Thursday, 13 March 2014

Pilates Reformer Class

One of my goals for March is to work on strengthening my chest, correcting my alignment, and balancing out some of the muscle imbalances that have developed while rehabbing from surgery. 3 surgeries in the last two years have left my chest and by proxy my core weak.

I have noticed that my posture borders on horrible these days. I stoop quite a bit, as a way to compensate for the weak muscles through my chest. I also find that my back tends to cramp and fatigue first on my long runs - again likely from my poor posture and from overcompensating for my lazy chest and core.

I spoke with Anita at Imprint Pilates about their Reformer Classes and some of the benefits of adding this type of targeted strength training into my routine. Pilates focuses on spinal and pelvic alignment while helping to improve flexibility and muscle strength - all areas I need help with right now - so we agreed this would a natural fit.

I had a Private Introductory Session with Anita last week, and I must admit, I think I am in love.

We started off on the mat so Anita could assess my alignment and flag any areas of weakness. My chest as I suspected was an area of concern. My quads and psoas muscles are tight from running, but my inner thighs and glutes are weak. I also hyper-extend all of my joints. So with all of that in mind we started our work on the reformer. 

This little machine is a bit of a monster (in the best possible way). It has various levels of tension, making the moves much more challenging than I anticipated. I am not sure what I was expecting, but I thought it would be easier! I thought I would just kind of float up and down on the machine, but I was sadly mistaken. It takes a lot of strength to move the reformer - meaning you are spending a lot of time doing weighted squats and lunges. Maintaining your alignment, working against the weight of the reformer, and maintaining your balance were all really tough. My muscles were engaged and shaking. The unstable hold on the ropes asks your body to activate your small stabilizing muscles, and works muscles that often get overlooked. I definitely felt the burn.

Plus the stretch my tight muscles received (especially post-race) was absolutely amazing. It was the perfect balance of strength and flexibility, so I am looking forward to making this part of regular routine. I think this is going to have a huge impact on my core strength and make a big difference to my overall training. I have signed up for 2 Pilates classes this week (1 Mat-Based and 1 on the Reformer) and I am planning to do 2 classes a week for the rest of the month. I can't wait for my next class!

Have your tried Reformer Pilates? 
What is your favourite way to Strength Train?

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,