The Pilates reformer is a piece of kit I’ve wanted to try out for a long time. Akin to a medieval torture device the reformer is a system of pulleys, springs and ropes, allowing you to use pushing and pulling motions to perform hundreds of exercises.
I was put in touch with one of London’s best Pilates instructors, Hollie, who kindly offer to show me the ropes at the Angel branch of Pilates HQ. I joined in the intermediate class and, as a complete beginner, was nervous that I would end up tied up in knots, but Hollie assured me I would be fine.
She gave me a run through of how the reformer works and the other equipment we would be using, including a bendy ring and light dumbbells.
The class started with some gradual core activation moves. Hollie reminded us throughout to keep our backs “imprinted” (keeping your back flat against the mat) for the core exercises and breathing in check with a big sigh on the out breath. We continued with some leg and glute exercises – my glutes were burning by the last few reps! – and picked up our hand weights to do some chest flies.
Hollie also incorporated some lovely stretches for the outer thighs, perfect for runners as they targeted the notoriously tricky illio-tibial band (ITB). We also performed plank roll-outs, which were much more effective on the Reformer than with a barbell, my core was shaking like never before! Hollie was encouraging all the way through the class, really paying attention to the technique and posture of each of us.
By the end of the class I felt well and truly stretched and supple, but had that lovely feeling in my muscles where I knew I would feel the hard work the next day. I will certainly be back to visit Hollie for another Pilates Reformer session too!
Pilates Reformer sessions are available to book as 1:1 sessions or in small groups via Hollie’s website Pilates PT. Hollie also offers the challenging and suitably named “Cardiolates”, which is an effective combination of high intensity interval training (HIIT) and the toning effects of pilates. Find out more here.