With all of the fancy new exercise equipment nowadays, the Pilates machine (technically known as a reformer) has become one of the most popular the past couple of years. The Pilates reformer takes exercise to whole other level.

What Is Pilates?
Pilates, created by Joseph Pilates, is a form of exercise that focuses on balance to improve strength and flexibility throughout the whole body. The main concept that Pilates is designed around is core strength. Your core muscles are the deep, internal muscles of the abdomen and the back.

Joseph Pilates originally developed this method of exercise in the 1920s as a rehab program for prisoners of war. The principles of Pilates are centering, control, flow, breath, precision and concentration.

If you've never taken a Pilates class or seen one in action, you may not be aware of what it's like. Pilates is similar to a yoga atmosphere. It's very slow paced, relaxing and requires full concentration. Breathing technique is very important while doing this kind of exercise. There are many benefits to Pilates some including increased flexibility, increased coordination, and decreased stress levels. This exercise program can be done by almost anyone. It's a low-impact exercise that will only benefit you.

What Is A Pilates "Reformer"?
Pilates was traditionally done on a floor with a mat. Many people and gyms still do the traditional Pilates class this way. But some advanced classes to using a machine that has become a hit in the fitness industry. The Pilates reformer is an exercise machine that is used for a more challenging and intense workout. The reformer uses resistance that allows the body to work a tad harder to gain strength and flexibility than performing the original method of Pilates using your own body weight as resistance.

A Pilates reformer might seem a little intimidating because it may look like a torture device rather than an exercise machine. But this machine will only torture you in a good way. There are many different kinds of reformers that can be used. The traditional Pilates reformer is about the length of a twin size bed and the width of a regular sized dresser. You are able to lie down, stand up, kneel, or sit in any position on this machine. The machine contains many springs which provide the resistance as well as adjustable pulleys and ropes that allow you to perform all kinds of exercises.

What Are The Benefits Of Using A Reformer?
Like mat Pilates, the Pilates reformer has a ton of benefits, including ...

Increased flexibility. If you are looking for a good stretch, try out the Pilates reformer. Most of the exercises that are done using the reformer focus on lengthening and stretching out the muscles. The stretches that are done target every single muscle group. Because of the benefit of increased flexibility, many dancers and athletes use the Pilates reformer.

Improved posture. If you find yourself slouching all of the time, you may want to begin using this machine. Like the flexibility benefit, a lot of the exercises are focused around the core. This puts a spotlight on spinal flexibility. For most people, standing up straight is an exercise in itself. If you do not have a strong core and a flexible spine, you may find it hard to stand up straight. Participating in Pilates will definitely help to strengthen your core and flex your spine in order keep your posture right.

Stronger core. If you've been trying to get that six-pack and nothing has seemed to work, enough with the crunches and get yourself on a reformer. Pilates main focus is the core. Almost every exercise you perform on this machine will have some connection to using your core. Rather than doing strictly abdominal exercise, participating in Pilates will work your core muscles more than you probably ever have. Having a strong core is very important for many aspects of daily life. Nowadays, there are so many people who suffer from low back pain and the number one cause of lower back pain is a weak core. By strengthening your core, you will not only get flat abs but you will notice a difference in all kinds of daily activities from tying your shoes to getting in and out of the car.

Increased muscular endurance. Increasing your muscular endurance is important for all people that participate in any kind of exercise program whether it is Pilates, yoga, running, or body building. Muscular endurance is the muscles ability to sustain a repeated action against resistance. Building your muscular endurance will allow you to do more exercises, for longer periods. For example, the first time you performed a set of bicep curls, your biceps were probably weak and were not able to complete many reps. In time, you continued to train and your biceps became stronger and were able to do more bicep curls than the first time. This is a prime example of muscular endurance. By using the Pilates reformer, your muscles will be working against a resistance which can really help to increase muscle endurance.

Achieve a stunning physique. Have you ever seen a Pilates instructor? If you have, I'm sure you have noticed their long, toned, lean muscles. Many people associate Pilates with women who don't like to sweat. This is a false accusation that probably ticks off people that do Pilates. Pilates works the muscles in a different way than weight training does. Rather than shortening the muscles to produce a bulky look, the muscle fibers are stretched and elongated to produce a toned look. This is the reason that Pilates has more of a female base. Many females want that long, sleek look rather than the big, bulky look.