Since no clinical studies had ever been performed on a reformer we decided to put our AeroPilates system to the test.
The objective of the study was to thoroughly examine AeroPilates, an exercise program that combines Pilates strength training with supine cardio rebounding, which can be accomplished by a majority of people, and to determine whether there are significant fitness and weight loss effects.
Pilates is renowned for its unique multiple plane movements, and is well touted for the wide array of benefits it provides including: improved strength, mobility, endurance, flexibility, core stability, proprioception, control, coordination, and mind/body stress reduction. It has long been used for rehabilitation and is typically performed on a reformer or on a mat on the floor.
Here is a short summary of the findings:
Fitness Study on AeroPilates
Neil Wolkodoff, PhD, Sue Peterson, Jeff Miller, PhD
14 Subjects: 12 Female and 2 Male, 6 Control Subjects: 5 Female and 1 Male with no exercise at all
Tested VO2 peak, Body Composition, Balance, Isokinetic Strength, Flexibility, Posture
+21% Anaerobic Threshold
-15% Fat Weight
+5% Lean Muscle
+11% Body composition
- 58% Stress
+177% Lower Back/Hamstring Flexibility
+9% Hip Flexion
+18% Torso Rotation
+14% Knee Extension
+11% Knee Flexion
+32% Shoulder Press
+28% Latissimus Pull Down
+33% Abdominal Crunch
+62% Back Extension
+24% Overall Endurance/Strength to Body Weight
The objective of the study was to examine AeroPilates, an exercise program that combines Pilates strength training with supine Cardio Rebounding which unlike most other exercise, can be accomplished by a majority of people, and to determine whether there were significant fitness and weight loss effects.
Reformer Pilates is renowned for its unique multiple plane movements and is well touted for the wide array of benefits including improved strength, mobility, endurance, flexibility, core stability, proprioception, control and coordination as well as mind/ body stress reduction. It has long been used for rehabilitation and is typically performed on a reformer or on a mat on the floor.
The AeroPilates Reformer
A longitudinal platform that moves smoothly along a flat horizontal track when pulled or pushed, against the resistance of three to four tension cords. Over 500 exercises can be performed to target specific muscular groups. In traditional mat Pilates, there is very moderate energy expenditure with minimal increase in heart rate and while there is recorded increase in flexibility and balance there has been no recorded increase in strength or weight loss. While other Pilates reformers have a jumpboard option to increase cardio rate, the AeroPilates reformers have a uniquely patented trampoline attachment that allows the user to increase their hart rate with minimal impact on the joints and while lying supine.
14 relatively unconditioned subjects, who had not exercised more than once a week for at least 90 days, were chosen. They ranged in age from 23-64; 12 women, 2 men.
Each subject wanted to improve their body composition and increase their overall fitness level.
Initial measurements were taken prior to beginning the study. These included height, weight, body composition, resting blood pressure, VO2 Peak, resting heart rate, and stability. Strength was measured during chest press, row, lat pull-down, shoulder press, leg extension, leg curl and core exercises. Flexibility, posture, and stress were also measured. All measurements were taken using state of the art fitness measuring devices.
The AeroPilates strength training included warm-up footwork upper and lower body, core and stretching exercises, five to ten reps of each exercise. Subjects were coached on proper form and breathing and modifications were made where necessary.
The results were dramatic and surprised the testers who had not seen as impressive results in any other study of a fitness machines.
The subjects, when lined up against the AlignaBod grid, showed marked increase in height and improvement in posture.
More impressive were the comments from the subjects at the conclusion of the study.
"I never thought it would be so easy to stick with a program at home"
"I didn't realize that aerobic activity is cumulative so I could do five minutes throughout the day and I saw great results"
" I was never bored, I hate other exercise and have never been able to stick with anything before"
"All my friends have noticed such a difference in how I look"
"I never felt sore, unlike other exercises programs"
"I am so amazed at being able to do everything on one machine"
Strength and endurance increased significantly in all areas showing that AeroPilates exercise contributes to better daily living.
AeroPilates showed significant increase in core strength probably enhanced by the rebounding.
Body composition improved dramatically increasing lean muscles and reducing fat.
Flexibility increased dramatically especially in the lower back and hips
Balance improved without performing specific balance training. This is unique and probably because of the nature of how the body learns to understand how it moves in space.
Posture improved and stress was reduced because AeroPilates is a mindful and thoughtful system that uses the brain.
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.