A pink taxi

A pink taxi

April 26, 2011

The Reformer

"Reformer sounds so Protestant! So Puritan!" My brother blackberry messaged me today.

I remember walking into the pilates studio for the first time ever and encountering the "Reformer". It is a machine made of leather and springs that looks something between gynocological stir ups and a nazi torture instrument. However, a friend of mine, now adept of pilates, has described the reformer with her artistic flair: "the esoteric handcrafted equestrian strangeness of it, the handcut leather and mattress-like springs..."

Like anything pilates, the reformer class requires full concentration, comprehension and perfect core strength. Exercises are performed laying down, sitting up and standing on the reformer. The stomack massage series has nothing of a massage to it (perhaps only the benefits) and the side splits are very demanding. Images are constantly evoked to make the exercise easier to remember. Take tree, with its long roots and strong trunk! Climb the tree and your spine is in a Burj AlArab shape.
When we do elephant, I always think of Elmer ofcourse, but I have been trained to flatten my back and scoop my stomack while standing with my hands on a bar....like a Brooks Brothers lamb emblem, drawn upwards.

A good reformer class requires a constant pace. The better you know your equipment, how to use it with care, how many springs are required, the better your performance. It is also advised to link every exercise with good transitions. I have spent enumerable sessions panicking about the straps, the colors of springs and the jump boards. On occasion, and I quote my sister, "not every class is a successful one", I will get in trouble because I rely too much on instructions and corrections. But I believe I have gotten the hang of it now, six years later and I spring out of the class with a certain elasticity in my limbs.

To make a full circle back to my brother who thinks that the reformer sounds puritan, I can affirm that I have met his challenge by performing 3 sets of 15 atomic push ups. These entail the use of the TRX (which always reminds me of dinosaurs). When you can do long stretch on the reformer, you can do about anything else in a plank position!

Post Scriptum: my husband has complained about too many fitness related posts. He must be unaware of the sports magazines that are replete with such stories!


  1. No wonder no one commented on this entry.This "thing" looks like a torture machine in Gittmo or Abu Ghareeb.What happened to the classic training machines that look friendly and donot break your back?Even the picture of the girl looks sad and ready for execution in the Middle ages!

  2. The blogger and I have a fun competition going on where I'll show off the latest stunt i've performed during training and she'll immediately dismiss it as a easy pilates move. Having said that, I have to admit she can do manly push ups! Keep it up!