Many people are hesitant to roll up their Pilates mats when they first see a reformer. That's because it seems daunting, and quite frankly, it looks like a torture machine at first glance. But once you try it out, you'll find out that it is fun, effective, and flexible exercise equipment.
What Is a Pilates Reformer?
The reformer is a type of equipment used in Pilates. It looks like a bed with pulleys, springs, and ropes. Due to a sudden hype on social media, most people believe that reformers are new. Contrary to that belief, it was actually designed back in the 1920s by Joseph Pilates himself. If you're wondering whether to switch to a reformer, here are common comparisons.
Pilates Reformer vs. Mat
Pilates on a reformer can be better compared to mat-based Pilates. The reformer's advantage is that there is more variety of available exercises. The equipment enables you to work out your whole body while giving extra work on your limbs. On the other hand, mat-based Pilates simply works on your core.
Pilates Reformer vs. Megaformer
The best way to describe a megaformer is it is the reformer's bulkier, tougher, and younger cousin. The starkest difference between the two is usage. The reformer is used for Pilates, while the megaformer is for the Lagree Method.
Being used for different exercises means they differ in executions. The megaformer calls for a slower tempo and faster transitions. This results in a more intense exercise than that of a Pilates reformer. Megaformer is also constantly evolving, paving the way for more fitness innovation. The reformer, however, has remained unchanged for decades.
5 Benefits of Using a Reformer
A Pilates reformer can help maintain and enhance overall physical fitness. It can result in better flexibility, strength, and balance. It can also improve your mental health, posture, and range of movement. Reformers have many benefits for those who want to be fitter and healthier.
1. Provides a Full Body Workout
Using a reformer to create precise movements gives you a balanced, full-body exercise. The reformer mechanisms strengthen the whole body. Not just the large, main muscle systems, but the supporting muscle systems as well. It allows you to pinpoint systems that need more work, so you can focus more on them.
2. Tones and Strengthens the Muscles
A Pilates reformer allows a full range of movement while strengthening the muscles. This provides a dynamic exercise that creates resistance. It also grants balance on the eccentric and concentric contractions. Eventually, it results in lean, toned, and long muscles.
3. Low Impact, High Intensity
Using a reformer for Pilates is ideal for those who are recovering from an injury. This should only be performed under professional supervision, of course. The reformer's ropes and springs are designed for horizontal exercise. This helps relieve the vertical load on the legs, reducing the toll on the body. Its low impact allows repetitive movements. Also, it strengthens and tones the areas that need quick recovery.
For instance, a person has had a knee injury or surgery. The reformer's horizontal movement zone allows them to strengthen the leg muscles. They can do this with a wider motion range with a lighter resistance compared to their body weight. This can make a recovery easier and quicker.
4. Improves Your Posture
A lot of exercises that use the reformer machine target the core and work the main stability muscles. These are the muscles in your abdomen, pelvis, and back. The strength and tone of these muscles are essential for creating the ideal posture.
5. Improves Your Mental Health
Pilates reformer is commonly complimented for its benefits on muscle toning and strength. It's also touted for enhancing posture and flexibility. But it is becoming clearer that it also has positive impacts on mental health. It can increase endorphin levels, which is the body's happy chemical. Also, it reduces the levels of a stress hormone called cortisol. This boosts mood and mental energy.
To sum up, a Pilates reformer can improve your overall health. It can also help you make a quick recovery from injury or surgery. But even if you're in tip-top shape, it won’t hurt to step on it and give it a try. If you prefer a more intense workout, you may want to go for a megaformer. Either way, you sure will have fun using these great and effective tools!