Wellness - Apr 14, 2022

Three Reasons Why Members (and Others!) Love Pilates Reformer Classes

Michele Mandell

I’ve taught Pilates Reformer classes for more than 10 years. Over that period of time, I’ve seen so many students grow stronger, develop greater confidence and poise, and build long-lasting community along the way. For all those reasons, I love spreading the word about this “best-kept secret” class, and sharing why it’s a great addition to your fitness routine.  

Ready? Let’s get moving!   

Fitness Benefits of Pilates Reformer Classes 

If you haven’t taken a Pilates Reformer class, you may be wondering what sets it apart from other classes. Or if you’ve taken Mat Pilates classes, you may wonder how the Reformer would enhance your experience.  

Of course, a big part of it is the Reformer machine itself—which is built to help you “flow” through the series of exercises while providing extra resistance. In that way, it’s like just about any machine you’d find in the gym: it’s there to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your workout while controlling your movement in a beneficial way.  The big surprise happens with stability exercises on the Reformer; here, the lower amount of resistance makes it much more difficult than additional resistance. The Reformer makes it an easy task to increase or decrease the intensity by adding or taking off spring tension.

So, why take these classes? I’ll start with my top three reasons. 

1. You get a comprehensive workout in the space of one class session. 

Reformer Pilates strengthens postural muscles, the core, and all major and minor muscle groups. As a result, you’ll see your posture improve (great for those of us who spend a lot of time on our phones and at our computers!), as well as increased flexibility and mobility. And, thanks to the resistance provided by the Reformer’s springs, you can increase your bone density, which is important for helping to prevent conditions like osteoporosis. Plus, your concentration on breath, and your close attention to each movement on the machine, enhance mindfulness and the mind-body connection. 

2. It’s a low-impact way to cross-train.  

Love swimming? Love Zumba, cycling, tennis, golf, or kickboxing? Love hitting the treadmill? No matter what you already love doing, the Pilates Reformer works for you: strengthening your core muscles (used in just about every form of sport and exercise–and throughout your day, even as you just sit at your desk!), increasing your flexibility, and adding some extra variety into your workout week. (And who doesn’t like a little variety?) 

And you’ll be in good company. Football, basketball, golf, and hockey players, as well as other professional athletes, work out on Pilates Reformers to strengthen their core, increase their flexibility, and more… adding up to enhanced performance on the field or court, with lessened likelihood of injury and overuse of the muscles and movements they rely on in their main sport. Pilates teaches athletes, professional and weekend alike, to use their core effectively to create more power whether they are hitting a ball or moving across the court.

3. Precision of form leads to greater results. 

Ever since its beginning, the practice of Pilates (as established by its founder, Joseph Pilates) has emphasized the benefits of correct form, which can lead to strengthened and more effective muscle function. In the same way, the Pilates Reformer requires accuracy in patterns of movement, which reduces the likelihood of strain and injury, while supporting consistent muscle development.  

What Students Enjoy 

Pilates Reformer classes draw a committed crowd! I asked some of our PJCC Pilates Reformer regulars what keeps them coming back. Some consistent themes arose.  

  • Classes are a custom fit. Instructors can easily modify exercises on the Pilates Reformer to the individual or class they’re teaching. 
  • It’s just you and the Reformer. You don’t need to purchase special shoes, clothes, or your own personal equipment to take the class. 
  • The PJCC Pilates Studio becomes your own zone. As one of our afficionados put it: “Class is time for ‘me’ only. I don’t think about my kids, work, or others. I concentrate on my breath and movement and that’s all. I always feel energized as I leave class.”  
  • Small class size = more individualized attention. Instructors can walk around the studio and pay close attention to each person in the class, helping individuals adjust form or make modifications as they go. 
  • Our seasoned instructors know how to ensure your Pilates success. They’re truly invested in our students’ training—and it shows! Using their trained eyes, they can readily pinpoint small adjustments that can enhance the progress of your practice. 

Community: Building Muscles, Building Bonds 

In addition to seeing many “regulars” in our classes, lots of people encourage friends and family to join them! Here’s what some of them had to say about the benefits of their Pilates “micro communities.” You’ll see the benefits go far beyond the physical! 

“PJCC is a place to come to meet people that also have families in Israel. We have similar backgrounds and it feels a little closer to home than a 15-hour plane ride, talking to others from Israel.” 

“Our Reformer class is a way for me to bring my friends, sister, and our daughters and future daughter-in-law together every week.  Even if we only stay around and talk for 15 minutes after class, we still feel the connection.” 

And who can argue with results like those? 

Want to know more? We’re here for you! Send me an email at mmandell@pjcc.org and I’ll be glad to answer any questions you might have.  

Ready to get started? We offer regular Pilates Reformer classes, as well as private and semi-private training sessions, which are open to both Center Members and the public. (So you can participate in this fantastic practice with friends or family, whether they’re members or not!) For more information on our Pilates program and the available Pilates Reformer packages, visit our dedicated web page.  

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