Pilates Reformer in Physical Therapy: Injury Prevention, Rehabilitation, & Performance in Athletes

A healthy body requires both mobility and stability and Pilates meets both those needs. Pilates is a system of exercises that uses special apparatus, called reformers, to achieve these goals. Pilates-based exercise is an excellent form of cross-training for athletes because it helps build stability and strength while improving flexibility and coordination. A stronger core leads to better performance and fewer injuries. In addition, the low-impact nature of the reformer makes it ideal for athletes who are in off-season or recovering from injuries.

Reformer exercises can be modified to meet the injured clients' needs in their current state. If the patient is in acute pain there are plenty of exercises/modifications to work around the affected area creating strength and support (both globally and locally). Neuromuscular re-education above or below the painful site can begin immediately without resulting in more pain.

The Balanced Body Allegro 2 reformer has been used for years in physical therapy and rehabilitation settings. The reformer is a versatile piece of equipment that allows for a variety of exercises that can be customized by your physical therapist to meet the needs of any patient. In recent years, the reformer has also been gaining popularity among athletes as a tool for strengthening and performance enhancement. In this blog post, we will discuss the benefits of using the reformer in a traditional physical therapy setting as a tool for injury prevention, rehabilitation, and sports performance.

The Pilates-Based Physical Therapy Advantage

Pilates-based physical therapy has been a great option for physical therapists because almost all exercises can be modified according to the individual needs of a person. These changes will become very simple to adjust. The beauty of the Balanced Body Allegro 2 is that even if you have an injury or area of issue, the springs can be adjusted to minimize the risk of further injury while still providing a challenging workout.

Injury Prevention in Physical Therapy

Pilates exercise promotes movement and breathing that betters your health and wellness. There is no absolute guarantee that Pilates or any form of exercise is going to prevent an injury. With that said, the degree to which you’re injured and how you recover can be vastly more positive over someone who is completely sedentary and disconnected from their body.

Pilates method focuses on the body's alignment and balance of musculature, as well as increasing bone density. Pilates exercises improve proprioception (awareness/sensing where you are in space), which helps with self-awareness. All of this leads to a more responsive, balanced body that reduces falls and injuries caused by overuse or repetitive activities.

Rehabilitation with a Reformer in Traditional Physical Therapy

The Balanced Body Allegro 2 is a low-impact form of exercise, which means it is gentle on the joints and muscles. This makes it an ideal form of physical therapy exercise for people who are recovering from an injury or surgery. Your physical therapist has undergone continuing education to better understand the pilates equipment and reformer accessories to best enable safe movement, paying special attention to your form and mechanics with each workout.

The reformer can be used to help people regain range of motion and improve flexibility. It can also be utilized to assist people with strength and balance development. The reformer also aids patients to improve coordination.

The Pilates reformer is a dynamic piece of equipment that can be customized to meet the needs of any patient. In physical therapy, the reformer is often used as part of a physical therapy treatment plan for rehabilitating injuries such as back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, hip pain, and knee pain.

While a lot of conventional exercise focuses on weight loss or gain and either high repetitions or heavy weights, Pilates-based rehabilitation focuses on the needs of the individual. Emphasis is placed on adequate mobility throughout the whole body in an effort to then increase strength through stability.

Pilates movements strengthen the weak areas of the body bringing balance and functionality. Pilates is a short and long-term solution – it will safely improve upon your current state while gradually preparing you for more challenging movements in your rehab.

Performance Enhancement with Your Physical Therapist

Whether you’re a weekend warrior or a professional athlete, the Pilates reformer can help you take your performance to the next level. The reformer is often used in physical therapy to help injured athletes recover from their injuries and get back to their previous level of performance. However, the reformer can also be used to help healthy athletes improve their performance.

The reformer training provides a unique challenge for the athlete because it requires the use of both concentric and eccentric muscle contractions.

Concentric contractions are when the muscle shortens as it contracts, such as when you curl your arm up in a bicep curl. Eccentric contractions are when the muscle lengthens as it contracts, such as when you lower your arm back down after a curl.

Most conventional exercises only involve concentric contractions. The spring-loaded equipment structure of the reformer requires both types of contractions, which makes it a more effective tool for strength and optimal performance enhancement.

A Pilates-based physical therapy program can also be used to improve balance and coordination. Many athletes struggle with balance and coordination, which can lead to injuries. The reformer can help improve these skills, which will ultimately make the athlete safer on the playing field, court, etc.

The reformer training can also be used to help athletes improve their endurance and stamina. The reformer can be used during the rehabilitation process to increase your cardiovascular fitness using the jump board, one of the many reformer accessories.

If you are an athlete looking for a way to improve your performance, the reformer is a great option, schedule a visit at Motus Specialists Physical Therapy. The Pilates-based exercises on the reformer can help you build strength, improve flexibility, and enhance your endurance over multiple sessions.

In short, the Balanced Body Allegro 2 reformer is a versatile piece of equipment that
can be used in physical therapy and rehabilitation settings which benefits include:


Body awareness: use of the Pilates reformer helps you become more aware of your body via neuromuscular re-education. Muscle and postural awareness improve as well as teaches you how to breathe efficiently.


Core: The instability created by the rolling carriage of the reformer, with the springs set at different levels of resistance, helps you develop serious strength—and the stronger your core is, the better your posture, balance, and overall health and wellness become. With the reformer your core strength is challenged more than with any crunches or other traditional ab exercises, helping you achieve a killer core.


Flexibility: Reformers are large enough to accommodate full-range motion on even the tallest, most flexible patients. This is excellent for boosting flexibility while simultaneously building strength. Having greater flexibility improves your performance in sports and other physical activities while helping to prevent injuries. The exercises condition the whole body—even the ankles and feet, which are an absolute necessity for healthy, balanced muscles.


Pilates is Low Impact, but Challenging: Pilates is so low impact and safe that it is often used in Physical Therapy for clients with current or past injuries, as well as Pre-Natal and Post-Natal Fitness. But, don’t let it fool you! Your physical therapist will provide modifications to the exercises to allow for a range of difficulties with the primary focus on the execution of proper movement mechanics.

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