Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My Experience with Reformer Pilates...

I’ve now managed to get two classes of reformer pilates under my belt. I have discovered a few muscles that I wasn’t aware the I had prior to these classes. My obliques are not such a vague concept any more. There’s little outside edged muscles here and there on my body that I have used in both of these classes. I wasn’t aware that they were there before. But it wasn’t painful, it was like I said “Hello” to them gently, stretch them a little, and then let them rest until the next class. But overall, I find these reformer pilates classes are a nice gentle and relaxing workout.

This is how the 100s looks like.
Late Sunday morning, I went to an Essential Pilates class as listed. It was recommended as the next step up after the orientation. I went into class and felt at ease. I wasn’t among blonde petite Barbies; there were all shapes and sizes. The first question out of the teacher’s mouth at the beginning of class was there any injuries or limitations that he needed to be aware of. Then, he said to put on two springs and get set up on your machines. I only had to lie down on the machine. I’m lucky enough that the studio reset place is my setting. I can just walk in and I’m ready to go.

We started out with lying on our backs and pushing out with putting our feet in various positions on what’s called the foot bar. Heels in and toes out, heels out and toes pushed together, or curl those toes over the foot bar focus those heels down and then push out. With each push you are focusing on using different muscles. All the while you are also supposed to focus on making it a slower controlled movement and breathheeeee! Breathing is important. About half way through I was questioning whether it had been smart of me to go out on that easy bike ride of 13 miles earlier in the morning. My thighs and calves were starting to feel a bit of a burn.

We got out the straps that are on the wall and placed them around our wrists. Now it was time to do what is called 100’s. It’s basically 100 counts of holding a stomach crunch up as you pulse with your wrists against the tension of the straps. OOOOOOoooo! Feel your stomach muscles burn!

Then there were some long box movements. You put a top padded box on your machine and lay on top of it. We ended up doing a bit of airplanes; only these were with straps around our wrists.

Now take those straps and put them around your ankles. Then you place your legs at a 45 degree angle, then put your legs in a table top position, then place your legs in a 45 degree position, and again. Think about your breathing while you are doing this and also try to use your core muscles. Okay, let me try to do this. I’ll also try to pat my head and rub my stomach too!

The next thing I know we are sitting Indian-style sideways with the strap on our farthest out wrist. Then we are told to rub our stomach with the one hand and think of shoulder of that arm as a pivot point. The quiet manner tattooed teacher then teases that he won’t ask us to pat our heads too. Next we are told to keep our elbow into our rib cage and to try to pull our arm out at a 90 degree angle horizontal. Me, ever the whimp, had to put the setting to a half spring. Then, we turned and repeated to other side.

Next we got out the “ring” and attached the strap to one side of the ring. “Hug the ring and sit up straight,” says the teacher. He continues on,” Now try to face the wall moving only your upper body. Let’s work on that hour glass shape!” We finished up on one side and then turned to the other.

Then it was time to get off the pilates machines and do some stretching. Wow! That went fast and it was rather relaxing too.

My second class was pretty much a variation of the first one. There were a few more complicated moves, more springs (to make it harder) and a bit of a higher count before moving on but for the most part it was pretty much the same; just a different teacher. I am finding it as a bit of a relaxing all over firming up workout. Friday is Jump board in the reformer pilates class. Jumping sideways, hmmm? Not sure what to expect.

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