How I almost died during Pilates Reformer class

January 30, 2016

There was not much to do while on holiday in Switzerland besides the obvious time spent eating and drinking with the family, and the oddly energetic daily workouts with my younger cousin. This same cousin thought it would be a wonderful idea to sign us up for a session of Pilates reformer at the nearby studio. Little did I know, I would swear at her for the following three days.

Yes, I don’t live under a rock, I do know what Pilates entails. I once actually participated in a group mat Pilates class, and I’m sorry to say that I absolutely hated it. Not only could I not keep up with the instructor, but every single exercise hurt my back like a mofo.

Pilates reformer, on the other hand, is a whole other ball game. The entire class is held on a machine that basically looks like some sort of ancient times torture device.

What you need to know about Pilates reformer:

1. The “reformer”, as it’s called, 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.

There’s an adjustable bar called a footbar at one end of the reformer. The footbar can be used by the feet or hands as you move the carriage. Imagine one foot on the footbar, and the other on the carriage, doing squats. Yes, it’s crazy, forces you to use every single muscle of your body, and you’ll probably also use your mouth to swear at the same time. It hurts. In a good way. But it still hurts like a bitch.

The reformer also has long straps with handles that are attached at one end of the carriage. They can be pulled with your legs or arms to add a whole other range of exercises as well.

Check out the image below for an idea of what this torture device looks like. But you won’t understand what I mean until you try it out for yourself.

2. The coolest thing about the reformer is its versatility. We were doing exercises lying down, sitting, standing, using the straps, pushing the footbar, sideways, basically any kind of position or exercise you can imagine. This odd yet fancy looking machine allows you to train every part of your body in so many different ways.

3. Of course, the list of benefits is never ending. Big duh. Main ones I’d like to highlight, ladies and gentlemen, are the following:

– Increased core strength: The form and technique required in all movements on the reformer force you to utilize your core, back and abdomen muscles, strengthening your core in the process.

– Overall increased flexibility, coordination and balance: Trust me, you have to stay incredibly focused while exercising on the reformer. Better balance and coordination will obviously help in every day life, and aid in developing better posture, making you probably look very graceful at the same time.

– Anyone can do it: Because of the various resistance levels, you don’t need to be a pro to utilize the machine. As long as you have a trainer nearby, even as a newbie or someone who barely knows what the inside of a gym looks like, you can still workout properly. And the added plus is that these classes are usually very small in size due to the number of machines. So you’re almost getting a semi private class as the instructor tends to give each participant plenty of attention.

“I do 5 sit-ups every morning. May not sound like much, but there’s only so many times you can hit the snooze button” -Unknown

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