If you look at pictures of a Pilates studio, you will either see an empty room where mat Pilates is taught, or see a row of machines that look like moving beds. They can look intimidating but don’t be intimidated by this amazing piece of machinery which truly can change your body.
Joseph Pilates, called his equipment, “apparatus.” Some people say he designed the reformer from mattresses and mattress springs to help his fellow prisoners of war who were injured, move their limbs to recover. Others say he developed his mat routine at that time and later when he moved to New York, built a gymnasium consisting of all his apparatus, with the help of his brother, Fred Pilates.
Many reformers you see today are more contemporary than the ones seen in photos of Joseph Pilates. The part that looks like a bed is the moving carriage. At one end is a foot bar for feet or hands and springs. These springs range from light to heavy and depending on the exercise may make an exercise more or less challenging. At the head rest end there are shoulder rests and pulleys with handles. You use your hands, feet and body to create the movement and the resistance. You can use your hands and feet in the straps to create movement and resistance.
The reformer is a nice, safe place to start practicing Pilates. There are many exercises you can do to help with imbalances in your body and to strengthen your body. The spring resistance is gentle on joints so it’s a great form of exercise for everyone as it can be adapted to the individual body.
As our body is three dimensional we can work from breath and core in extension, flexion, lateral and rotation. All the movements our body moves in.
Don’t be intimidated by this equipment that can change your body from being in pain to a lot less pain and help improve your posture and muscle imbalances.
When looking for an instructor, ask how many hours of training they have (it should be in the 100’s) and who they trained with.