I’ve just completed a three month Pilates Reformer Course, whereby I was the oldest student by about thirty years. I mean just look at the flexibility of one of my fellow students!:-
Once I’d got over that (and nearly torn a hamstring in the process) and also got over the fact that I had to try much harder than I’m used to, to get my body to do what it was meant to, it was a great experience. A really interesting and positive course that I learnt loads from and I’m excited to finish all my hours so that I can get out there and share what I know with other people.
I’d been wanting to challenge myself to something new for some time and ever since my mother died earlier this year, I’d been conscious that I needed to find a new distraction. Given that I’m teaching quite a lot of Pilates classes now, adding another string to my bow was the obvious move. I’m fairly late to the party (as ever) because Reformer based Pilates is really taking off now and is huge in Australia, where many of the new exercise trends start. Now in the UK there are reformer classes popping up everywhere and available on most high streets (in London anyway).
I think the Reformer, despite looking like an instrument of medieval torture or a weird sex contraption is a brilliant piece of kit. Once you’re used to doing mat based Pilates, it provides you with a lot more resistance work and can really help you with your core strength at a faster pace than if you stick to the mat based work. It’s also really fun! Your legs can fly around in circles attached to foot straps, your body can rise up off the carriage or you can use the Jump Board and jump about like a small child to your hearts content, feeling safe, whilst building up your strength and your cardiovascular health.
I did my course through APPI (The Australian Physiotherapy and Pilates Institute), a world renowned company with expert teachers, nearly all who are qualified physiotherapist’s. We had an excellent teacher in Sarah Chambers, one of the Master Trainers, who basically seemed to know everything.
It was all quite daunting to start with, but now that I’ve completed the course I’ve got to do many many hours to practice, teaching and observation before I am ready for the exam. The equipment itself is expensive and pretty cumbersome so I’m not sure I’m going to be able to buy my own one….whilst the one-to-one classes are significantly more expensive than mat based Pilates, I’ve still worked out that I’ll be teaching into my ’80’s before I pay it off…so maybe I’ll just have to teach elsewhere. We’ll see.
This video is of me attempting to do the “Up Stretch” – not easy and you can see me shaking, but I’ll get better through practice:-