If you have been practising Pilates for a while and are familiar with the basic fundamentals of Pilates, it might be time you consider getting started on a “Do It Yourself”- D.I.Y. program. This program should be designed by your Pilates instructor based on your needs and goals. You should be taught on how to execute the moves properly and eventually performed them with confidence.
Before you start your program, there are some things to keep in mind in order perform all of the DIY Pilates exercises safely, especially if you are going to use a Pilates machine, like the Pilates reformer. The Pilates reformer can be a little intimidating at first, and you may not know where to start. Understanding how to use the reformer with the guidance of a Pilates instructor is a good start.
Here are some notes on the basic anatomy of the Pilates reformer:
-Carriage: This is the part that you lie down on. The carriage slides up and down when the springs are activated according to the specific exercises you are doing.
-Head rest: Many exercises are done lying down, and this is where you rest your head. The head rest can be adjusted up or down. Set it to flat for certain exercises that need the neck to be lengthen, as in the “Short Spine”. And adjusted up so that your head is up slightly which is more comfortable.
-Shoulder Rests: These keeps you in place and stabilized as the carriage slides up and down. They also act as a good indicator of your body alignment on the machine.
-Straps: These are connected to the raisers at the top end of the machine and have handles or loops attached, making it easy to either grab or placed your feet in. Long straps are for the legs and short straps for the hands.
-Foot Bar: This is where you placed your feet according to the exercises to be preformed.
-Spring Resistance: The springs come in different colors which indicate the different tension of the resistance, particular to each individual brand. The springs are loaded both accordingly to the exercises to be performed and your fitness level.
-Long & Short Box: This is actually just one box structure. The terms of long and short refers to how the box is to be placed with reference to the exercise and its position on the carriage. There are both basic and advance moves that can be done on the box. Take special note to get on and off the box with caution.
The Pilates reformer works on the basic principle of “Push and Pull”. You will be pulling or pushing yourself on the carriage using the tension of the spring and the weight of your body.
When you have completed your DIY Pilates exercises, it is important to clean the machine for hygiene purposes and as an act of courtesy. You don’t need to use harsh chemicals. Add some droplets of essential oils like lavender, lemon grass to a portion of water in a spray bottle. Spray the Pilates machine, paying particular attention to the handles, carriage, foot bar, and any part that appeared stained or areas you’ve touched with your hands.
There are of course, other machines that you may want to use as well. The Wunda chair and the Cadillac also provide amazing benefits but it is wise to consider the guidance of a good Pilates instructor to avoid being injured.
The Pilates reformer, however, is the most popular, because of the variety of exercises you can perform easily on it. It is a straight forward and simple to use!