Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably noticed that Pilates is having a moment. While celebrities like Jennifer Aniston participate in this form of strengthening exercise in fitness studios, you can really enjoy Pilates at home. Considering that a single class can set you back $50 or more, I’d say that’s a good thing.
I was lucky enough to try it Aeropilates Pilates Home Studio Reformer from QVC.
I always fantasized about having my own Pilates machine, but never thought it would happen. Besides being a pretty penny (studio-style machines can cost upwards of $4,000!), the setup intimidated me into making the fantasy a reality.
U Aeropilates Pilates Home Studio Reformer it surprised me in many ways, and one was that it was not difficult to put together. I’ll give more details about my experience below, but let’s just say I was impressed. (I’m the queen of paying people to put things together for me: my bed, the standing desk I’m writing this at, the shelves in my kitchen – so if I can do it, so can you!)
Another pleasant surprise? It really offers a proper studio workout, which means that if you are dying to participate in the Pilates trend, but you don’t have time to go to the gym several times a week, it is the perfect piece of exercise equipment .
What’s the hype about Pilates?
Like fashion, fitness is also cyclical, so it makes sense that Pilates is again on people’s radar.
It’s been around since the 1920s, and is considered a form of strength training. What sets it apart from weightlifting is that it focuses on full body movements to realign the spine, strengthen the core and improve range of mobility. It increases flexibility, and has a mind-body connection through breath work.
Many people turn to Pilates because it sculpts and strengthens the muscles without attacking the mass. It’s challenging but restorative, especially if your fitness routine consists of daily intense exercises like HIIT or running. As a study in Frontiers shown, long, intense workouts can create chronic inflammation, which can lead to fatigue, bloating, and injury. Obviously, no one wants that.
While no one is advocating stopping strength training or cardio, switching between those and something more gentle can be beneficial. Some of the advantages of Pilates included: :
- Better posture
- Stronger balance and coordination
- Stronger core
- Breath control
- Better body awareness
I first tried Pilates in high school. I had just joined a gym, and someone recommended me to take a class. A cardio bunny even then, I didn’t think I’d like it, but I was wrong – wrong way!
I was surprisingly sore after my first class. After a little more, I noticed that my posture had improved and I moved more fluidly. I feel even thinner. Needless to say, I became a big fan of the workout.
Now I try to do Pilates once or twice a week. If you’re looking for an alternative to lifting or want something to complement your workout routine – I love it after running – it’s really worth it.
What is a Pilates reformer?
Pilates can be performed on a mat, but it can also be done on a reformer.
A The Pilates reformer machine has a flat platform with wheels, springs under, and straps that can be attached to the hands or feet. While Mat Pilates is great, a reformer can also help with form, because the attraction of the straps and springs increase awareness of imbalances and how different muscles move. The machine also creates additional resistance, making it a bit more challenging, similar to doing calisthenics with a resistance band.
The type of reformer in a fitness boutique is typically really—and I mean, indeed – big That’s one of the reasons I never wanted to invest in one. What is so beautiful about the Aeropilates Pilates Home Studio Reformer is that it is no longer than a treadmill and narrower, so it can be neatly tucked away in a corner when not in use.
Like the Pilates reformers at the gym, it has straps, springs that add resistance, and even a cardio rebounder. It also comes with a Magic Circle (QVC, $25.25) for targeted toning.
Although it can be fun to take classes, I love the idea of doing Pilates at home. For one thing, I like to work in a low-pressure environment. More importantly, a workout can be expressed at any time. I don’t know about you, but I’m busy, so I need exercise to work on my schedule – not someone else’s.
Can you learn Pilates at home?
You can absolutely learn Pilates at home.
I took a class in college that taught me all about the founder of Pilates Joseph Pilates, and the principals of training. I found it informative and beneficial. However, you don’t need a class to learn about Pilates – I mean, we have the internet!
In addition, the Aeropilates Pilates Home Studio Reformer from QVC comes with six workout DVDs. Basic Workout One is a great place to start your Pilates journey. Once you are comfortable with the machine, you can move on to the Strength and Stamina DVD or Total Body Tone and Stretch one. Since you do Pilates at home, you can go at your own pace, rewind – whatever. It’s an effective way to incorporate exercise into your regular routine, and if you ever take a class, you’ll be a pro!
The best at home Pilates Reformer
Why we like it:
- Comes with assembly tools
- Includes 6 different Pilates workout DVDs
- 350 pound weight capacity
For the record, it tends to feel like a way to try out great pieces of exercise equipment. Although I am strong – I strength train twice a week, thank you very much – In general I am not a match for anything over 70 pounds, so I was anxious but nervous when I had the opportunity to try it Pilates Home Studio 5-Cord Reformer.
My main attraction was that it was like a smaller version of the machines you see in a Pilates studio. I love the matte version of the workout, but the extra resistance and range of motion from a reformer is supposed to be superb.
All the parts were well packed in the box, as well as the necessary tools and instructions. The manual includes pictures, but I highly recommend you read/do each step of the assembly as recommended. I was removed from all the details, but I’m here to tell you, just do it step by step. Once you have the frame assembled, you are well on your way.
It took me about an hour and some changes, which is not bad considering that I am not good with instructions. I had to use a little elbow grease to get some of the parts, but I’m proud to have assembled it all without help.
The platform was surprisingly easy to get to the frame. If you have serious joint pain or back problems, you may want an extra hand. However, I was able to manage. Once assembled, the Pilates machine was easy to move to the corner of the room that I wanted. There is also a mat, which helps the process.
Once I had the machine set up, the next challenge was fitting the straps. I wanted the manual had more details on this part. And the truth, this is when I started to hit on my own, because I just wanted to put on the reformer. In any case, according to the manual, simply put the strings on the shoulders and adjust until they are taught. Next, get on the machine, put your hands in the straps and raise your arms to the ceiling. If there is tension, the strings must be stretched. The height of the pulley can also be adjusted, and there are slots to move the resistance cords.
Like anything, it takes a while to adjust to moving with the machine, but that’s what the mind-body connection is all about. One you’re used to keeping you steady – tip: use those core muscles – you’ll love how it feels. Gentle stretching feels amazing, especially if you’re used to sitting at a desk all day.
Exercising on a Pilates reformer takes training to a new level. Again, it’s all about added resistance. While I never want anyone to feel like they need extra equipment to get a great workout, it can definitely improve the experience. If you’re serious about Pilates or want something that works your muscles well while taking a break from a more strenuous regimen, it’s worth a try.