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Chelsea Sambuchi

Pilates Reformer
"A few
of doing

well-designed movements, properly performed in a balanced sequence, are worth hours

sloppy calisthenics or forced contortion.
Joseph Pilates (Thomson)

Pilates is a form of exercise devised by Joseph Pilates. The main principle behind Pilates exercise
is the idea that, all body movements originate in the center/core/ powerhouse of the body.
Pilates claimed that with: centering, concentration, control, precision, breath, and flow, one can increase
the development both the body and mind. (Joseph E. Muscolino, 2004)

The original version was built during WWI and named the Universal Reformer by Joseph
Joseph Pilates used exercise (Contrology) to combat infirmity in various adverse
conditions. His prototype was rigged from a bed and bed springs while he worked as an
orderly in an infirmary. His ideas and inventions have evolved over the last century
though, the fundamental principles remain constant.
Pilates (with his reformer) began rehabilitating dancers in the New York studio he started with his wife
Clara; a dancer.
Classic Pilates promotes a spine flattened to the matt. Stott Pilates began in the 1980s and was
developed by Moira and Lindsay Merrithew with exercise physiologists and physical therapists. This
method is taught with a neutral spine.
Stott Pilates is both an equipment brand name and a style of Pilates brand name. Joseph Pilates
instructed Romana Kryzanowska who instructed Moira Merrithew. Moira Merrithew is a co-founder of
Stott Pilates.

A google search indicated an estimated price of roughly $6,300.00 for this specific machine. (Home
machines can be purchased for about $200.00)
Indications and advantages for Pilates Reformer
Benefits of CKC when full weight bearing is contraindicated (Ogle, 2012)
Patients with pain due to poor posture and alignment (low back pain is common indication)
Rehabilitation from surgery Ex: periacetabular osteotomy (PAO)
Patients who lack strength, stability and flexibility
Recovery from musculoskeletal trauma
Stretches and tones simultaneously
Sedentary patient (machine is fun and versatile)
Patient with poor balance
Prevention of osteoporosis
Drawbacks, precautions and contraindications for Pilates Reformer
Improper form; patients must be educated in proper form to avoid Muscles
injury of the Powerhouse
Pilates classes are expensive; exercise fad may also lead to low quality instruction/ Classical vs.
Lots of moving parts springs
Coordination required
Acute injuries
Herniated disc
Spinal Fracture
Immobilized Joint
Increased/acute pain during use
Can cause DJD flare-ups
Example of poor
Proper execution of
reverse plank
Orthopedic Hypotension

Parallel Heels
Parallel Toes
V Position Toes
Open V
Calf Raises
Single Leg Heel
Single Leg Toe

Knee stretch

Parallel Heels


Arms Kneeling

Conditioning Program for PAO (Barnes, 2014)


Full Body

Hundred or
Double Leg
Double Leg
w/ Rotations

extended Frog
Standing Lunge
Kneeling Lunge

Up-stretch 1
Reverse Knee
Up Stretch 2
Long Stretch

Arms Supine
Arms Sitting
Arms Kneeling


Bottom Lift
Short Spine
Long Spine

Springs generate resistance. Black= most resistance, Red=medium/hard Blue= medium White=least
More resistance does not necessarily indicate a progression in the exercise; a carriage with less
springs attached can mean a more unstable base of support. Ex. Bridge, plank, knee stretch
Other exercise modification parameters that are especially applicable to the Pilates Reformer:
height of the center of mass; standing, sitting, kneeling, supine, speed; Pilates is performed
with slow controlled movements. Length of the lever arm corresponds with number of
segments involved. Point and angle of application; combinations of angles make an
incredible amount of variation. Passive tension of two-joint muscles; excellent way to stretch
hamstrings and gastrocnemius simultaniously, stabilization; med balls, tiptoes and resistance can
all factor in. duration; most sources agree that each exercise should be done in sets of 5-10/
eccentric/ isometric/concentric contraction; most Pilates movements contain all 3 types.
Sequence of exercise; movements range from simple to very complex. Rest between sets;
form fatigue happens quickly. Sensory input; close eyes, turn head, intention of movement. one
extremity vs. both extremities; bar allows stronger extremity to assist weaker.
Swiss ball, med ball, Bosu board, jump board, trampoline, and box are common accessories.

http://www.feelgoodyogavictoria.com/learning-centre/pilates/pilates-reformer-exercises/ This is a
comprehensive dictionary of Pilates reformer exercises with pictures, settings for the machine, detailed
instructions, contraindications, and objectives for each exercise. Shows flat and rounded back version of
many exercises.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3_zyPgRVTmPogfo19zuZgQ Amanda Tenant is a Physical Therapist
and Pilates instructor. Her videos emphasize how to teach proper Pilates form and how to recognize
improper form in patients/clients.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0cVYU1rZ4E Physical Therapist Rachel Miller teaching Pilates core and
pelvic stabilization exercises for low back pain.
http://www.jenraby.com/tag/ehow/ Stott Pilates instructor instructional videos.
Barnes, S. (2014). Pilates for the Post Periacetabular Osteotomy (PAO) Client. Oceanside, CA.

Cleveland-Peck, P. (n.d.). 100 years 100 Legacies The Lasting Impact of World War I. Retrieved from The Wall Street Journal:
Joseph E. Muscolino, S. C. (2004, January). Pilates and the Powerhouse. Jourrnal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 15-19.
Retrieved from Bodywork and movement therapies: http://www.bodyworkmovementtherapies.com/article/S13608592(03)00057-3/fulltext
Lim HS, K. Y. (2016). The effects of Pilates exercise training on static and dynamic balance in chronic stroke patients: a randomized
controlled trial. Journal of Physical Therapy Science.
Ogle, M. (2012, July 12). Pilates and Physical Therapy; where pilates and physical therapy meet. Retrieved from Movement Center:
Thomson, B. (n.d.). Easyvigor. Retrieved from Easyvigor.net: http://www.easyvigour.net.nz/pilates/h_biography.htm