The reformer is great for improving your posture, but the focus tends to be on the muscles that flex and extend your spine rather than your core muscles that help support your spine. The apparatus has handles that allow you to work the small muscles in the middle of your body, including those between your ribs and hips. This can be especially helpful for women who spend long hours sitting at a desk or driving.
Pilates reformer exercises also stretch the muscles you’re working. For example, if you’ve ever tried to do a leg lift on the reformer, you know how hard it can be to lift your legs up all the way. Stretching these deep muscle fibers is key to increasing flexibility in your whole body because it helps create longer muscle fibers that are more resistant to injury.
As your instructor will remind you, breathing plays a crucial role in your Pilates reformer class exercises. Breathing from your belly and not your chest allows an influx of oxygen to make your movements easier. By concentrating on your breathing this intently, you may also enjoy benefits of mindfulness, relaxation and a reduction in the amount of stress or anxiety you feel.
Over time, you may see this type of thinking become the norm well after your Pilates reformer classes end! It can be difficult to learn and master the core principles of Pilates: concentration, control, precision, breathing, centering and flow. Pilates exercises rely heavily on these principles and by adopting them into your workout, you’re guaranteed better results!