What is Pilates?
Pilates is an exercise and movement system developed by Joseph H Pilates, originally from Germany. Mr. Pilates was described as a sickly child with asthma, rheumatic fever, and rickets. He was obsessed with being an athlete and over the years he started putting together his own exercise system originally called Contrology.
While working in England when WWI broke out, he ended up in a prison camp. He continued to refine his system in those years while being held captive. In 1918 when the Influenza plaque swept through the prison camp, his camp survived… Yes, every person in his tent, guard, and prisoner was told to have survived the pandemic when every other tent had mass casualties.
Why? Because they were doing Contrology exercises led by Joseph in his tent. The story goes that the English let Mr. Pilates out of his prison camp in exchange for him teaching his methods to all of their soldiers. He agreed but left for America as soon as he could, ending up in New York City and opening his studio around 1925.
Pilates is an exercise modality that encourages the mind to control the body. Through repetition and focused breathing, the mind-body connection improves.
Pilates is based on the following principles:
What is a Pilates Reformer?
A pilates reformer is the classic exercise equipment you will find in most Pilates studios across the world. Joe Pilates submitted the reformer to the United States Patent Office in 1925, getting approval in 1926 and then a second patent in 1927.
The Pilates Reformer sits low to the ground and is typically made of a wood or steel frame. It has a movable carriage that attaches to one end of the frame with springs for resistance. The other side of the carriage has leather or rope straps attached to the opposite side of the frame as the springs.
Pilates reformer allows one to perform exercises laying on your back, side, or stomach, as well as sitting, kneeling, or standing due to its unique design. The entire body, including the mind, is worked out during a Pilates session on the Reformer.
Expect to feel some areas stretching and other areas to be working harder than they have ever worked. The joy and pain of Pilates in one moment.
Who can benefit the most from the Pilates Reformer?
The Pilates Reformer is one of the if not the most diverse pieces of exercise equipment available. Hundreds of exercises can be done on the Pilates Reformer by most people and up to 500 exercises for those capable of performing the super advanced repertoire.
The super-advanced exercises are saved for professional dancers and circus performers, not the average person looking to use the Pilates Reformer. With that said, I have had clients on the Pilates Reformer that are in a wheelchair and I have also had professional athletes and everything in between.
We have worked with physical therapy patients and fitness clients utilizing the Pilates Reformer with spinal pain, hip & knee pain, ankle injuries, shoulder problems, prehab, and postoperative. Our youngest client on the Pilates reformer has been 6 or 7 years old and our oldest is in their late 90s.
To answer the question, most people can benefit from using the Pilates Reformer with a Certified Pilates Instructor in a Personal Training or Physical Therapy session.
Should I start with Pilates Mat or Pilates Reformer?
In my opinion, the Pilates Mat work is harder than the Pilates Reformer, at least initially. With the Pilates Reformer, the machine with its springs for resistance and straps assist you with learning Pilates. It makes it easier to learn the initial concepts of Pilates.
Pilates Mat work is you and your body on an exercise mat working against gravity with no assistance at all. Pilates Mat is cheaper and more accessible at the local gyms and fitness centers. Many people start with Pilates Mat classes for these reasons but I highly recommend doing a few Private Pilates Reformer sessions first and then progressing to group Pilates Mat and Pilates Reformer classes.
In a private session, you will get all of the attention and be able to ask as many questions as you have. In a group class, you are one of many and individual attention is no longer the priority. Group classes are designed to give your body practice and precision over and over again once you have an understanding of the basics.
This is my opinion as a physical therapist who is also certified to teach Pilates and deals with injuries and pain, not the fitness client.
If you are not injured and are looking for a new fitness routine or to complement your current routine, then the Pilates Mat work is a great place to start. In this situation, I recommend trying both a few Pilates Mat and Pilates Reformer classes and letting your body decide which it gravitates towards.
Where can I do Pilates Reformer Classes in Austin | Westlake Hills?
All of our Physical Therapists at CORE Therapy & Pilates are Certified Pilates Instructors and use the Pilates Reformer with their physical therapy patients. All of our personal trainers are Certified Pilates Instructors and offer private Pilates Reformer sessions and group Pilates Reformer Classes.
Also, all of our sessions are 55 minutes and are offered at our beautiful studio at 3534 Bee Caves Rd, Ste 110 in Raintree Office Park.
Our group Pilates Reformer classes in Austin are very small with a maximum of 4 students. We don't believe in group classes with a dozen students on a reformer and a teacher not paying attention to any of them.
Our private Pilates sessions include the use of the Reformer, Trap Table (Cadillac), Pilates Chair, and Barrels as indicated by your goals.
Call 512-215-4227 to tell us your story.
Interested in purchasing some Pilates equipment for home use?
Check out https://www.pilates.com/store to learn more about our favorite Pilates manufacturing brand. Learn more about Pilates Physical Therapy at CORE Therapy & Pilates.
Want to start Pilates Mat at home? Grab this mat from Amazon.
If you are ready to purchase a home reformer, this is the one that I suggest.
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