September 28, 2023

Reformer Pilates classes are a fun way to strengthen muscles throughout the entire body while building endurance and improving flexibility. The workout is also an effective cardiovascular workout, helping you burn calories and build strength without increasing your heart rate or putting strain on joints.

The workout is designed to improve balance and posture, as well as tone muscle groups including the abs, legs, buttocks, arms and back. While the class can be challenging for beginners, it is also suitable for most fitness levels, even pregnant women.

In fact, it is recommended by many health professionals that Pilates be done during pregnancy to help support the lower back and reduce pain in the hips and knees as the body adjusts to changes in weight distribution and postural shifts. Pilates can also strengthen the pelvic floor and deep abdominal muscles, helping women to breathe more deeply which may lead to a less painful delivery and recovery after birth.

When it comes to choosing a class, there are a number of factors to consider, from the level of difficulty and the type of equipment used to whether the class is suitable for injury rehabilitation or pre and post-natal exercise. Aim for a beginner or foundation level class, as these are usually geared towards beginners and can focus on building strength and improving technique before moving onto more advanced classes, Wilson explains.

A good instructor will be able to guide students through the workout and correct them throughout to help them achieve the most beneficial results. They will often encourage students to challenge themselves while working within their own abilities, but if you have any injuries or concerns, make sure the instructor knows ahead of time so they can adjust the exercises and provide modifications where necessary.

Some reformer machines will have a variety of springs and handles that can be adjusted to increase or decrease resistance. Generally, springs are color-coded with yellow indicating the lightest resistance, blue for medium and red for more intense exercises. It is important to note that a lighter spring doesn’t necessarily mean the exercise will be easier as the core will have to work harder to control the movement and machine, he adds.

In a typical reformer class, the instructor will move the carriage or platform around the room to target different muscles in the body. They will also use springs, straps and bars to provide additional challenges for the body. Depending on the type of class and your own experience, you may be asked to perform some of these exercises while sitting or standing, but for beginners, it is usually best to do the exercises while lying down as this can minimise the pressure on the spine.

For those who want to take their reformer workouts to the next level, there are classes available that incorporate a high-intensity jumping sequence. Jumpboard classes combine classical reformer repertoire with the power of the tower, requiring more strength and endurance to complete the workout.

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