February 23, 2011 6:07 pm
Filed Under: Fitness, Health & Fitness, Mayfair, Mayfair Blog
At first glance, the Pilates Reformer might not look like a welcoming piece of exercise equipment – a throw back from much earlier times. A closer examination reveals that the Pilates Reformer is actually quite an elegant machine and something that has been well made for what it is designed to do.
So what does the Pilates Reformer do exactly? Perhaps the best thing to do is to explain some of the principals behind Pilates, so that you will better understand what the Reformer is trying to achieve.
The definition of Pilates is the balanced development of the deep and superficial muscles that stabilize, align, and move the trunk of the body, especially the abdominals and muscles of the back, which many fitness teachers might also refer to as core strength. Core strength looks beyond the superficial, and sometimes cosmetic, outer appearance, and looks at the power of the internal muscles.
This definition is further broken down into the following principals that govern Pilates – Centering, Concentration, Control, Precision, Breath, and Flow.
Centering refers to bringing the focus of the exercise to the centre of the body between the lower ribs and pubic bone. Energetically, Pilates exercises are sourced from this centre.
Concentration simply means bringing one’s full attention to the exercise and doing it with full commitment. As with any exercise, giving it your full attention will yield maximum benefit.
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.
In Pilates, awareness is sustained throughout each movement. There is an appropriate placement and alignment relative to other body parts, and trajectory for each part of the body. Precision of movement is important.
Joseph Pilates emphasized using a very full breath in his exercises. 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.
Fluidity, grace, and ease are goals applied to all Pilates exercises. A smooth technique is important to the most beneficial use of Pilates.
Pilates equipment, like the reformer, are very good mirrors of one’s flow and concentration as they tend to bang around and suddenly become quite “machine-like” if one loses control and flow. The Reformer provides finely tuned exercise resistance that allows one to work very precisely with alignment, core strength, and all of the Pilates exercise principles.
Written by Colleen Hopkins, Director of Fitness Operations