What You Should Know About Trendy Reformer Pilates

Compared to physical activities invented thousands of years ago, such as yoga, tai chi, or wrestling, Pilates is like a newborn baby. Taking its name from Joseph Pilates (1883-1967), a German physical trainer and former nurse, Pilates was developed during and immediately after the First World War for the purpose of physical recovery, per Pilates Foundation. In the early days, most of Pilates' patients were soldiers and dancers who needed an exercise method that helped them recover from injuries and improve their physiques. Fast forward to the mid-2000s, and the Pilates method became a fitness trend touting a flexible body with long and lean muscles. Counted among its devotees are Jennifer Aniston, Kendall Jenner, and Madonna, Studio Pilates reports.

The Pilates method is a sequence of regulated movements done on mats or on specially designed equipment such as reformer, Cadillac, or barrel, with the aim of lengthening the spine, improving postural alignment, and enhancing joint mobility. While the body goals remain the same, the results you get from using different Pilates equipment might differ. For instance, mat Pilates might not get you ripped as quickly as reformer Pilates, which makes it off the charts among fitness fans. So, what is it about reformer Pilates that seems to go hand-in-hand with long and sculpted muscles? Here are some insights on the benefits of reformer Pilates.

What is reformer Pilates?

Reformer Pilates, as Pilates instructor Gia Calhoun tells Livestrong.com, uses a multi-compartment platform equipped with a sliding cushioned carriage connected to a spring system that serves as resistance, along with pulleys, ropes, and cables. There are also sections where you can rest your head and shoulders while lying down, and a foot bar to rest your hands or feet for stability as you glide during exercises. Reformer Pilates exercises offer a full-body workout and include activities like moving the carriage forward or backward with the arms or legs. The machine's springs and pulleys also help you create heavy or light resistance to move through a full range of motions for better muscle balance, Carlingford Active Health points out. 

In fact, you can perform the same set of exercises on a reformer as you do on a mat. However, mat work exercises revolve around the use of body weight, while reformer Pilates imparts resistance through the use of the spring system, per Oxygen Pilates. Both forms of workouts do your body big favors. But a reformer, which serves as a support system for your body, allows for a greater repertoire of exercises that challenge your endurance and yield faster results. As mechanical as reformers look, they are safe and easy to use under guidance. Before using the reformer, you should first become acquainted with all of its components. Allowing varied levels of skills and comfort, reformer Pilates has noticeable benefits for both the body and the mind.

Benefits of reformer Pilates

Boosting the efficacy of your workouts through small and precise moves, reformer Pilates helps strengthen your core and improve your posture. By facilitating better awareness of the spine and optimizing intrinsic core and spinal muscles, reformer Pilates allows participants to "find space and stand taller and more connected," 212 Pilates owner and founder Tara Gordon tells Byrdie. Reformer Pilates exercises are especially beneficial for those who sit at their desks all day. Prolonged sitting can cause your hip muscles to shorten, wreak havoc on your back, and leave you with a poor posture. With its injury-preventing and posture-correcting qualities, reformer Pilates can help reverse the damage of prolonged sitting on your body. Gordon also points out that the comprehensive range of movement and strain on the muscle that the reformer generates can help exercisers achieve a leaner physique. Better body shape aside, reformer Pilates helps sharpen your concentration, boost your memory, and alleviate stress, per Vibe Pilates.

If you're looking for low-impact, easy-on-the-joints workout routines to strengthen and tone your back, thighs, and buttocks, look no further than reformer Pilates. Not only do reformer Pilates workouts improve your shape and strengthen your muscles, but they also encourage mindfulness and release stress. If you want faster weight-loss results, augment your workout routine with a proper diet. Reformer Pilates can give you a stronger body and calmer mind, which prepare you for more calorie-burning exercises and increase your productivity in everyday activities.