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So you’ve bought the Groupon and finally signed up for that Reformer Class you’ve been hearing so much about. A lot of Pilates fanatics say: Once you get on a reformer you won’t go back to the mat. In some respects the reformer allows a little more resistance in all the right places and assists your body against gravity. In others, it can be more challenging, forcing your body to work in the correct position. No cheating! Neither the mat or the reformer is better than the other, but there are some safety tips that you should take note of before hopping onto a machine.
5 One foot at a time for feet in straps.
Ever tried to put your pants on both legs at once? Well, no, of course not. Then think the same of putting your feet in the straps. With one foot on the platform or footbar, secure the other one in the straps. Keeping tension on that secured foot, feel free to secure the remaining leg. Good rule of thumb for a lot of things, one foot at a time.
4 Don’t slam the carriage to the stopper.
When you stretch a rubber band, it snaps back, right? The springs on the reformer act like rubber bands. If you don’t use your muscles to resist the springs they will snap the carriage back. Which is why it’s a great workout! When the carriage snaps back it crashes into the stopper and makes a loud sound. Everyone will look at you and the instructor will remind the class to resist the springs. Not only is it not good for you, the person on the machine, it’s not the best for the machine either.
3 For standing positions, always step on the platform first!
When you first start working with the reformer you might feel like an elephant on a conveyer belt. Standing up on top of the moving object always adds a bit more excitement! Don’t make it a dare devil move and remember this simple rule: Never put a foot on the carriage unless the other is on the platform. Platform: non-moving, carriage: moving. Steady as she goes. Find your balance on the stationary part of the machine before testing it on the mobile one.
2 Keep one spring on when switching spring tension.
This is a common mistake for newbies. Usually you are sitting on the carriage (the part of the machine that moves) when you switch springs between exercises. The springs are holding the carriage in place, if there aren’t any springs it will move wherever it wants. If you’re sitting on it, you’ll get a surprise ride and a little bit of embarrassment! When switching between springs, place one on before you take the other off.
1 Make sure the footbar is locked into place before beginning the exercise!
Depending on the type of machine or class, people can easily drop the footbar into position without realizing it’s not locked. If you place your feet on the footbar you could slam your ankles down wrenching your back. If you’re doing an exercise with your hands on the footbar, if it’s not in place, you could go face first into it. Really great for your dentist, but not so great for you. Safety first!
If it’s your first class on the reformer, don’t be afraid of it. And if you make a mistake, it’s usually just embarrassment. It might scare you in the moment, but if you stick it out the rewards are great. You’ll be transitioning between exercises like a pro in no time.