All over the world, fitness centers have jumped on the “pilates” bandwagon by selling mat work: mostly because they don’t have the space nor the money to invest in the expensive apparatus but if you were to ask Joseph himself he would without doubt advise that the most productive physical and mental changes can only occur on the Reformer.
The brilliance in Reformer pilates lies in a moving platform that supports your body 100% in a supine position while pushing or pulling against resistance that is customized for every specific purpose.
Joseph Pilates recognized that if he could simulate our regular daily vertical movement patterns while lying on a horizontal plane your body is uniquely able to realign, readjust and reform not only how you move but the muscles you employ to do so.
For example while performing the warm Up footwork series you push away from the foot bar against resistance, using your leg muscles. Depending on the specific foot position on the bar you may be simulating a squat, a lunge, a plie or a heel raise.
When standing to make these movements your stabilizing muscles engage so that you won’t fall and your leg muscles are apt to compensate for any weakness in your knees, hips or feet.
Most people perform squats and lunges completely incorrectly thus causing more damage to an already imbalanced body whereas on the reformer there is no apparent weakness so the correct muscles learn to engage and a new and better muscle awareness and memory is immediately instilled.
There is really no comparison to the benefits of Pilates Reformer training over simple Mat work. The Mat series will increase core strength and flexibility and may even redefine weak muscles but it cannot correct the common imbalances that come from repetitive incorrect movement patterns.
Plus and maybe most importantly your Reformer workouts are not only safe but so much more fun!
In today's chaotic, stress-filled world, a little exercise goes a long way to adding joy and vitality to your day. If you do nothing else, at least find 10 minutes to slowly stretch your whole body. Stretch to your full extension, relax in that position by exhaling into the stretch and then stretch a little more.
Most people have some kind of physical pain from years of incorrect movement, over zealous exercising and compounded injury. Joseph Pilates understood the negative effects of repetitive stress and touted the benefits of training the body as one integrated unit, in a symmetrically balanced way, on your back, on a machine that supports all structural weaknesses and challenges specific areas to simultaneously stretch and strengthen.
Joseph Pilates developed his method of working out to be performed on various pieces of equipment, the most common of which are the mat and the reformer. Both forms build strength, tone your body, improve your mental clarity and teach you how to use your breath. But there are some key differences between the two you should be aware of before you choose one route over the other.