to the top end of the frame.  These straps are used on either the hands or the feet for various exercises.  Body weight and resistance of the springs are what make the carriage more or less difficult to move.  Reformers parts are adjustable for different body sizes and for different skill levels.

How Is a Reformer Used?

One of the best things about the reformer is its versatility.  Exercises can be done lying down, sitting, standing, pulling the straps, pushing the foot bar, perched on the foot bar, perched on the shoulder blocks, with additional equipment, upside down, sideways and all kinds of variations.  In other words, the reformer can train many parts and dynamics of the body in so many different ways with just one piece of equipment.

What Are the Benefits of Pilates Reformer Exercises?

The reformer offers all the benefits including overall strength, flexibility, coordination, and balance. These things in turn lead to what is commonly referred to as “functional fitness”.  For example, better posture, more efficient movement, and relief from pain associated with physical imbalances.  It stretches and moves the bones in the joints which result in working the muscles from the inside out.

The reformer is large enough to accommodate full-range motion which is wonderful for increasing flexibility while building strength. It seems to invite the length we want to create in the body. And it trains the body to sustain that length. Pushing and pulling with legs or arms against the resistance of the springs, carriage, and body weight is generally strength building. The exercises provide enough resistance and movement variety to increase bone density.  There are also special muscle contractions. This is when a muscle lengthens as it resists a force. The reformer is a set-up for eccentric contractions. That is one of the keys to achieving the long, strong muscles without bulk that Pilates is known for.

The instability of a rolling carriage with the springs set at different levels of resistance provides all kinds of stability challenges that develop your core strength and promote better balance.  The stronger the core, the better the balance, posture, and overall well-being.

How to Learn Pilates Reformer Exercises

The best way to learn this method is in a class or through private instruction. Once you learn some exercises and begin to understand the foundations of the Pilates method, it might make sense to purchase one for home use. Although we do not sell the machines, we can recommend the best ones to buy. Once you’ve had experience working in a class situation or one on one with your trainer, you can practice at home to help you get better with the exercises.

Overview

The Pilates Reformer is an exercise machine used to incorporate the Pilates exercise technique for a challenging and intense workout. Springs, leverage and body weight are used as resistance while performing movements targeting specific muscle groups. Workouts consist of controlled, flowing movements working your muscles through a full range of motion. The reformer adds increased resistance to the movement. By working to overcome this resistance, training results in increased fitness levels.

Increased Muscular Endurance

Muscles exert force to overcome resistance. Training results include increased muscle fiber endurance, size and strength along with increased connective tissue strength. With increased muscular endurance, your muscles are able to exert force for extended periods. Increased endurance enables you to perform everyday tasks without fatigue. Additional benefits include improved muscle tone as muscles are lengthened and strengthened without appearing bulky.

Increased Core Strength

Exercising on the Pilates Reformer requires proper form and technique. The focus of proper positioning is within the core, your abdomen and lower back muscles. By conditioning the core muscles, they will contract with all movements to stabilize and align your spine. A strong core will increase the effectiveness of all exercises due to your ability to maintain proper alignment. Core strength increases your ability to generate power to your muscles and decreases the risk of injury.

Improved Posture

Workouts on a Pilates Reformer will improve your spinal alignment. With improved alignment, your muscles will strengthen to improve spinal support and stability. Improved posture will lengthen your joints giving you a taller appearance. Muscular imbalances will be corrected decreasing the risk for injury, especially to the lower back. Awareness of proper posture during exercise will carry over to awareness of proper posture when performing everyday movements.

Increased Flexibility

Flexibility is the range of motion of your muscles and connective tissue. Workouts on a Pilates Reformer require your muscle groups to move through a full range of motion. Improved flexibility decreases strain and stress on your joints and muscles. Muscles contract with increased efficiency, and workouts are more effective. Improved flexibility reduces stiffness, soreness and the chance of injury. You can perform everyday movements with less strain and fatigue.

Improved Breathing

Pilates workouts emphasize proper breathing. Breathing becomes deeper and less frequent, resulting in improved relaxation. Benefits include increased lung capacity and breathing efficiency during workouts and at rest. Your lungs are better equipped to supply your body with increased oxygen during workouts. Energy levels increase during exercise and at rest.

Reduced Body Fat

Exercise increases your metabolism, your body’s ability to burn calories. Increased muscle mass increases the number of calories burned. When the amount of calories burned is more than the amount of calories eaten, excess body fat is burned and used for energy to meet the increased demand

Small Group Classes at KB Fitness

Once you join one of the small group classes at KB Fitness, you’ll see the benefit as you work out next to a group of motivated individuals who are all cheering each other on. You will get the energy from the others attending the class with you.  Not in a competitive way, but more of a challenge.  The pace is typically a little faster than a personal one-on-one session.  Therefore, you will experience more exercises in a class format, which equals more body parts being worked – which equals more results.

KB Fitness offers more classes (mornings/afternoons/evenings – 6 days per week); our rates are better than most so you get a better value); we have a wide variety of styles in our instructors from beginning to expert. Our Balance Body Allegro Reformers have legs (many studios have the reformers down on at floor level w/o legs – difficult for those who have injuries to get up and down).

We also offer free personal consultations (which can be done over the phone) to make sure you are ready for a class situation (because some are very fast paced) and to schedule you into the proper level class. We do recommend one-on-one sessions for anyone who is just getting started, but it is not required to get scheduled into a class.

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