Fitness Review: Reformer Pilates


I’ve always been curious about trying Reformer Pilates (that’s the pilates using a machine), so when I got the chance to try it out with a private class I jumped at it. Shane Dyson of Ardentherapy in Sydney put me through my paces.

What is Pilates?

Ardentherapy describes it as “a method of training designed to engage the mind and condition the total body.

With over 500 exercises it combines both strength and flexibility to reduce stress and produce longer leaner muscles with the end goal being better overall posture.

Pilates keen focus on Posture ensures we concentrate on strengthening the core – we refer to the core as the abs, pelvic girdle and back.

For decades, it’s been the exercise of choice for dancers and gymnasts (and now footballers, elite athletes and Hollywood actors), but it was originally used to rehabilitate bedridden or immobile patients during World War I.”

My take on it

Shane made Tom & I feel comfortable about being total beginners and because we had his undivided attention I felt assured that we were going to get the coaching & direction we needed to get the exercises right.

We did a dynamic warm up using various parts of the bar at the bottom, which our feet rest on, to work different parts of the leg muscles, but the best part was using the mini trampoline in the centre of the foot platform to jump off. The Pilates reformer is a traditional piece of Pilates equipment, which looks like a bed with springs, a sliding carriage, ropes and pulleys, so I was sliding up and down on the bed looking the ceiling as I was jumping – does that make sense? Try it!! 

I imagined a lot of stretching, which I was really looking forward to as my muscles can get tight from all the resistance training I do, but Pilates was so much more. 

One of the differences between doing Pilates on a mat and on a reformer machine is how much more you work your legs & arms. On the mat it’s very core dominant, so the machine offers more variety. We did a total body workout using different parts, straps and resistance levels of the machine, as it was our first class this was only a taster of the possibilities.

What are the benefits of Pilates?

1. Improve strength, flexibility and balance.
2. Tone and build long lean muscles.
3. Challenge and develop deep abdominal muscles.
4. Challenge your functional movement, to create new habits that prevent injury.
5. Reduce stress, tension and pain.
6. Boost energy levels.
7. Offer relief from back pain and joint tension.
8. Offer an alternative to weight training and HIIT that helps minimize injury.
9. Realigns the body to result in better Posture.
10. Improve the way your body looks and feels and how you feel about it!

My verdict

As a fit person of moderate-flexibility and strength, I found the exercises challenging but doable. I can tell there is so much you can do with a reformer pilates machine and feeling your body get stronger & more flexible would be very satisfying. I felt peaceful and calm as I left the studio. It was a great feeling, and I can imagine how rewarding that would be on a regular basis. I would definately do Reformer Pilates again. If you would are in Sydney and would like to book a private class with Shane (up to 4 people) just click here.

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