One of the most versatile exercise machines available, the Reformer was an invention by Pilates founder, Joseph Pilates. Whether used to build strength, improve coordination or gain flexibility, Reformer Pilates is an excellent part of a good, quality rehabilitation program.
What is a Pilates Reformer?
Born out of the Pilates exercise and body-conditioning program, the Reformer can look like an intimidating exercise machine, but it’s not! This bed-like frame, called the carriage, rolls back and forth on a platform base. One end is attached using springs, which offer different resistance levels as the carriage is pulled or pushed along the frame.
The Reformer provides shoulder blocks for resistance and to keep you in place. Likewise, there’s a foot bar that helps users move the carriage during exercise. Long straps with handles provide the ability to move the reformer, either with legs or arms. All parts are adjustable to accommodate all sorts of body sizes and skill levels.
What are the Medical Benefits of Reformer Pilates?
Reformer Pilates uses this unique exercise machine to focus on different areas of the body to achieve optimal, overall fitness. For those undergoing rehabilitation, there are real benefits that can be realized.
Versatility: For all fitness levels and levels of rehabilitation, the biggest advantage clients will notice of using the Reformer is its versatility. Working with a trained instructor, recovery and rehab programs can be developed that allow clients to use the Reformer sitting, standing, lying down, and on either side. The advantage of this is that improvement is achievable no matter what ailment, injury, or chronic condition needs to be accommodated.
Range of Motion: Because of its unique design, Reformer Pilates allows clients to work on improving full range of motion in every area. This large exercise machine can accommodate targeted training for arms, legs, and the body’s trunk and core that allow strength building and flexibility in even the most challenging areas. Not many exercises enable us to achieve correct lengthening of the body and training to maintain that length.
Levels of Strength: Pilates is known for its ability to improve the strength of small and large muscle groups, alike. With Reformer Pilates, clients can increase strength without undue stress or strain. Using body weight as resistance, known as eccentric muscle contractions, improvements are made with the push and pull against this resistance to build bone strength in addition to muscle strength. The result for rehab clients is long, strong muscles to support healthy recovery!
Core Lessons: While building a strong core is a foundation of Pilates benefits, Reformer Pilates improves the core even more. Using and working with the instability of the rolling carriage platform, exercises are developed that promote improved balance and stability. Many different training options are available that challenge the core and force muscle engagement as the body works to maintain balance. Strengthening the core is an important part of overall rehabilitation progress no matter the surgery, chronic or acute condition.
Want to learn more about Reformer Pilates or take part in a class workout? Contact us! We can develop customized rehabilitation programs that will help you realize the many medical benefits of Pilates Reformer exercise.