1. Introduction to the Use and Benefits of the Pilates Reformer

    Introduction to the Use and Benefits of the Pilates Reformer

    The Pilates Reformers are lined up in Pilates studios all over the world and are probably the most famous piece of Pilates equipment. Reformer classes are usually one of the main choices at Pilates studios and portable reformers continue to grow as a home exercise equipment trend.

    What Is a Pilates Reformer?

    Pilates founder Joseph Pilates invented the reformer which is a bed-like frame with a flat platform on it called the carriage; this rolls back and forth on wheels within the frame. The carriage is attached to one end of the reformer by a set of springs which provide differing levels of resistance choices as the carriage is pushed or pulled along the frame. The shoulder blocks located on the carriage keep a practitioner from sliding off the end of the reformer as they push or pull the carriage. In addition to this, there is an adjustable bar called a footbar at the spring end of the reformer which can be used by the feet or hands as the practitioner moves the carriage. The reformer also has long straps with handles on them that are attached to the top end of the frame, these can be pulled with legs or arms to move the carriage as well.

    The parts of the reformer are adjustable for various body sizes and levels of skill. It is the resistance of the springs and body weight that make the carriage more or less difficult to move.

    How Is a Reformer Used?

    The reformer provides versatility as exercises can be done lying down, standing, sitting, pulling the straps, pushing the footbar, perched on the footbar, perched on the shoulder blocks, with additional equipment, upside down, sideways and numerous other variations. Due to this, the reformer can train many dynamics and parts of the body in many different ways with just one piece of equipment, it allows for first-time beginners to exercises that challenge the most advanced. 

    The exercises which are completed on the reformer promote length, strength, flexibility, and balance. The majority of Pilates reformer exercises are based on pushing or pulling the carriage or holding the carriage steady during an exercise as it is pulled on by the springs.

    What Are the Benefits of Pilates Reformer Exercises?

    Exercising with the reformer is possible for anyone, at any level of fitness which is why the full name of the reformer is the Universal Reformer. It offers all the famous benefits of Pilates including overall strength, flexibility, coordination, and balance which, in turn, lead to daily life improvements such as better posture, efficient and graceful movement, and for many, relief from pain associated with physical imbalances for example back pain.

    The Pilates powerhouse muscles which is the core muscles are of upmost importance for building strength; flat abs, strong backs, toned thighs and glutes are all results of this emphasis. Although Pilates

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  2. How to Achieve Great Posture

    How to Achieve Great Posture

    Posture is the position in which you hold your body while standing, sitting or lying down.  Optimal posture occurs when our body is in a state of muscular and skeletal balance that protects the body against injury and allows us to move with maximum efficiency.

    Achieving optimal posture involves standing, walking, sitting and lying in positions where the least strain is incurred during movement or weight-bearing activities.

    The Benefits of Good Posture

    Maintaining and achieving good posture confers a host of benefits:

    • Muscles are being used efficiently, reducing fatigue
    • With bones and joints in the correct alignment,
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  3. Core Stability - Part 2

    Core Stability - Part 2

    How Do You Monitor Core Stability? It is widely believed that core stability work is important as it reduces injury and improves performance but what scientific evidence is there to support this theory?

    A study by Chaudhari carried out in 2011 with a group of 75 healthy professional baseball pitchers, used a measurement device which allowed the observation to be made that professional baseball pitchers with poor core stability did not perform as well as those with better lumbopelvic control. Thereby providing some scientific evidence to support this belief.

    In order to achieve maximum athletic performance, control and strength of the body's back, abdominal and hip muscles is essential. However the question remains, how can we tell if core stability is being maintained?

    The measurement device used in the Chaudhari study provides audible feedback to alert the user when the body

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  4. Muscle Balance and Imbalance

    Muscle Balance and Imbalance

    What is muscle balance? Muscle balance refers to the length and strength of opposing muscles. When the muscles of the body are balanced, we would expect to see good postural alignment, full range of movement through all planes of motion and full range of movement in the joints.

    When opposing muscles are the correct length and strength and the body can function powerfully and efficiently.

    Muscle Imbalance

    Problems occur when muscles become subject to ‘faulty loading’ and this can lead to muscle imbalances. Faulty loading may be due to a number of factors including poor posture, incorrect training, driving, sitting at an office desk or trauma and the muscles will respond to these faults accordingly. In parts of the body that are under faulty load, the muscles may shorten or tighten and this will result in the opposing muscles lengthening to compensate. The muscles that are lengthening will be weak and this will lead to imbalances.

     If we take the example of an office worker who sits at a desk for a large part of their day, we can identify muscle imbalances. They may well lean forward whilst sitting or bend their neck forward to look at a computer screen. Sitting like this for a long period of time over many days or years will result in muscle imbalances and postural problems. The abdominal muscles may become short or tight which in turn will cause the spine to flex forward. The back muscles will lengthen and this may result in kyphosis of the spine, also known as ‘hunch back’. This example shows how the short, tight muscles will begin to pull the body in a certain direction and without identification and correction, injury and future complications may result.

    What's The Effects of Muscle Imbalance?

    These imbalances may cause pain and can lead to many muscular and joint injuries. The short, tight muscles will

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