“There are no rules. That is how art is born, how breakthroughs happen. Go against the rules or ignore the rules. That is what invention is about.” (Helen Frankenthaler, American Abstract Artist 1928 – 2011)
I spoke with Ruth Gordon the other day before our weekly mentoring class. She explained that she found a newspaper clipping from an article she wrote in the “early days” about an exercise program she led. In Ruth’s program, she used large rubber bands from office supply stores as resistance bands (way before resistance bands were even a thing!). How ingenious! I admire the clever creativity it took to look at a mundane object and come up with a truly new and beneficial way to use it. It seems that this type of genius runs in the field. In fact, did you know that the bed we sleep on was Joseph Pilates’ prototype for some of the equipment for Pilates we use today?
There are slightly differing opinions on how Pilates created the Classical Pilates Reformer (formerly called the Universal Reformer). Some sources say when Joe was working as an orderly during his internment in the Isle of Man, many of the patients were too sickly to do the Pilates mat exercises. Joe attached springs to hospital beds to create the first Cadillac so that patients could tone their muscles. Later, Joe figured out how to get the bed to slide like the platform we use today, thus creating an early Reformer. Other sources say that the Reformer was the first type of Pilates machine created. Both explanations are plausible. Pilates wrote that “of course you can exercise without machines. But it’s not as efficient and would take longer. With them, three or four hours of work a week is enough.” In addition, Joe realized that some people had difficulty doing the mat exercises and needed an apparatus to help provide tactile feedback, like a teacher’s hand during Pilates Reformer moves.
It’s easy to see that Pilates was a brilliant man, using what he had around him to better the lives of others. If you haven’t tried the Pilates reformer exercises, be sure to check out our Youtube channel: COREPTPilates – YouTube.
We have many classes throughout the week and on Saturdays for beginner and advanced students, check out our schedule here. For our Pilates Equipment sessions, we do require you to take a few private lessons to learn the basics before joining a group. We also offer our series which is reformer Pilates for beginners and have two upcoming sessions. One starting April 20th, meeting Wednesdays at 11:30 am, the other starting April 25th, meeting Mondays at 7 pm. You can register here for either series.
Another way to learn more about how to use Pilates machines is to come visit us on Saturday, May 7 for our Open House. We will offer Free sessions that day to honor Pilates Day put on by the Pilates Method Alliance. As said on the PMA’s page: “Pilates Day spotlights the joy experienced through Pilates – in health, community, and quality of life”.
Ready to get started? Take advantage of our complimentary consult so we can guide you. We look forward to seeing you! 🙂
If you want to learn more about the origins of the Pilates Reformer here are some additional resources: