My Love Affair With A Reformer

 May 21, 2008
Posted by Kitzie Stern

Pilates . . . what a strange and wonderful discipline. I’ve been at it for six weeks, and I’m now moving from privates 3x/week on the Reformer and Cadillac to duos with another person 2x/week (still with a trainer) and a private 1x/week. Most people don’t know what a reformer is, so here’s a video of a routine. Here’s another good video showing most of the different machines used at the studio I go to. This looks like an advanced class, so don’t let it put you off. The machines are really fun to work with, and strength is built gradually so at some point you’re actually able to do some of those impossible looking moves. After 6 weeks I can already feel profound differences in my strength, energy and flexibility. I’m sold, in fact I can’t get enough. On days I’m not at the studio I do mat work.

I’m also fascinated with how the exercise form called Pilates came to be. There was actually a Joseph Pilates. He developed his original method during WW 1 in internment hospitals using hospital beds and springs rigged to provide resistance for bedridden patients. If you look at the design of the Reformer, you can see where it came from. When he and his wife moved from Germany to New York, their fitness studio shared an address with the New York City Ballet. When the dancers were injured, they were told to “Go see Joe” and he would rehabilitate them. George Balanchine studied with Joseph Pilates in the ’60’s, as did many other dancers in the New York community.

I’m loving this exercise method, and an unexpected benefit is all my summer clothes are loose. I’ve been a happy camper just with the gains in strength and flexibility I’ve made, but wow . . . now I can see the difference with the way my clothes fit. What’s not to like?