What is the Pilates System?

The Pilates System


“A set of principles or procedures according to which something is done; an organized scheme or method.”

Using the Reformer and the Mat in combination is how the originator of the method got results that made history. In classical training this is called “Pilates Systems”, and forms the engine that makes Pilates work. The other apparatus are designed for additional focus on areas that need more training, challenge, and variety.

If you want to make your body strong focus on keeping your FRAME square when you are moving through the patterns. It can be hard to know if you are twisting or slouching, so the reformer (and a teacher with a good eye) will help you find it.

The Reformer
In classical Pilates the Reformer frame is fairly narrow compared to contemporary apparatus. This is intended to make you work harder, it isn’t supposed to be comfy. In true “purist” fashion we use the original design Gratz reformers. There are only 4 springs of equal tension, and the straps are set at the back of the frame. The ride is not especially smooth, and for a reason. The Reformer is supposed to help you train muscles that you don’t have a strong connection with. The tension of the springs, the weight of the carriage, the feeling of the wheels on the rails all give your nervous system feedback from which you can access better control of your muscles. The spring settings are standardized, but may be adjusted depending on the needs of the individual. The space between the carriage and the bar can be elongated to accommodate height.

For any skill level the Basic Reformer is great for general conditioning and agility, as well as stabilization, core strength and bone density. After a Pilates Reformer workout it’s traditional to go to the mat. How much mat you do depends on the goal of the workout. The mat might be more extensive for a fuller body-weight workout, or it may stay short so you can get on the Chair, Spine Corrector, or Tower.

The Mat
The basic Mat is easy to learn, and makes a great warm-up before athletics, cardio, or a lifting workout: 100, Roll-Backs, Roll-Ups, Leg Circles, Single Leg Stretch, Double Leg Stretch, Spine Stretch Forward, Neck Pull, Seal.

You can learn the Reformer and basic Mat at our Workshop Intensive “Mat + Reformer Fundamentals”. Check our schedule for the upcoming dates and videos for taking on the road.

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