Even the most seasoned Pilates practitioner and knowledgeable among us can make mistakes. Often, mistakes happen towards the end of a class or workout when we're feeling tired or blissed-out or a bit over-confident. In those moments, we forget our "safeties."
Here are 7 tips to stay safe on your Pilates Reformer (and other spring-loaded Pilates equipment). If you are a Pilates Reformer beginner, these tips will have you moving like a pro in no time.
Many parts of Pilates equipment, including the Reformer, are attached to springs. When loaded with tension, springs can assist your body into movements that might not be possible without them. Springs also provide feedback and resistance to help you find your body in space or give your muscles a solid workout. But loaded springs are no joke; ensure the springs are slack and have no tension before letting go, changing position, or stepping off.
If you tend to get sweaty during your workout, use the grip pad or wear grip socks. The grip pad can add extra comfort and security on Short Box Series, under your thighs during Horseback, and on the headrest during Long Stretch, to name a few.
Pro Tip: If your hands tend to slip off the Footbar, wrap your Footbar tightly with a Theraband to keep your hands from slipping.
As the "Sound of Music" says, the very beginning is a very good place to start, especially with your Pilates practice. Even if you have been working out and exercising your entire life, using a Reformer requires a whole new skill set. Pilates is a complete system, so starting with the Beginner series of Reformer exercises will provide a solid foundation for more advanced work.
Once you feel comfortable with Beginner exercises, you can then progress to Intermediate and Advanced exercises.
Pilates will challenge you, it will work every muscle, and if done correctly and consistently will help you move through life with more ease. What Pilates shouldn't do is hurt. If you feel discomfort or pain at any point in your Pilates practice. Stop. Either skip the exercise or stop for the day.
It's always a good idea to check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program, and it's a good idea to work with a Pilates professional the first time you use any Pilates equipment.
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