If you’re looking to improve your fitness, make performing daily activities and sports easier, and tone your body, you should add Pilates to your weekly exercise schedule. Designed to strengthen the core muscles, Pilates is an effective method of achieving a complete physical fitness workout that can provide a toned look without adding bulk. Livestrong.com says, “Done regularly and in conjunction with a healthy diet, Pilates can assist in weight loss while improving your endurance, posture and flexibility.” You may not sweat buckets, but you will feel the burn.
The most recognizable piece of Pilates equipment is the Pilates reformer. The Pilates reformer uses resistance that allows the body to work a tad harder to gain strength and flexibility than performing the original method of Pilates using your own body weight as resistance. If you’ve never seen a Pilates reformer, it might be intimating the first time you’re faced with all those springs and straps. Maguerite Ogle describes the reformer this way:
“Invented by Pilates founder Joseph Pilates, the reformer 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 blocks on it that keep a practitioner 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 footbar. The footbar can be used by the feet or hands as a practitioner moves the carriage. The reformer also has long straps with handles on them that are attached to the top end of the frame. They can be pulled with legs or arms to move the carriage as well. Body weight and resistance of the springs are what make the carriage more or less difficult to move.”
The benefit of the Pilates reformer isn’t in its looks,but its versatility. Exercises can be done lying down, sitting, standing, pulling the straps, pushing the footbar, perched on the footbar, perched on the shoulder blocks, with additional equipment, upside down, sideways and all kinds of variations thereof. In other words, you can work many parts of the body with just one piece of equipment! Plus, you may see results soon with a Pilates reformer than you would just doing Pilates on a floor mat. And best of all, you don’t have to be exercise guru to reap the benefits of the Pilates reformer!
If you’ve never used a Pilates reformer before, Scratch here would recommend you take at least one class at your local Pilates studio before you start working out at home. But once, you’ve been shown the basics, you can start toning at home! Try these Pilates reformer workouts below! And remember to head to the Cave for “rock bottom” prices on the best selection of Pilates reformers on the web!