If you have ever watched any of the old horror movies, you could be forgiven for thinking that the Pilates Reformer fitness machine actually appeared in some of them. Far from being a bit part player in a horror movie, the Pilates Reformer is an star performer in many fitness gyms around the world. Explaining what the Pilates Reformer actually does wouldn't make a lot of sense without actually explaining what Pilates is and how it is intended to work.
The aim of a Pilates workout is to improve your core strength, rather than just your external appearance. It pays particular attention to the stomach muscles (abdominals) and the back muscles, which quite honestly are key to any serious workout anyway. There are a number of basic principals associated with Pilates. These were not created specifically by the creator of Pilates, but by coaches and instructors. Broadly speaking, they can be divided into the following categories: Centering, Concentration, Control, Precision, Breath, and Flow. Centering means focusing your concentration and efforts to the centre of the body, in an area under the rib cage and above the pubic bone.
Pilates exercises are focused on this area and this is an important area to concentrate on. As the name implies, concentration means giving your full attention to the matter in hand. As with any exercise or fitness program, 100% concentration on the exercise will give you better results. Every Pilates exercise must be done with complete muscular control. No body part is left to its own devices.
This really goes hand in hand with the previous principal. Precision is referring to carrying out the exercises exactly as outlined by the instructor. Any deviation from these instructions will impact on the quality of the workout and the benefit that you receive. Joseph Pilates emphasized using a very full breath in his exercises.
He advocated thinking of the lungs as a bellows to pump the air in and out of the body. Most Pilates exercises (as is common in a lot of exercise regimes) coordinate with the breath, and using the breath properly is an important part of Pilates exercise. When referring to flow, Pilates means that your actions should be smooth and even rather than jerky. Again, any deviation from this principal will impact on the benefit that you receive from doing the exercise. These basic principals actually apply to many forms of exercise, although all six together are pretty unique to the performance of Pilates. They are also pretty much common sense, and if applied correctly, will help give you the maximum benefit from your workout.
Now having read and understood the basic principles of Pilates, you will be better placed to understand how the Pilates Reformer can work for you. The Reformer provides finely tuned resistance to assist you with the technical principals of Pilates. The principals like the breath though are still down to you! Used correctly, the Pilates Reformer will help improve your core strength, which is the overriding design of Pilates.
Find out how a Pilates Reformer exercise machine can radically improve your core strength and fitness, through a carefully structured and principled fitness program and fitness gym equipment.