Perhaps when walking into our Pilates studio in Bristol, the first thing you expect to see isn’t a metal frame with springs and straps and yes, looks a little like an instrument of torture. It is in fact one of the Joseph Pilates’ inventions, the Universal Reformer. And we’ve currently got three of them!
What does it do?
The springs and straps provide resistance and work just like the muscles in your body, expanding and contracting.
In an interview from 1946 Joe Pilates discloses the purpose of the apparatus. He explains:
“Of course you can exercise without machines. But it’s not as efficient – would take longer. With them, three or four hours work a week is enough.”
In the same interview, he further implies that one of the many purposes of his apparatus was to provide tactile feedback, much like a teacher’s hand:
“I invented all these machines. I thought, why use my strength? So I made a machine to do it for me. Look, you see it resists your movement in just the right way so those long inner muscles really have to work against it. That is why you can concentrate on movement.”
Is it harder than the mat?
As mentioned above, Joe Pilates invented the apparatus to compliment his mat work. The springs and straps add resistance for you to work against, but also assistance to help you gain connections you might not be feeling on the mat. That’s why at our studio we believe using the apparatus can be brilliant for people with injuries, particularly bad backs. The reformer allows you to strengthen your body while being more supported than you would be on the mat.
Should I have a go?
Lots of our clients who were sceptical at first now love their sessions on the reformer. Some clients do 1:1 sessions which involve a bit of mat work, some reformer time and some dedicated time on whatever their body needs. Other clients who already come to a mat class will spend 40 minutes or so working through exercises just on the reformer in order to strengthen the connections they learned on the mat.
Contact us for a consultation to try some of the equipment.
P.S Existing clients can always hop on after their mat class for a trial run!
Photo Credit: Pilates Scandinavia Reformer