REFORM YOUR WORKOUT ROUTINE
Discover why pilates reformer classes are gaining popularity now.
There’s something to be said about an exercise invented in the 1920s that’s still being practised passionately today. Invented by physical trainer Joseph Pilates with the purpose of rehabilitating soldiers and dancers, pilates is well-known today for building core strength and spinal alignment.
While mat pilates is commonly offered in studios and gyms, pilates reformer classes have burgeoned over the last few years, due to their versatility and ability to challenge the body in a multitude of ways.
Working you from head to toe, pilates reformer classes involve specific controlled movements to improve flexibility and body awareness through breathing and core engagement. Whether you’re lying supine, prone, kneeling, standing or in a lunge, you can be sure of getting an intense musclestimulating workout.
“The pilates reformer is an intelligent machine consisting of springs which provide varying levels of resistance to challenge your body,” says Claire Bostock, chief business officer of Absolute You, a pilates reformer and rhythm cycling studio in Orchard Road. “Unlike a mat workout where the only resistance is your body weight, the dynamic resistance the springs provide means you have to work much harder, and your body gets firm and toned much faster.”
Another benefit the reformer has over mat pilates: You can’t “cheat” as the moving bed attached to springs provides a specific resistance. “It’s apparent if you’re not doing the exercise correctly,” adds Claire.
A workout for both the body and mind, pilates reformer classes require a level of concentration and focus. “In the early stages of a pilates reformer practice, it’s essential to remember how to execute all the small movements in order to recruit your core muscles properly,” says Lucy Warren, a physiotherapist and pilates instructor at UFit Clinic. “This helps you maintain the contraction to get the most out of the session. While it takes a lot of mindfulness, it very quickly becomes automatic.”
Beyond the attraction of a pilates body – think long, lean muscles, a strong core, and all-round flexibility – the additional allure lies in its low-impact nature and women-specific benefits.
“People are beginning to recognise the importance of having a strong core and good posture, given our increasingly sedentary lifestyles,” shares Roz Norman, pilates pillar coach at Virgin Active Singapore. “Also, medical professionals and specialists usually touch on the importance of pelvic floor strength during and after pregnancy, which pilates can help with. The minimal impact pilates has on joints makes it an ideal workout for women both prenatal and postnatal.”
If there’s any lingering doubt about why you should give pilates reformer classes a go, founder Joseph Pilates’ quote sums it up best: “In 10 sessions you will feel the difference, in 20 sessions you will see the difference and in 30 sessions you will have a new body.”