Saturday 9 February 2019

Trying out a new form of exercise - reformer pilates

For quite a while now, I have been intrigued by the idea of reformer pilates. After seeing it popping up on my Instagram explore page, and reading a few blog posts and articles discussing the benefits of it, I was curious as to whether you could really get much of a workout from lying on a spring-loaded machine, pulling a few straps and pushing yourself along the machine with your legs.

So, I decided that one of my new years' resolutions this year would be trying out a reformer pilates class. After doing a bit of a Google search, the most popular place that came up in Hobart was The Studio HQ, which has two locations - one in Salamanca, and one in South Hobart (members have access to both locations). I called them up in January, and after a chatting for a few minutes to a lovely lady from the Studio, I had signed up to their 6 week introductory offer. The introductory offer included an orientation session to teach you how to use the machines, the setup of the studio, and information on the various classes on offer, which, in addition to reformer pilates, include yoga, mat pilates, cardio reformer pilates, barrecode and cycle classes, and membership with the Studio allows you to attend any of these classes.

After going along to the orientation session and understanding a bit more about how reformer pilates works, I headed to my first class that week. There are a maximum of 10 people in each class (you secure your spot by booking in via the Studio's app beforehand) with one instructor leading the class, allowing the instructor to move around and assist anyone that needs help and give tips on how to improve posture and movements. The structure of a reformer pilates class varies slightly from class to class, depending on what the instructor chooses to include in that session. Generally, each class involves a short warm up, followed by various strengthening and toning exercises that work the muscle groups across the entire body. In particular, a lot of the exercises focus on maintaining a strong core, which means that your abs are working constantly for the duration of the class, which is usually one hour.

The day after my first class, my muscles, and particularly my abs, were incredibly sore (but that good kind of sore). Given that I had been so used to my normal routine of spin, body attack and body pump classes, being thrown into an entirely different workout meant that my body really noticed it.

The thing I love about reformer pilates is that you never quite know what to expect when you turn up for a class, as each class varies in the exercises included, which means your body doesn't know what's coming either. You might be using the foot bar and spring-loaded platform to work your hamstrings, quads or glutes (changing the resistance of the springs for various exercises), the short or long arm straps to work your shoulders, triceps or biceps, the magic circle to work your inner or outer leg muscles, the hand weights to work your arms or core, or a combination of any of these. Given that you are frequently changing to a new exercise or setup, your mind is constantly working as well, which means the hour flies by and before you know it, the class is over and your entire body feels strengthened and toned.

I definitely didn't think that a reformer pilates class would leave me feeling stronger and fitter than a body pump class, but I've been really surprised about the effectiveness of a workout from one of these classes. While I went into my first session thinking that I'd try one or two classes and probably call it a day on my reformer pilates experience, I have actually decided to continue my membership with The Studio and incorporate a couple of reformer pilates classes into my weekly routine, along with their cycle and yoga classes. It will be interesting to see how my fitness and strength progresses over the coming months, but if these last few weeks are anything to go by, I'm pretty positive that only good things will come from discovering this new type of workout.

1 comment:

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