How Pilates on a Reformer works
To some, a Reformer might resemble a torture apparatus, looking like a single bed frame but with a sliding carriage and adjustable springs to regulate tension and resistance. Cables, bars, straps and pulleys allow exercises to be done from a variety of positions, even standing.
We follow a “Classical/Authentic” approach to Pilates and so follow the exercise order, systems and sequences as designed by Joseph Pilates himself. The exercises and order they are taught at the Pilates Loft will be replicated in other “Classical/Authentic” studios.
Because the Reformer can look daunting we like to start all clients with a few Private Session, this acts as in introduction to the Reformer.
We start with a beginner exercises designed to build strength before moving onto Intermediate and Advance routines. The resistance created by the pulley and spring system provides a challenging and strengthening workout regardless of the level being undertaken.
Reformer exercises can be done slow, with a focus on coordination and control, or sped up for a more dynamic work out including fluid transitions between exercises. Either way, we always observe the basic Pilates principle of Stability before Mobility.
A common questions is “How often do I need to do Pilates?”
Ok, without sounding like a “salesman” –
Once a week will condition your body for other activities and serve as a maintenance program for the body, helping to prevent injuries, so is fine if you have other form of exercise in your life, or a physical demanding job.
Twice a week will provide the above benefits and strengthen your body and increase your flexibility.
Three times or more a week will not only maintain, strengthen and stretch the body, but really start to transform your body.
Your core is a complex series of muscles, extending far beyond your abs, including everything besides your arms and legs. It is incorporated in almost every movement of the human body. These muscles can act as an isometric or dynamic stabilizer for movement, transfer force from one extremity to another, or initiate movement itself.
Our core has three-dimensional depth and functional movement in all three planes of motion. Many of the muscles are hidden beneath the exterior musculature people typically train. The deeper muscles include the transverse abdominals, multifidus, diaphragm, pelvic floor, and many other deeper muscles. The focus with Pilates is on these deeper muscles.
Your core most often acts as a stabilizer and force transfer center rather than a prime mover. Yet consistently people focus on training their core as a prime mover and in isolation. This would be doing crunches or back extensions versus functional movements like deadlifts, overhead squats, and pushups, among many other functional closed chain exercises such as those done on the Reformer.
We must look at core strength as the ability to produce force with respect to core stability, which is the ability to control the force we produce. According to Andy Waldhem in his Assessment of Core Stability: Developing Practical Models, there are “five different components of core stability: strength, endurance, flexibility, motor control, and function”. Without motor control and function, the other three components are useless, like a fish flopping out of water no matter how strong you are or how much endurance you have.
It is important to first achieve core stability to protect the spine and surrounding musculature from injury in static and then dynamic movements. Second, we want to effectively and efficiently transfer and produce force during dynamic movements while maintaining core stability. This can include running, performing Olympic lifts, or picking up the something from the floor while keeping your back safe. Research has shown that athletes with higher core stability have a lower risk of injury.
(Edited from: here)
(yes, that’s me on the Reformer)
I think this article from Mind Body Green (link below) sums it up nicely
“I’ve been a personal trainer in New York City for four years now, and whenever I tell new male clients that we’ll be incorporating Pilates in our training programs, they all say the same thing: “Isn’t Pilates for women?”
I tactfully explain to my client that Pilates is definitely not just for women. In fact Joseph Pilates, the guy who invented Pilates was…
A) a dude
B) a beer drinking, cigar smoking boxer who lived to be 84
C) a handyman who turned hospital beds into exercise equipment
You’d think that a man who was half pugilist and half MacGyver would be deemed quite “manly” in the eyes of most males, but apparently not.
Anyway, I think it’s important for guys to do Pilates. And if you’re a woman who wants your male companion to join you for your next Pilates class, this blog may be for you.
Here are my top 4 reasons why dudes should do Pilates…
1. Six Pack Abs.
Joseph Pilates had a six pack, both in his fridge and under his shirt. You, too can achieve the latter of the two by incorporating Pilates in your workouts. If you’re a guy, you’re more prone to developing body fat around the abdominals than women.
Pilates incorporates slow and controlled moving core exercises that sometimes requires you to hold a pose for an extended period of time. This makes for a very intense and different type of (isometric) contraction for the abdominals that a lot of people aren’t used to. New contractions/exercises shock the muscle group you are exercising and make for great new results.
Strengthen and lengthen your muscles! Women are typically 7% more flexible than men in their ligaments and tendons, which means guys need to catch up! During the first few weeks of my apprenticeship before I began teaching Pilates myself, I pretty much became the model for what to do if you were training the Tin Man, or someone who seriously lacked flexibility. Towards the end of the comprehensive program, I was able to perform the exercises and stretches that I originally could not even come close to doing!
I had bursitis in my hips when I first started doing Pilates, and now that bursitis is simply a memory. Exercises like side leg kick series did amazing work rehabilitating my hips. I later learned that many doctors recommend Pilates for patients who undergo back surgery.
One of my instructors during the 6 month comprehensive program once suffered a broken back and was now able to do some serious core intensive exercises. Another student in my program had a herniated disc and was still schooling me on some of the techniques we were learning. It became abundantly clear to me that Pilates had some of the greatest rehabilitation work I’ve ever seen.
You can’t run everyday and not blow out your knees. Strength and endurance programs requires you to rest in between workouts. You can’t grapple or kickbox everyday without injuring yourself somehow. Pilates is one of the few forms of exercises you can do every day, and instead of breaking down your body, you continue to progress in strength and flexibility.