The Beneﬁts of Merrithew Pilates Reformer Training and Stability Chair
We all know that pilates is a form of body conditioning that targets diverse muscle groups to help build strength, stability, flexibility and coordination. But did you know that Joseph Pilates first developed the Pilates system in an internment camp during World War I as a physical rehabilitation method for his fellow inmates and injured soldiers?
Originally designed as exercises that use breath and stretching to align the spine and strengthen the abdominal muscles, Pilates has recently exploded back onto the fitness scene as an invaluable, low-impact exercise technique for physical therapy.
What is Pilates Reformer Training?
A Pilates reformer is a piece of gym equipment that offers additional support and resistance during exercise. It consists of a flat platform called a carriage that glides back and forth on rails within a steel or wooden frame. One end of the carriage is connected to the frame with springs that you can adjust for more or less resistance depending on your skill level and exercise needs.
You can sit, stand or lie on a Pilates reformer during your training, pushing or pulling the carriage with your arms or legs. Many physical therapy patients use a Pilates reformer alongside a spring-loaded stability chair to exercise in a seated position.
5 Benefits of Reformer Pilates for Physical Therapy
- Reformer Pilates targets a variety of muscles
You must activate different muscle groups simultaneously to perform Pilates exercises, helping you develop strength and flexibility evenly throughout the body, which can help prevent injuries. During physical therapy, a Pilates reformer helps strengthen the muscles surrounding the injured tissue, offering more support and stability while your body heals.
- Reformer Pilates offers additional resistance and support
A Pilates reformer is spring-loaded, allowing you to set your preferred resistance level as you progress through your physical therapy treatment program. It has more resistance and support than mat training which relies on gravity and body weight alone. Reformer Pilates activates eccentric muscle contractions - lengthening and strengthening the muscle fibers as they resist the force of the springs.
- Reformer Pilates helps you build stability and balance
The carriage moves during reformer Pilates training, helping you improve your balance as you exercise. Balancing on the carriage requires activating your core muscles, including your abdominal muscles, lower back and hips. Developing better balance and stability can get you standing and walking sooner after surgery and may help you avoid future injuries.
- Reformer Pilates improves core strength
Reformer Pilates targets your core, which includes your deep abdominals, pelvic floor, lower back and the muscles connected to your spine. Improving your core strength is essential for developing stability when recovering after an injury. Reformer Pilates can help ease lower back ache, and hip pain, and strengthen your body before and after childbirth.
- Reformer Pilates develops body and space awareness
Practicing Pilates requires conscious body movement and positioning, helping you increase your spatial awareness over time. Better body awareness enables you to interact with your environment more effectively, whether performing complex movements in dance or sports or navigating everyday life. Understanding how your body moves in space is helpful when relearning various movements after an injury.
Comparing Reformer Pilates Versus Mat Pilates
Both reformer and mat Pilates incorporate similar exercises that target diverse muscle groups - the significant difference is the difficulty level of the training. Pilates reformers are often better after a recent injury, as they provide additional support for your body, and you can set the resistance to a low level.
During mat Pilates, your body weight resists gravity, which can be too challenging for weakened muscles or not challenging enough for experienced athletes - reformer Pilates increases the resistance range for more exercise variety.
Introducing the Merrithew Pilates Reformer and Stability Chair
Considered the “Professional’s Choice” for over 30 years, the Merrithew brand of pilates reformer training machines are known for their high quality and expert manufacturing. Look for a physical therapy clinic that features Merrithew Pilates Reformer training to ensure a wide, customizable range of exercises.
Find Pilates Reformer Training in Manhattan
If you strengthen your core, hips and mid back, 95% of all your physical ailments go away. For that reason, Pilates training may be the best source for stability training currently available in the physical therapy setting.
Schedule an appointment with Park North Physical Therapy and see how Pilates reformer training and our other unique services and technology can advance your physical therapy and wellness at your own unique speed of recovery.