What to Expect From a Reformer Class
Are you brand new to Pilates and curious about taking a reformer class? Or perhaps you’ve been practicing awhile, but have stuck to mat and barre classes because the reformer intimidates you.
That’s okay! We totally get it.
The equipment with all of its springs, straps, and sliding parts can be daunting. But you needn’t fear. We’ll fill you in on what you can expect from a reformer class.
Step One – Familiarize
If you’re already using YouTube as a tool of mind-suck (yes, the epic fail pet videos are amusing), why not check out some folks performing basic moves on reformers? Then you won’t be going into your class cold.
You could also opt for scheduling a private session. Maybe round up a few friends and see if they want to join. This is a great way to allay your fears. You’ll work with a qualified instructor while getting comfortable with the equipment.
Of course, not everyone has the financial freedom to do that. So if you’re still gearing up to do a public class, read on…
Step Two – Show Up
Here’s the deal. When taking a Pilates reformer class, it’s important that
you wear form fitting clothes and have your hair secured. First, because you don’t want to get your clothes or hair wrapped up in the springs. Nobody has time for that.
But second, your highly trained instructor needs to be able to see your body in order to read your strengths and weaknesses. This enables them to ensure that you keep proper form so you can safely execute the movements. You’ll also want to wear those funny little grippy socks with the plastic dots (or other silly shapes) on the soles. Go ahead. Get some kooky ones!
Finally, be sure to show up at least ten minutes early for your first class. This will give you time to fill out a waiver, and get acquainted with the studio and the instructor. You can share with him or her any injuries or concerns you might have. Then you’ll be introduced to the equipment and given a few need-to-know instructions.
Then it’s on to step three…
Step Three – Listen to Your Instructor
Your instructor is your captain on this maiden voyage. At the beginning, he or she will explain the machine and all of its anatomy. Of particular interest are the springs which will offer all that juicy resistance that’ll strengthen and tone your muscles.
Reformer springs come in different colors based on their level of resistance. Adding or subtracting them determines how challenging a pose will be.
You won’t be expected to know which resistance level to use though. The instructor will call out the levels and offer options based on experience level. So if you listen to your instructor (and your body, of course), you should be fine.
Step Four – Embrace Beginner’s Mind
Some folks liken their first (or even first several) reformer classes to playing the game Twister. You’ll be given commands such as, ‘put your left foot forward,’ ‘hold onto this handle,’ ‘step your right foot back,’ ‘now turn diagonally to your left,’ etc. This may seem foreign at first. You may feel like you’re trying to do the class in somebody else’s body.
This is totally normal!
You didn’t go from crawling to walking in one day. And nobody got onto the reformer their very first time and had it mastered. So go into it with an open beginner’s mind. Know that you ARE a beginner and that it takes practice. Everyone else in the room had their first reformer class too at some point.
Step Five – Ease In and Enjoy!
Even the most basic Pilates classes focus on using the entire body to build strength, increase flexibility, and improve posture. Reformer classes add the elements of resistant and leverage to those movements. They are full-body workouts and it’s not unusual to find a reformer class is harder than you thought it might be. (But that’s a good thing!)
The movements are often small and target specific muscles groups that may not get a lot of attention or that you don’t use much in your regular fitness routine.
For example, in a reformer class, there will be many moves where you have to balance on your hands. Unless you do yoga or a lot of planking, your wrist muscles may tire quickly. So you simply take a break, shake them out, and start again. Those muscles, like all muscles, just need time to build.
And you can rest assured that your core will get the work-out of its life. A reformer class utilizes your abs, pelvis, and lower back throughout the entire class. No matter what movement you’re making on the reformer, your core is activated.
Sounds pretty inviting, right?
Now You Know What to Expect From a Reformer Class
Given the above knowledge about what you can expect from a reformer class, we hope you’re feeling encouraged to try one for yourself.
If you’re interested in practicing at a professional studio that stresses the practice far above glitz and glamour, then contact us.
We offer the full spectrum from mat and reformer classes to private sessions. We even offer Pilates-based physical therapy! So reach out to us today.