7 Things You Shouldn't Do in Your Pilates Reformer Class

Try Your Best to Avoid These to Stay Safe

Woman Doing Pilates Exercises
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Among Pilates lovers, Reformer classes are all the rage. As with any group training experience there are protocols that should be observed in order to ensure the safest and most effective workout. For a Reformer class, the specific dos and don'ts will only advance your own results.

Don't Wear the Wrong Thing

Pilates is a co-ed workout done on expensive upholstered material in a variety of shapes and positions.

This means a few things with respect to apparel.

Ornamentation on your clothing such as belts, buckles, zippers, and other metal trimmings can be extremely uncomfortable for your when on your back, your stomach, and while rolling through your spine. Worse yet, they can tear the equipment, resulting in costly damage. Keep your apparel streamlined and simple no matter how cute that little half zip pullover is.

You'll also need to be aware of the fit of your clothes. Shorts can be fine but not if they are so loose that they fall up your legs when you are in overhead positions. Loose fitting clothes generally don't work in Pilates. They reveal too much and simply get in the way. If your instructor seems to be avoiding you, it may be that too much of you is on display.

Don't Zone Out

Focus is a key principle in Pilates. Even Joseph Pilates himself called his method physical and mental conditioning.

While it's tempting to sprawl out on the Reformer and deep breathe your way into a nap, that's the very last thing you should do.

The Reformer has moving parts, wheels, straps, bars, and carriages, all of which can be dangerous to a body in motion. Additionally, zoning out while your instructor is giving detailed setup, safety, and execution cues will put you at risk for injury.

Don't Abuse the Equipment

The moving carriage on a Reformer is attached to the frame by a series of tight springs mounted under the carriage. This allows for the back and forth glide and the resistance you feel when pushing out and in.

Teachers often measure the success of a student by the control they maintain over the carriage. Slide out too far and with too much force and you are likely to fly off and hurt yourself. But let all your muscles go slack and bang the carriage home, and you'll break your body and the equipment. When your instructor tells you "don't bang the carriage," they mean it.

Don't Check Your Phone

Remember the "don't zone out" rule? This is similar. Checking your phone pulls your focus, interrupts the flow of the class, and will make your instructor lose their mind. Keep your phone in your locker or your bag and bring your full attention to class. If you have a pressing notification that you need to check on, warn your teacher, then set a time for yourself to leave and check your phone.

Don't Move Too Fast

Pilates is tempo dependent. Each exercise has a specific cadence which may be slower or faster than the one before. Clue in to your teacher for the rhythm of each and every exercise.

It may be slower than you thought.

Rushing through moves is a recipe for disaster. Even worse, rushing through setup and transitions is where most exercisers get hurt. Bending over too fast or twisting to reach behind you when you are switching from one move to another is most likely to result in an injury. Move smoothly and carefully.

Don't Assume You Know Better

Instructors take care to adjust their material to the students in the room. Each student impacts the content in each class. Sequences, tempos, modifications and more are taught carefully and with an eye towards the special needs of the group.

While it can be tempting to sneak in your favorite moves, you'll do better to stick to the class rules and follow the choreography to the letter.

Don't Make Weird Noises

Some of us sweat heavily and some of us make noise when exercising. For the sake of maintaining focus do your best to restrain any grunting, gasping, or strange breathing noises. They are not only distracting to the group but your noises can mask an important directive from your teacher. Keep your noise-making under control and you just might find yourself listening even more attentively. 

Taken together, these rules should help amplify your Pilates classes. Don't forget that Pilates also works in one-on-one training, so if a group class isn't your cup of tea, you have other options.

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