Pilates is an exercise system invented by Joseph Pilates. The exercises focus on learning precise control of the human body, developing coordination and balance, and strengthening the core muscles of the body. Many of the exercises require the use of special exercise machines. The most widely used Pilates machine is called a Reformer.
A reformer looks kind of like a bed frame with extra bits attached. It has a carriage that rolls back and forth inside the frame. It has springs to provide an adjustable amount of resistance to movement of the carriage. It has shoulder blocks, a foot bar, and long straps with handles on them. The reformer is one of the most popular Pilates exercise machines because so many different exercises can be performed on it. Exercises can be performed in standing, lying, and sitting positions. All parts of the body can be trained and exercised on a reformer.
Benefits of Reformer Pilates
Pilates exercises using a reformer improve strength, flexibility, balance, and physical coordination. Unlike classical weight training that focuses on strengthening the muscles of the limbs, Reformer Pilates focuses on strengthening the all-important core muscles. In Pilates, the core muscles are referred to as “the powerhouse.” These are the muscles of the back and abdomen, the shoulders, and the buttocks.
Regular practitioners of Pilates develop flat abdomens, strong backs, and toned rears. In addition, students of Pilates develop good posture and learn how to move in a biomechanically correct way. Moving correctly not only looks graceful and effortless, it also helps prevent injuries and aches and pains.
Many people are nervous about trying a new regimen of physical fitness. Unfit people worry that they will be unable to perform even the easiest exercises, and therefore will fail and feel foolish. People who have old injuries or physical limitations worry that the new exercises will cause pain and harm. Some forms of physical fitness may suffer from these limitations. However, Pilates does not. It is a low-impact exercise that won’t make sore joints hurt. Each exercise can easily be modified to suit each individual student’s current needs.
Beginners to Pilates should take a few private Pilate classes to learn how to perform the various exercises on a reformer properly. Using correct form in Pilates is very important. In a private session, the instructor will guide the student’s body carefully through each exercise. Once a student has learned the exercises, he/she can join a group class.
Group classes tend to be more fun and motivating than private classes. There is a strong social aspect – people can attend with their friends, or they can make new friends at the class. Socializing can occur before and after class. Working through the exercises in the company of others motivates most people to work harder than when exercising alone. A group reformer Pilates class is a fun, social way to tone and improve the body.
If you’re interested in trying Mat Pilates or Reformer Pilates, Zero Gravity Fitness in Ocoee can help. We offer different classes and training programs to fit your health and fitness needs and goals. Stop by Zero Gravity Fitness today to talk to our fitness staff, and we’ll figure out the best Pilates program for you.