What is Pilates Reformer?
When talking about Pilates, the first thing that comes to mind is the Reformer—the bed-like apparatus with tension cables attached to it. This equipment may seem intimidating at first glance, but it’s no more difficult to use than the usual contraptions at many Singapore gyms.
The Reformer was invented in the late 1800s by Joseph Pilates, who sparked the global Pilates movement. It was initially called the Universal Reformer, one of 12 original devices Pilates designed to help soldiers injured in the war.
The bedframe-like platform is called the carriage, which is mounted on wheels that roll back and forth. There are cables and bars attached to the platform, with the overall design intended to provide full-body resistance during exercise.
When you pull the cables with your arms and push the bars with your legs, your muscles extend to the fullest position. The Reformer lets you move your body, executing a full range of motion that you usually can’t do on your own, or by using a single equipment.
Note, however, that you’ll need an instructor to guide you through the proper movements and breathing, which is essential to Pilates. Without proper guidance, there’s a risk of unduly straining the muscles, and you’re likely to fall back into your old movement patterns.
Pilates Reformer Exercise—what can it do for you?
Pilates Reformer is an excellent workout for your core—the body’s powerhouse comprising the abs, lower back, hips, and glutes. At the same time, the exercises target the arms and legs (remember those cables you need to pull and bars you need to push on?)
Using the Reformer regularly trains you to develop proper body mechanics and adapt to a full range of motion. And while Mat Pilates does include exercises that work the legs and arms, they’re usually done with no resistance unless you’re using dumbbells or a Pilates ring.
What’s more, Pilates Reformer workouts have more exercise variety than Mat Pilates. In short, you’re getting a more comprehensive workout that tones the muscles, stabilises the joints, enhances flexibility, improves posture, and corrects balance when in motion.
More importantly, the resistance that the Reformer provides lets you get results faster. You’ll achieve your fitness goals more quickly by using just one equipment instead of multiple gym machines, too.
As your body gets accustomed to the basic movements, you can adjust the springs and the moving carriage to higher levels of resistance. In a month or so, you can expect to move from reclined exercises to workouts that require less contact between the body and the carriage.
Pilates Reformer Workout—who benefits the most?
Since a Pilates Reformer workout is heavily focused on full-body alignment and accurate muscle engagement while working the core and limbs too, everyone benefits! These include cross-training athletes and workout newbies.
Pilates Reformer is also an excellent exercise for males looking to build strength or females who want to improve their physique (and vice-versa). Those who are approaching or are already in their senior years will likewise benefit from the flexibility-enhancing and balance-building workout.
Many studies show that doing Pilates Reformer once a week for 2 to 3 months can result in reduced risks of falling over. There are also significant improvements in dynamic (moving) and static (standing still) balance as well as functional mobility among adults 60 years and older.
Another great thing about Pilates Reformer is it helps treat back pains with its core-strengthening effect. As the spine becomes more aligned, tension is eased from the trunk and back muscles, so the aches and pains go away, the more you work out.
Also, Pilates Reformer is recommended for rehabilitative purposes as it allows the patient to exercise while lying flat on their back. Doing so spares the legs from bearing weight, which is particularly beneficial for those who have undergone knee surgery or have knee injuries.
Pilates Reformer Class—how much does it cost?
“Why are Pilates Reformer classes priced higher than Mat Pilates or other similar exercise programs,” you might ask. The simple answer is that it’s a more focused and specialised regimen, and there aren’t that many qualified instructors.
The equipment alone is costly, even the home-use ones, plus the workouts have to be done in a studio under the supervision of trained coaches if you want real results. The machines also have to be maintained and adequately calibrated regularly, hence the added expenses.
Here at Pilates Plus Singapore, we offer Reformer Group Class Packages at $475 for 12 sessions, valid for 4 months. The class is inclusive of Reformer Allegro, Reformer Fundamentals, and Reformer Strength Series courses.
We also have a Reformer Plus class, a unique hybrid package that lets you enjoy Reformer sessions and non-Reformer sessions for 4 months. We’ve made our Monthly Packages accessible to all (at $345 per month, unlimited, for all classes) so everyone can join!
Although group sessions are less expensive, we recommend taking private sessions if you’re a Pilates Reformer beginner. It’s because the essential techniques should be adjusted to suit your own needs and physical capabilities, and you have to get accustomed to the equipment.
So, if you want to see lean muscles, visible improvements to your posture, and tangible results in terms of flexibility and stability, come on in! Pilates Plus Singapore is here to help you achieve that body-mind balance we all need to lead healthy, happy lives.
People with degenerative disc disease and severe back pain should consult with their physicians first and foremost. Pilates Reformer is neither intended nor recommended as a substitute for medical treatments. Before taking up any exercise program, it’s always best to consult with your doctor.
“I’m looking for a workout to make me stronger, but I don’t want to look bulky.” We got this enquiry from Isabelle, a 25-year-old professional. She’s been cooped up at home for months throughout the circuit-breaker period, and it’s made her sluggish.
