Reformer Pilates – what is it?

Mark Oddi, the Centre Director of Viavi:be, recently decided to try a Reformer Pilates class at tops:health. Find out below his thoughts and experience…

In my quest to move my body in different ways, I decided to try out a reformer Pilates class at Tops Health. I understand health, its implications and what we should and shouldn’t be doing.  I would consider myself conditioned and well balanced but like a lot of us on the wrong side of 40 looking for new ways to live life better, free of injury and able to move like my 9 year old son who is putting me to shame with his determination to do a box split! How can I compete with that? I can’t even touch my toes.   So, it was time to up the ante and try something new.

I’m sure anyone that hasn’t seen a reformer would have the same first thought as I did.   They resemble something akin to a torture device from the 1600’s, far from it!  Pulleys, ropes and sliding parts all working smoothly together to offer a unique dynamic stretching and strengthening experience.  At first it felt weird, my feet were going past my head, lying on my back making circles in the air with straps attached to my ankles was certainly something I hadn’t seen since I was 5.  We were all doing it.  Anyone walking past at that point would certainly have been amused.

My background is in resistance training using conventional equipment.  Reformer Pilates targeted something different.  There was resistance, there was movement, there was stretching, all working together to create an all-round body workout that was somehow challenging and gentle at the same time.  I felt that my muscles had been worked, not to same effect as lifting heavy barbells but more intrinsically.  This is what Pilates does well.

Reformer Pilates puts it all together nicely in one session.  It can be done as a standalone exercise of course, at any age.  Put it together with resistance training and cardiovascular exercise then we’ve reached the holy grail of bodily movement and living well as we age and maybe just maybe the opportunity to do the box splits!

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