It’s funny to see the reaction from most people the first time they see a Pilates reformer. A common response is, “It looks like a rack. Or a torture device.” Until they try it. And, they fall in love with it.
The truth is that the Pilates reformer is a very safe and comfortable tool (when used correctly) to help people of all ages and all levels of function stretch and strengthen their entire body. Even people who have chronic pain, injuries, balance problems, postural deformities and neurological conditions can safely and effectively strengthen their core, lengthen their spine, improve their posture and learn how to move without pain.
My clients who are injured, deconditioned (out of shape) or have chronic pain are amazed at how good they feel, not only while doing Pilates, but long after they finish their workout. They are also surprised and delighted to notice that their stomachs are flatter, their clothes fit better, and they have more strength, energy and endurance than they ever thought possible.
My clients who are already fit and active are surprised to discover how challenging it is to do exercises slowly, carefully and on light resistance. Many of them are shocked when their muscles begin to fasciculate, which is just a fancy word for tremble and shake. I have a rule in my office; when my clients shake, I get chocolate. They don’t seem to understand the rationale behind it, but it works for me.
The point is, don’t fear the reformer. With the right guidance, the reformer is your friend, and it can help you achieve a level of fitness that you never thought possible. And don’t worry if you fasciculate. It just means that your nervous system is busy recruiting more muscle fibers. And it also means that I get more chocolate.
Cheryl Ilov, PT, GCFP