Monday, March 19, 2012

Reform yourself

I have been taking reformer classes since the beginning of the year and the transformation is undeniable.  This AMAZING workout engages your core with every move.

At first glance, the reformer looks like a torture device...and honestly, it feels like one at times.  The most important element while working on the reformer is keeping your back 'imprinted' on the carriage (that's the part their feet are on in the picture above) when doing work that keeps you on your back.  My trainer goes around to each student and tries to get her fingers underneath our backs.  If she can slide them under, we're not fully engaging our core.  If she cannot get them underneath, she compliments us and tells us we are 'very strong'.  No one EVER used to tell me I was strong!  It's better than being chic ;-)

What this class has done for me in three months, no other form of exercise has been able to do.  Also, I'm so excited to get strapped into my reformer and challenge my core to 'up' the tension.

The reformer works on a series of different colored tension springs.  During various exercises, the tension is adjusted.  I'm not always willing to push myself to the max and my trainer can usually tell.  But on days when I'm kicking my own booty, she'll up my tension.  

These moves appear to be simple enough, but such is not the case.  It's all about control.  When lowering yourself from a supported shoulder stand one is not allowed to simply PLOP down.  You lower 'one vertebrae' at a time.  This works your core as if you were preparing to be punched in the gut by a crazy fool.  It's insane.  Also, not every move uses the strap.  For our challenging days, we'll keep one leg in the strap and one out.  We move our legs simultaneously (i.e. we'll do the lower half of a snow angel) with one leg out of the strap.  OH MY GOD!!!  It's torture.

So aside from getting a killer core, this form of exercise also provides some of the most sensational stretches.  I feel like a bowl fully of jelly after some workouts.  It's almost better than a massage for some muscles.

The classes are usually not included in most gym memberships.  I pay $25/class at my gym.  It may seem excessive, but I have never felt so lean and strong.  It's worth skipping a few pairs of shoes, etc.
I do not have a single bad report about the reformers.  They're also great for seniors, folks with physical therapy needs and people looking for something new in their workout.  You do not need to be incredibly flexible or limber.  All you need is some extra cash and an open mind.

If you have access to one, get on it and start challenging yourself.  Your body will thank you for it!!

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