Balance your Body

“The Pilates Reformer”

Hello my dear readers this time I want to show you The Reformer Machine which offers all the famous benefits of Pilates including overall strength, flexibility, coordination, and balance. These things in turn lead to daily life improvements like better posture, graceful, efficient movement, and for many, relief from pain associated with physical imbalances such as back pain. When we talk about strength building and Pilates the Pilates powerhouse muscles, the muscles of the core, are paramount. Flat abs, strong backs, toned buttock and thighs are all results of this emphasis. Other equipment and Pilates mat exercises do that too, but the reformer creates a unique and varied exercise environment.
The reformer is large enough to accommodate full-range motion which is wonderful for increasing flexibility while building strength. It seems to invite the length we want to create in the body. And it trains the body to sustain that length. Pushing and pulling with legs or arms against the resistance of the springs, carriage, and body weight is generally strength building. The exercises provide enough resistance and movement variety to help build strong bones. And there is a special feature: eccentric muscle contractions. This is when a muscle lengthens as it resists a force. The reformer is a set-up for eccentric contraction. That is one of the keys to achieving the long, strong muscles without bulk that Pilates is known for.
The instability of a rolling carriage with the springs set at different levels of resistance provides all kinds of stability challenges that develop core strength and promote better balance. For example, having less of the body on the carriage is one of the ways Pilates exercises get harder. It means more body weight has to be supported by the practitioner, and the body and machine have to be controlled even more from the core. Paradoxically, when the springs are on a lighter setting some exercises are more challenging for the core because it has to work harder to control and stabilize the movement. The stronger core, the better the balance, posture, and overall well-being.

Here I show you some of the cool exercises in the Reformer:

1.- Standing on the Reformer (Abductors, Abdominals, Glutes).
Careful choose the “resistance” with the metal springs, again Careful Step up in the Reformer, put right foot on the small black leather and the left foot on the left platform….your feet are in this moment together (inhale)….. open your arms and maintain your who body straight, as you inhale MOVE the platform with your Left Leg and Foot, don’t flex the knees…feel the resistance of your Abductors and Glutes, abs tight, here thanks to the springs you will feel the resistance in both legs also as you come back to starting position. Extraordinary exercise for your BUTT. 4 sets-20 reps See image #1.

2.- Runner Stretch (Glutes and quadriceps, stretch in both legs).
Here use 2 SPRINGS for resistance…. Again careful position your body in Runner Stretch, LEFT Leg “flexed” and foot in the bar…..careful now put your RIGTH leg and foot on the small cushion with leg fully EXTENDED, you are already felling the stretch and resistance on this leg….your LEFT leg is FLEXED (see image in detail)..now as you inhale you will bring right leg towards the front of the Reformer…now as you exhale one more time straight your right
leg as FAR as you can…this exercise is amazing, your abs and your BUTT!!!…Switch legs.4sets-20reps.See image #2.

3.- Lower Back Stretch (Hamstrings, calves/gluts and abs).
Please choose your resistance also grab the bigger Straps with one hand and careful lay down on the big cushion of the Reformer…. put the straps in both feet (see image in detail)..maintain the position with legs UP and fully straight (inhale)….so when you (exhale) you have to use your ABS and the strength of your hamstrings to move both legs to the front of the Reformer…the slowly return your legs to starting position you will feel now the amazing stretch of your hamstrings, gluts and calves bout also your abdominals. Very important to “inhale and exhale correctly and maintain always Legs fully locked. 4sets-20reps.See image #3.

4.- Single Lunge Stretch (quads, abs, upper glutes).
So position your body in a LUNGE as you see in the image….left leg all the way to the front flexed, right leg will be the one doing this reverse lunge(see image in detail)you will start with LEFT leg as you see in the image(exhale)..…now as you inhale bring the right leg to the front of the Reformer, now as you exhale again push all the way to the back with your RIGTH leg….feel the quads and the upper butt and also your abs contracting.4sets-20reps.See image #4.

Octavio Master Trainer.
To help you see and understand these movements please go to my FACEBOOK : TU ENTRENADOR OCTAVIO or 
Thanks so much to Tony Wiseniewski owner of ULTRABODYFITNESS GYM. 
http://ultrabodyfitness.com/ for using his Beautiful gym for these pics.
Octavio Master Trainer.