Getting Started With Reformer Pilates Classes

If you are a fan of low impact, full body workouts that strengthen the core while improving posture and movement, reformer pilates classes are for you. Created by Pilates founder Joseph Pilates, the reformer consists of a flat platform, called the carriage, that rolls back and forth within a bed-like frame with adjustable springs and straps. The instability of the machine recruits more muscle movement than would be possible on solid ground and targets not only large muscle movers but smaller stabilising muscles as well.

The workouts are designed for all levels and are a great way to build a foundation of strength, coordination, balance, and flexibility. For those just starting out, a few private sessions before joining group classes is recommended, as it allows instructors to tailor your workout and help with modifications. Despite their slow movements, the workouts can burn up to 400 calories in 30 minutes.

For those looking to take it up a notch, there are more advanced classes that include combining other fitness techniques with the Pilates equipment. These classes offer a blend of cardio, interval training and traditional strength-training exercises, resulting in a full-body, high-energy workout. Reformer Flow (Level 2.5) and F.I.T (Levels 2, 2.5) are examples of these classes at Club Pilates.

Regardless of the class level, it’s important to always listen to your body and work within your comfort zone. “You have to be mindful of what your body is telling you, and pay attention to how much you push yourself,” says Gordon. “If you have to stop or modify, that’s OK.”

The classes at Studio Pilates International(r) are also suitable for pregnant women and are a great form of exercise for the early stages of pregnancy, when it is safe to do so under a qualified instructor. The reformer helps to strengthen the deep abdominal and pelvic floor muscles, which can improve the position of the baby and decrease urinary incontinence after birth.

Reformer Pilates can be challenging even for those who are accustomed to group classes and have a strong workout regimen, but the equipment is versatile and can be adjusted to suit almost everyone. Those with more experience can work up to more advanced moves by using a higher level of spring resistance or adding weights to the carriage.

Getting started with reformer Pilates can be difficult without a personal trainer, so look for classes at local studios and gyms that are led by a Certified Pilates Instructor. Ask your friends for recommendations and check out equipment manufacturers’ lists of teachers in each state. “Make sure you feel comfortable with the teacher and can move at a pace that feels appropriate for your body,” says Heidari.

Once you have found a few studios that fit your style, try out a few classes and see which instructors best match your needs. If you aren’t seeing the results you want, consider switching teachers and make sure to communicate with your instructor to set goals and track your progress.






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