Every Pilates class is an adventure. The variety of props, machines and equipment this exercise method could feature for every session makes it an exciting, challenging and well-spent hour. By Ivy Ong
Reformers are famous, as well as infamous – it could be argued – in Pilates. This, for good reason: with proper form and good alignment, reformer exercises feel stress-free and are safe to perform while highly effective in strength and stability training. The exercises are dynamic, and they get progressively challenging as the body grows stronger and the muscles ask for more.
What’s fun about working out on the reformer is that the movements flow smoothly. It’s almost like going for a ride except you use your muscles to power the vehicle. As fun as reformers are, Pilates exercises using other apparatus are sometimes left underrated, yet they are just as exciting and effective as doing it on the reformer.
Get Down on the Mat
Mat Pilates forms the foundation of all Pilates exercises done on the reformer and other equipment. If spring tension moves the carriage on the reformer, nothing else but the body provides the tension, the push and the pull, on the mat. This is why there’s an impression that mat Pilates is more difficult – you have to carry your own weight; you have to really be in control of your body.
Using props like the barrel, blocks, a sponge ball, Flex Band, Fitness Circle resistance ring, toning balls or hand weights brings variety to the exercises. These props help target specific muscle groups as well as increase or decrease the intensity of an exercise.
(Caption for picture 1: Sitting on the barrel helps ease tight hip flexors while the sponge ball between the knees facilitates rotation of the trunk.)
Jump onto the Cadillac
The original Cadillac was designed by Joseph Pilates, which was simply a hospital bed with makeshift springs attached to it in its earliest, rudimentary versions. Joseph rehabilitated injured soldiers on these beds during World War I, and he continued to improve upon his ideas until the Cadillac came into being. The Cadillac took on its fancy title because of its many features. Today, no pilates studio is complete without a Cadillac.
Though it traces its origins to injury rehabilitation, the Cadillac is not only used to rehabilitate but also to challenge the body more by isolating the muscles. The exercises on the Cadillac use springs that are independent of each other, you have to use the left and right sides of the body equally so you really push them to do the same amount of work.
The Trapeze and Fuzzies are two attachments that go across the top frame of the Cadillac to help you do anything from simple stretches to more intense exercises, i.e. upside down. There is a sense of excitement from being able to do these exercises, because you know that your body has grown stronger – the Hanging Abdominal Curls, for example, is not so much about hanging upside down as having a strong core that enables you to do abdominal crunches without having to be grounded on the mat.
Work on the Chair
The Split-Pedal Stability Chair is a compact apparatus that trains balance and stability as you work on a smaller base of support. You can exercise sitting on the Chair; you can also work lying down or standing at the front, back or sides of it. The Chair is able to isolate the lower and upper body by its design, and the split pedals also allow you to isolate the left and right sides of the body.
Good for people who prefer to exercise stationary and for people who need to stay upright, the Chair can adapt to rehabilitation exercises, pre-natal and post-natal exercises, strength training and athletic conditioning.
Get the full Pilates experience at All Core Pilates at the Upper Ground Floor, Alabang Town Center. Call or text 0917-187-2207 for more information. Book your training.