Sean also asked, “What exercise is okay for senior citizens like me?” He’s a retired corporate executive who’s worried that he’s feeling “kind of stiff and clumsy” now that he’s no longer as active as he used to be.
On the other hand, Nina, 35, is bothered by “(my) bad back. I have these aches almost every day, and it’s stressing me out, especially when I’m in the office.” She’s exhausted by the time she gets home from work.
It may sound like Isabelle, Sean, and Nina have different problems, but they’re all in the same situation: they can’t live life to the fullest. A healthy young adult should be brimming with energy and confidence. Senior citizens should still be able to enjoy life and move with ease. People in their 30s and 40s must keep up their strength, with passion and joy.
We’ve all felt the same way at some point, regardless of age, gender, or lifestyle. So, we figured we’ll share with everyone the one solution to Isabelle’s, Sean’s, and Nina’s problems: Strength Pilates. And here’s why…
1. Strength Pilates Boosts Your Energy and Keeps You Fit
Walking into a Pilates studio could be intimidating, seeing all that equipment, especially the Reformer and Cadillac. At first glance, it looks like only athletes and fitness buffs can pull off the workouts, but that’s just not true.
Pilates is actually a great beginner’s workout, or if it’s your first time to take up an exercise regimen. You can start out at a pace that you’re comfortable with and do basic routines your body is strong enough to move up to the next level.
You can do Strength Pilates on a mat using weights or everyday items around the house like a chair or handy containers filled with water. These are low-impact exercises that work on the back and chest, butt and pelvis, and other core muscles you didn’t know could use a workout.
Unlike weight training, strength-building regimens won’t bulk you up or make you look buff like bodybuilders. What Strength Pilates does is tone your muscles—and reduce body fat, increase lean muscle mass, and burn calories efficiently in the process.
So, if you’re like Isabelle, whose primary concern is her low energy levels, or if you just want to be healthier, look fitter, and feel better, then you made the right choice.
2. Strength Pilates Makes You Nimble and Move Easily
If you’re in your senior years like Sean, or you have a health condition that prevents you from doing the usual gym exercises, then Strength Pilates is an option. But first, check with your doctor to make sure it’s safe, and how much exertion your body can take.
It’s a fact of life that as we get older, simple movements like walking, bending down, and reaching up takes more effort. We start to feel more stiffness around the arms, legs, and torso. We’re not as limber as we used to. And balance becomes an issue as we advance in age.
The goal of Strength Pilates is to enhance the body’s flexibility and improve balance, so we can move naturally with ease. It’s especially beneficial for senior citizens who are having trouble keeping steady on their legs or lifting stuff around the house.
The exercises can be adapted to provide gentle strength training, then modified along the way to further improve stability. People who haven’t exercised in a long time or are undergoing physical therapy from past injuries would also benefit.
Studies show that strength training exercises for all major muscle groups at least two times a week are recommended. Strength Pilates guides us to move with ease and grace and takes us to a state of balance and natural flow—if we can’t move properly, it’s hard to live normally.
3. Strength Pilates Eases Body Pains and Reduces Stress
Many of our clients started taking up Pilates as a remedy to back pain and the usual aches we get from sitting long hours hunched over our desks. People with a mostly sedentary lifestyle get the most tension in the neck, shoulders, chest, and hips.
A lot of it has to do with bad posture, which causes our spine to be misaligned and our back muscles to be twisted. Bad posture crushes the cushioning between the vertebrae and makes breathing erratic, so the brain isn’t getting as much oxygen as it needs.
Strength Pilates focuses on achieving proper postural alignment by gradually challenging the body’s resistance levels and progressively building up endurance. Pilates Plus Singapore’s unique exercise routine runs for six weeks to ensure that maintaining the correct form and proper breathing techniques become a habit among the students.
What’s more, you learn how to tune in to your body and react positively to your thoughts. Remember Nina and her problems with back pain and stress? If you’re going through the same thing, then you’ll benefit from a class that not only strengthens your body but also teaches you mindfulness—focusing on what’s happening at the moment rather than what could go wrong.
When we’re stressed, the tension we feel progresses to pain, which in turn weakens our immune system and slows down our metabolism. To break the cycle, we should learn not only to move correctly but also think properly—and that’s the Pilates philosophy.
With Pilates, the more you train, the better you get at your daily tasks. And as it gets to be a regular practice, body-mind balance will come naturally to you—and that’s crucial in living life to the fullest.
So, whether you’re female or male, younger or older, a workout newbie or a seasoned athlete, Strength Pilates can help. If you’re still not comfortable leaving the house to do the exercises at our studio, we’re offering virtual classes at Pilates Plus Singapore.
We hope to hear from you soon!
