The Reformer. Sounds like something from the Spanish Inquisition or Jerry Falwell, doesn't it.
But for those who are in the know, know what the Pilates Refomer is, and just how spectacular they feel using it. Here's what I hear from clients:
"Ohmygawd! I feel taller." You don't actually get "taller". But you can develop better posture and regain height that you've lost from poor muscle strength and compressed vertebrae. (I gained 1/2 an inch.)
"Sessions on the reformer help me more with my back, knees and shoulder than any yoga class, and cheaper than the chiropractor!" Pilates has made it's way into the physical therapy world and helps with rehab and injury prevention. With regular practice (on and off the reformer) you can retrain your muscles to work smoothly and more effectively.
"I can exercise lying down? Sign me up!" Yes, you do some of the exercises lying down. But it's not just lounging around being fed bonbons. You work! Exercises are done on your back, your front, on your knees, seated, and standing.
"This thing makes my mat workouts make more sense. I can really feel the muscles targeted by each exercise." That's just what Joseph Pilates wanted it to do! Because there are tension springs on the reformer, you get tactile feed back, which helps you engage muscles for the most results. Hard to explain, easy to understand once you see/feel for yourself.
"In ten sessions you'll feel the difference,
in 20 you'll see the difference,
and in 30 you'll be on the way to a whole new body."
So what is the reformer? It's a contraption...um, an exercise apparatus...a machine, originally designed by Joseph Pilates, to help people get more from their mat workouts.
Well then, what's pilates? An exercise method to help you identify, engage and tone your stabilizer muscles as well as the superficial muscles of the body. It helps with posture, injury prevention/rehab, alignment, muscle imbalances, and even cardiovascular capacity.
Wait, what are stabilizer muscles? Pretty much the ones you keep hearing referred to as your core. But it's more than just your abs.
Now I know I'm the gal for cheap exercise tips, so me talking up the reformer, kind of goes against my love of keepin' it real and affordable. But here's the way I look at. I personally can't afford to go the chiropractors, massage therapists, sports medicine doctors all the time. By learning how to keep my body in alignment and in good working order, I save bucks in the long run. Plus I like to take an active role in my health. Relying on passive treatments may feel good, but it doesn't give me a sense of personal control/responsibility for my body. If that makes sense...
Plus I can take the moves from the reformer repertoire and teach folks how to do the moves with bands, balls, and gliding discs.