Pilates reformer

Taking Training to the Next Level with a Pilates Reformer

As an athlete, you maintain a hectic schedule driven by your training needs and competitive goals, but you want to maintain a competitive edge to perform at elite levels as well as avoid injury. So athletes are always looking for ways to take their training to the next level.

If you have been looking for a way to push yourself past the competition, your training is the key. Adding Pilates reformer workouts to your existing training regimen can be the most effective way to build the strength and flexibility you need to perform at elite levels, and this post shows you how you can get the edge you need and seamlessly enhance your weight workouts by incorporating exercises on the reformer into your training.

Pilates reformer

Why All Athletes Need Pilates Added to Their Training

Athletes of all types are busy, and if you’re an elite athlete, your entire day is focused on your sport. From eating, training, and sleeping, you simply repeat the process every day, and you may wonder why you should add even more to your already hectic training schedule.

Incorporating Pilates reformer workouts are not just beneficial for every athlete, but they can also give you the edge you need to train harder and perform better than the competition. Regardless of what sport you participate in, Pilates offers benefits that are key to your sport-specific training and performance, including:

  • Improving core strength and stability: Pilates is known for its focus on developing strong core muscles, which are essential for athletes in all sports—every sport requires deep core strength and stability to be competitive. Whether you’re running, swimming, or playing basketball or baseball, a strong core helps to improve overall body stability and balance, which can lead to better performance and reduced risk of injury.
  • Enhancing flexibility and mobility: Pilates exercises are designed to improve flexibility and mobility throughout the body, helping athletes to achieve a greater range of motion in their joints. Most people think of sports such as gymnastics as needing a high level of flexibility, but flexibility and mobility are key to executing complicated and explosive movements in all sports.
  • Increasing body awareness and control: Pilates emphasizes precise movements, which can help athletes develop greater body awareness and control. This can support the high degree of coordination you need to perform with precision at elite levels of competition.
  • Improving posture and alignment: Many Pilates exercises focus on improving posture and alignment, which can be beneficial for athletes who may be prone to developing postural imbalances or compensations due to their sport or training. Improved posture can also help to reduce the risk of injury and improve overall performance.
  • Reducing stress and promoting relaxation: Pilates can be a great way for athletes to unwind and relax after a tough training session or competition. Controlled breathing and focus on mindful movement can help to reduce stress and promote relaxation, which can be beneficial for both physical and mental recovery.

Using Pilates to Enhance Lifting

Lifting weight is a regular part of training across all sports. Even low-impact sports like swimming incorporate a high amount of lifting to increase muscle strength, and your Pilates reformer is a great complementary training tool that enhances your ability to lift heavier and train harder with a lower risk of injury.

As an athlete, you need to be consistently improving, and every aspect of training focuses on a unique element that can push you to the next level. When you lift, you are not only lifting for strength, but most sports train with performance in mind, using compound movements to build strength in a sport-specific way.

While that training helps you perform in your sport, you can always improve how you lift by using better form and technique or by lifting more. At the same time, sport-specific training can come at a cost, having you work some areas more than others and causing an imbalance or risking injury.

But when you use a reformer regularly, you can enhance your lifting while also reducing your risk of injury because reformer workouts complement lifting by offering these benefits:

  • Develops increased core strength and stability: Reformer exercises are designed to develop strong core muscles, which is important for lifting weights with proper form and technique. The reformer’s resistance can be adjusted, which makes it easier or more challenging to perform the exercises, and this variability can help athletes build core strength more effectively than traditional ab exercises.
  • Improves joint mobility and flexibility: The reformer’s sliding carriage and resistance provide a low-impact environment for stretching muscles, which can improve joint mobility and flexibility. When joints can move more freely and muscles are more pliable, you increase your range of motion. So weightlifting exercises can be performed with greater ease, with a greater range of motion, which allows for more efficient muscle activation.
  • Targets smaller, stabilizing muscles: Reformer exercises emphasize using smaller, stabilizing muscles, which may be neglected in traditional weightlifting workouts. These muscles are important for maintaining balance and posture during weightlifting exercises and can help reduce the risk of injury and improve overall performance.
  • Enhances body awareness and control: Reformer exercises focus on precise movements and control, which can help athletes develop greater body awareness and control. This can be particularly useful in weightlifting exercises that require specific positioning and control to avoid injury or maximize performance.

So you can incorporate reformer exercises into a weightlifting routine and reap the benefits of a stronger core, improved joint mobility, better muscle activation, and more precise movement control, which can enhance your overall athletic performance and reduce the risk of injury.

Pilates reformer

How to Add Reformer Workouts to Your Training Regimen

Adding Pilates workouts to your athletic training can be a great way to improve your performance, reduce your risk of injury, and enhance your overall fitness. Because you want an edge on the competition, you’re likely eager to use a reformer but may not know where to start. So here are some tips on how to incorporate Pilates into athletic training:

  • Start with the basics. It's important to start with the basics of Pilates and focus on developing proper technique and form before moving on to more advanced exercises. This can be done by streaming workouts directly to your Frame reformer, which is like having a one-on-one session with a Pilates instructor.
  • Identify your needs. Determine which muscles or movements need strengthening or flexibility. As you practice Pilates, you’ll discover quickly which movements create more of a challenge for you, and you also know which areas you need to improve based on your sport. Your coach or trainer can help you narrow your focus.
  • Choose the right workouts. Select Pilates workouts that will address your specific needs. Reformer workouts focus on core strength, flexibility, balance, and stability, which are essential for all sports. So you can select specific workouts to target muscle groups when streaming workouts to your Frame reformer.
  • Integrate Pilates into training routines. Determine when to include the Pilates workouts in your existing training program. Pilates workouts can be incorporated as a separate session for cross-training, or they can be included as a warm-up, cooldown, or active recovery.
  • Monitor your progress. Like any training, monitor your progress to keep track of any improvements in flexibility, strength, and stability, and make note of how your performance improves.

As you monitor your progress, watch for these signs that you may need to incorporate more Pilates workouts, such as:

  • Poor posture: If you find yourself slouching or imbalanced when moving in your sport, additional Pilates workouts can help improve your posture and alleviate pain.
  • Weak core muscles: A weak core can lead to poor balance, instability, and an increased risk of injury. Pilates exercises are designed to strengthen the core muscles and can help you feel stronger and more stable in your movements.
  • Limited mobility and flexibility: If you find that your range of motion is limited or you experience stiffness in your joints, Pilates exercises can help improve mobility and flexibility.
  • Inconsistent or ineffective workouts: If you feel like you're not seeing results from your workouts, Pilates can be a great way to push you to the next level.
  • High-stress levels: If you're feeling stressed and overwhelmed, Pilates can help reduce stress and promote relaxation because it emphasizes controlled breathing and mindfulness.

If you're experiencing any of these signs, incorporating more Pilates into your training can help you reach your sport-specific goals.

Regardless of what sport you participate in, a Pilates reformer can increase your level of performance and give you the edge you need. Elite athletes need efficient, effective ways to build strength and flexibility, and a reformer workout can give you what you need without increasing your risk of injury. In fact, it’s the perfect way to blend strength and perform recovery to keep your body and mind healthy and performing at their maximum level.

Back to blog