We’ve all had time to reflect on the importance of being physically and mentally healthy. Counting the days until the lockdown ends, we’ve resolved to take better care of ourselves. But let’s face it, it’s hard to commit to a fitness program when there’s no tangible result, right?
If you’re looking for a workout not just for the body but also the mind, then Pilates mat exercises are a good start. Aside from whipping you up into shape, Pilates teaches centering, concentration, and control—but how does knowing all that help you IRL? Read on to find out!
Mat Pilates is perfect for beginners because the reps can be adjusted to your physical capability. Plus, you’ll only need a mat, some floor space, and everyday items you can use as exercise aids.
It involves floor workouts that build body strength and activate the brain’s stress-busting functions. With Pilates’ emphasis on the body/mind connection, it’s easier to grasp how toning, flexibility, coordination, and focus come together to make life easier…and just happier!
So, let’s cut to the chase and tell you exactly how Pilates mat exercises can make you look great simply because you feel so good!
1. Burns Fat and Calories
Flabby abs, chubby arms and legs, bulky hips and backsides…these are why most of us are driven to exercise. Luckily for us, Pilates mat exercises target the body’s powerhouse—abdominal and lower back muscles, glutes, hips, and pelvic floor.
While strengthening the body’s core is the goal of Pilates mat exercises, you’ll most likely burn off calories and shed excess pounds in the process. But if you want to lose weight fast, then you might want to take up running, swimming, and other cardio workouts on top of Pilates.
Traditional Pilates was designed as a low-impact workout meant to build up strength gradually. Although, research shows it’s also effective in lowering BMI and calorie count, and results in a slimmer waist, flatter abs, and leaner hips too.
Picture this: if you weigh about 150lbs and you’re doing beginner Pilates mat classes for 50 minutes, then you’ll shed about 175 calories. Our muscles continue burning off calories even after working out so, the longer you’re at it, the stronger and shapelier you get.
2. Makes You Look Taller
We wear heels and elevator shoes to look taller because…why not? Doesn’t hurt to add a few centimeters to your height, right? In fact, Miss World 2003 Rosanna Davison credits Pilates for making her half-an-inch taller.
Well, Pilates can’t make you grow actually but, with all that stretching, your spine becomes more aligned, back muscles are elongated, and the cushioning between the vertebrae gets more room to breathe.
Pilates may not be able to lengthen your bones but it will correct your posture with consistent practice. These days it’s normal to spend long hours sitting at our desks or hunched over phones and tablets, which ruin our posture and make us look shorter.
As you move from beginner to master class, you’ll notice that you’re standing straighter and looking leaner. And with no help from stilettos or height-adding insoles, too!
3. Gets Rid of Stiffness
Getting up from bed, bending to put on shoes, reaching for stuff, walking…just about everything we do requires flexibility. Like breathing, you don’t think of doing it, it just happens!
Then as you’re getting more of the occasional crick in the neck, backache, or stiffness in the joints, that’s when it hits home: flexibility is crucial to living a normal life. We can’t move well if we’re not flexible, and we can’t live normally if we can’t move.
That’s how Joseph saw it when he created Pilates to help injured soldiers. Pilates guides the body to move with ease and grace. It’s meant to get us to a state of balance and natural flow.
Sadly, our body’s flexibility decreases as we get older and everyday stuff like bending, stretching, or reaching won’t feel as effortless. You can prevent this with Pilates mat exercises, and making stretching part of your daily routine.
4. Helps Strengthen Immunity
If there’s anything we’ve learned from the coronavirus outbreak, it’s that a strong immune system could spell the difference between life and death. We know now that the virus attacks the lungs, that’s why it’s so important to keep them healthy and resilient.
Aside from not smoking and not exposing yourself to pollution, there are other things you can do to make your lungs stronger, like Pilates. But how?
First, the exercises correct posture, so the diaphragm can contract and relax the way it should. Second, Pilates teaches breathing techniques that get oxygen circulating, so our body can function better and heal faster.
Remember, the diaphragm is a muscle, and it’s just as important to work it out like you would your biceps. We’re not supposed to take shallow breaths, we just get used to it, which means our lungs aren’t operating at 100%.
Pilates teaches us to breathe properly and, in the process, become more aware of how our body works, and more responsive to the health alerts it’s sending.
5. Reduces Stress and Anxiety
We get the most tension in the neck, shoulders, chest, and hips. When we’re stressed, this tension goes from discomfort to pain, which makes us even more stressed. To break the cycle, we should learn to move and think properly—and that’s the Pilates philosophy.
At mat class, you’re taught how to tune in to your body and react positively to your thoughts. Pilates trains you to concentrate on what’s happening in the moment rather than what could go wrong. And that’s what mindfulness is all about.
Think about it: you’re less likely to get sick if you’re doing strength-building Pilates mat exercises regularly. The more you train, the better you get at your daily tasks.
And as Pilates gets to be a regular practice, mind-body balance will come naturally to you—and that’s crucial in living life to the fullest.
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