Just because a diet or exercise program is popular does not mean it’s designed for long-term health. (Take, for instance, some Yoga stretching routines.) The physical therapists at PhysioDC endeavor to evaluate patient workouts with knowledgeable and careful feedback, so Daniel Baumstark MSPT, CHT recently braved 2 Pilates classes with his 50-something neighbor in order to provide such professional expertise to the Reformer and Tower workouts. The information below reflects his perspective.
Pilates Reformer Workout
The original Pilates mat classes consist of a hundred pulsing repetitions of crunches, albeit modified varieties. Arguably boring and far from a whole-body workout, be careful not to let that color your entire perspective of all things Pilates. The basic concept of the Reformer machine is comparable to a surfboard suspended with a collection of ropes, springs, and cords. Supposedly stemming from historic military hospital beds, these machines provide the basis for the Pilates Reformer exercises.
While you balance your body on the board, you use your arms and legs to perform a variety of pushing and pulling motions that can challenge you even if you’re strong and fit but are doable even if you’re more of the couch potato type. They do, however, require some balance, so those with equilibrium issues may require some assistance from the instructor to avoid injury. One surprising series of exercises requires kneeling on the board, challenging you to pull through resistance while maintaining your upright position. After the Pilates Reformer class, you can expect to have worked up a sweat and experience the kind of healthy soreness in your core and leg muscles that comes with a good workout.
Pilates Tower Workout
The Tower workout utilizes an upright metal rack with a horizontal bar that has resistance cords attached to it. Most movements are performed in an upright position. While some exercises require both arm and leg movement while your body remains in a fixed position along the horizontal board, other exercises necessitate moving your arms and legs to move your body along the movable horizontal board.
Both the Pilates Reformer and Tower workouts provide benefits for both beginner-level and professional-level training. Since the movements prescribed are fluid, rather than abrupt, risk of injury is negligible. The ranges of motion for joints are doable for virtually anyone, even those who have had knee or hip replacement surgeries.
In addition to the already broad appeal of these workout routines, a good Pilates instructor will be able to modify exercises as needed for post-operative patients who still have restrictions. In addition, Dan and the other physical therapists at PhysioDC can help you establish an exercise routine that’s safe and beneficial to your joints while improving your overall health, as well.
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PhysioDC of Washington, D.C. is a boutique physical therapy center which helps patients recover, strengthen, and return to healthy living after they travel or on a day-to-day lifestyle. Located in downtown Washington, D.C., PhysioDC is an excellent resource to contact for all joint and body pain. For more information on physical therapy for your body, visit PhysioDC at www.physiodc.com. PhysioDC is located in downtown D.C. at 1001 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 330 (at the corners of K Street and Connecticut Avenue NW).
Image credit: Top © 2007 Ron Chapple Stock/Fotolia.
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