Stott Pilates Reformer
The crux is in the gliding platform on which one can sit, kneel, stand or lie on their front, back or side. The user pushes and pulls off the foot bar using the arms, legs, wrists and ankles to slide back and forth along the rails in a controlled manner while the tension in the springs gently works the muscles.
The Pilates Reformer helps one establish torso stability and postural alignment while working peripheral limbs in a range of motion. The adjustable springs allow for progressive resistance, which helps to lengthen and strengthen the muscles rather than building bulk. It makes for an effective, no-impact stretching and toning workout that is friendly to the joints.
Don't be surprised if some beginner Reformer exercises seem simple - a relaxing, almost effortless glide back and forth on the carriage with none of that overexertion sensation you get from pumping iron. The effects go deep, and you'll engage muscles you never knew you had. As you progress, the fitness challenge becomes significantly greater.
The Reformer is a fixture in Pilates studios and is incorporated into most personal Pilates training sessions. It is also becoming a key component to many rehabilitation clinics, as more and more professionals such as physical therapists, chiropractors and osteopaths embrace the Pilates approach as complementary to their specialties. Many spas, health clubs, fitness facilities and athletic training gyms are providing group Reformer classes for their clientele, and more economical, compact, portable models such as the Allegro are being brought to market to cater towards group classes.
There are several reputable Pilates equipment manufacturers around the world today, including Balanced Body, Gratz Pilates, Peak Pilates and Stott Pilates. With some variances in materials and subtle enhancements in design, the majority of Reformers stay close to the vision that Joseph Pilates engineered.
Most companies try to balance quality craftsmanship with aesthetics, offering a rainbow of upholstery colors and traditional wood finishes. Prices fall in the $2000-$4000 range for various models of quality Reformers, so be discerning when you see some advertised for $150. For occasional home use these cheaper machines might be sufficient, but don't expect them to measure up in terms of quality and precision.
If you're Reformer shopping for club, clinic, studio or home use, look for:
- Durable material used in wood, metal and upholstered components
- Smooth gliding carriage
- High-integrity springs
- Sturdy standing platform
- Non-slip foot bar, preferably adjustable
- Comfortable hand and foot loops, easy to alter
- Padded shoulder rests to secure alignment
- Easy adjustments to accommodate different body sizes and ability levels
- Easy-to-clean surfaces
- Available accessories such a box, mat converter and jump board
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