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Pilates is frequently praised for being a powerful low-impact workout, but it is not inexpensive. In the past, taking reformer Pilates courses in person required a significant financial commitment, as did purchasing an expensive reformer machine for your house, which often costs $1,000 or more.
So, it’s only fitting that TikTok users would discover a way to practice Pilates for a considerably lower cost. Despite the fact that mat Pilates has always been possible at home with just a yoga mat and possibly a YouTube video, TikTok videos are now showing people using foam rollers to replicate Pilates reformer motions at home.
Amanda Blauer , a TikTok user who runs Amanda Blauer Pilates, an online Pilates studio, is one person doing this. Blauer has recorded multiple films showing herself using simply a foam roller and a mat to perform a variety of typical reformer techniques, including as inverted Vs, planks, and rolling bridges. When, she wrote in text over one clip , “your lower body is 10x stronger doing mat Pilates with supports after 2 years than it ever was utilizing the reformer 2x a week.”
Similar TikTok videos have been posted by other Pilates instructors. Soma Pilates user Talia Savva has shared a number of movies of herself using a reformer to execute various Pilates exercises before switching to her on a mat using a foam roller to imitate the same movements. Additionally, there are additional TikTokers, Hayley Sullivan of ID Pilates, and Kaylie Daniels of the Glow Method.
This TikTok hack sounds like a terrific option if you enjoy reformer Pilates but don’t want to spend a lot of money on in-studio sessions or a home equipment. But is this exercise technique actually valid? Can a foam roller and a mat be used to perform a reformer Pilates-style workout at home? Here, Pilates instructors discuss the newest exercise craze.
REFORMER PILATES: WHAT IS IT? Rewinding for a second: Early in the 20th century, Joseph Pilates created the Pilates method of exercise. It was first intended as a kind of exercise to aid injured dancers in recovering, but over time it evolved into a more comprehensive workout to build muscle strength with an emphasis on the core and deliberate breathing, as per the Cleveland Clinic . ICYDK, many celebrities still laud the time-tested exercise regimen and it remains extremely popular.
Today, if you enter a Pilates studio, you’ll probably see a row of Pilates reformer machines. A Pilates reformer is a piece of equipment with shoulder blocks and a rolling carriage that is flat and cushioned. At either end of the machine, there is a back and front platform. The back platform often has two adjustable bars, while the front platform typically contains resistance-producing springs.
According to Robin Long, a qualified Pilates instructor and the creator of Lindywell , an online Pilates studio, “the reformer is a traditional piece of Pilates equipment that was invented by Joseph Pilates, the inventor of Pilates.” It’s special in that it enables you to develop strength while simultaneously enhancing mobility and expanding your range of motion. It truly offers a full-body workout.
CAN A FOAM ROLLER BE USED IN PLACE OF A PILATES REFORMER? In short, yes, there are instances where a foam roller can take the role of a Pilates reformer. In fact, WundaBar Pilates school CEO and creator Amy Jordan utilizes foam rollers on occasion in her online lessons. She tells Shape that using a foam roller will “certainly get you the similar effect of gliding or rolling along, rather than being static on a mat or the floor.”
Long concurs. According to her, the roller can be utilized to simulate specific exercises and give the same impression of movement and instability as a reformer carriage.
A foam roller does not offer the same spring resistance as a reformer, which is a significant limitation. You cannot change the problems; you are only working against your own weight, according to Jordan. “I wouldn’t say it’s a one-for-one with the reformer, but it’s a fairly cheap and accessible way to experience a similar sensation,” the speaker said.
According to experts, there are a few crucial movements you may try using a foam roller to simulate what you’d experience on the reformer. Look at them below:
DOG TO PLANK DOWNWARD A. Put a foam roller under the tops of your feet as you begin on all fours on a mat.
B. Lift hips to enter downward dog with hands shoulder-width apart and feet hip-width apart, transferring weight evenly between the hands and feet.
C. Gently lower your hips until you are in a plank position with your feet on a foam roller, your back flat, your hips in line with your shoulders, and your hands under your shoulders.
D. Workout your core and shoulders as you hold for a beat before rolling back up to downward dog. Jordan claims that it “changes the experience” and “makes the floor below you more shaky.”
A SHOULDER BRIDGE Lay down on a mat on the ground with your knees 90 degrees bent.
B. Place a foam roller under your feet and, while exhaling, lift your back, hips, and butt. The shoulders are still on the ground.
C. Hold for a beat before lowering. Or, if you feel secure enough, retain the shoulder bridge posture and extend your legs out and in with your feet resting on top of the foam roller. This focuses on the core, glutes, and hamstrings, according to Long.
SCOOTER A. Place your feet hip-width apart as you stand. Put weight on the left, standing leg while placing the top of your right foot on a foam roller on the floor.
B. Extend your right leg back, keeping the top of your right foot on the foam roller. Lean back and flex your left knee.
C. Hold for one beat, then slowly stand back up. This puts a strain on your balance and core, according to Long.
D. Keep in mind that these exercises are only effective to a certain extent. According to Alisa Wyatt, the creator of Pilatesology , taking lessons with a qualified instructor on actual equipment is a much better use of your money. You’ll accomplish your goals and feel more driven.
IS IT SAFE TO USE A FOAM ROLLER INSTEAD OF A PILATES REFORMER? Using a foam roller for a few Pilates reformer-inspired exercises is generally considered safe, according to experts. However, they also emphasize how crucial it is to have some sort of qualified Pilates teaching in the mix.
Find a qualified Pilates instructor with experience who can offer advice on how to use a foam roller in this manner, advises Long. Then, you may certainly include a few new moves in your at-home routine.
If at all possible, Long advises utilizing this approach to “supplement reformer classes” rather than to completely replace them. She adds that this can be a “wonderful way to experience some of the advantages of the reformer without full access to a studio or equipment” if you are unable to afford to take a class if there are none available in your neighborhood.
IS IT TRUE OR FALSE THAT USING A FOAM ROLLER AT HOME IS A CHEAP AND EFFECTIVE OPTION TO A PILATES REFORMER MACHINE?
This is somewhat accurate. According to Long, using a foam roller can provide you with a “balance challenge” that can resemble some characteristics of a Pilates reformer. She emphasizes, however, that when using a foam roller, you can only use your own weight. The resistance cannot be increased like it can with a real reformer.
In the end, adds Long, using a foam roller to simulate reformer movements might be beneficial between Pilates sessions or as a small challenge for yourself. But in an ideal world, you’d also attend Pilates lessons using a reformer.