Effective breathing techniques for Reformer Pilates
When reformer Pilates was first introduced, it featured a holistic breathing system that was meant to support and enhance the reformer exercises. The breathing patterns were designed to promote efficient movement during reformer Pilates workouts. However, reformer pilates is not the only type of exercise that benefits from a proper understanding of breathing techniques.
To create a strong foundation for reformer Pilates training, students learn three diaphragmatic breathing patterns: abdominal, thoracic/costal and clavicular/shoulder breathing. These patterns can be used effectively in almost any kind of fitness regimen or sport. In fact, developing an understanding of optimal breathing technique is just as important for daily life activities such as walking or climbing stairs as it is for reformer Pilates.
Understanding the power of the breath can help you get into the right frame of mind for whatever activity you’re doing. You can develop more efficient breathing patterns and mental fortitude to be successful while working out. But it’s also important to understand that the optimal way to breathe may depend on the desired outcome. For instance, if your goal is cardiovascular endurance, using an abdominal breathing pattern may be most effective for increasing oxygen intake and promoting a relaxed state in order to increase blood flow through your extremities. On the other hand, if your goal is strength training or weight loss, thoracic/costal breathing may be best because you need to maintain core tension throughout each exercise to maintain a stable position on the reformer.
Abdominal breathing is the foundation of reformer Pilates breathing patterns because it offers several benefits. Abdominal breathing can promote increased respiratory excursion, which in turn enhances gas exchange during inhalation and exhalation. This means more blood flowing through your extremities so you can have increased cardiovascular endurance when practicing reformer Pilates exercises or just walking up the stairs to your third-floor walkup. It also speeds up metabolism because there are increased glucose levels that are being utilized by tissues all over your body when you’re inhaling oxygen rather than exhaling carbon dioxide when using abdominal breathing patterns. There is also evidence that it stimulates digestive organs – specifically the liver and pancreas. When they’re stimulated, these organs are able to produce insulin and glucagon, which work to assist cells in absorbing sugar from your blood for energy or store sugar as glycogen. Also, abdominal breathing is a very natural form of breathing for most people because it’s how we breath when we’re babies.
There are several variations of the reformer Pilates breathing patterns that can be used depending on what part of reformer pilates you’d like to enhance. These reformer Pilates breathing patterns include:
- Abdominal Breathing (large inhalation/ small exhalation)
- Thoracic/Costal Breathing (moderate inhalation/ moderate exhalation)
- Clavicular/Shoulder Breathing (small inhalation/ large exhalation)
Abdominal breathing reformer Pilates breathing patterns are the foundation of reformer Pilates breathing techniques. They offer several benefits including increased respiratory excursion, which enhances gas exchange during inhalation and exhalation. This means more blood flowing through your extremities so you can have increased cardiovascular endurance when practicing reformer Pilates exercises or just walking up the stairs to your third-floor walkup. It also speeds up metabolism because there are increased glucose levels that are being utilized by tissues all over your body when you’re inhaling oxygen rather than exhaling carbon dioxide when using abdominal breathing patterns. There is also evidence that it stimulates the liver and pancreas, which are in turn able to produce insulin and glucagon. They work to assist cells in absorbing sugar from your blood for energy or store it as glycogen.
Thoracic/Costal reformer Pilates breathing techniques are used when you need to maintain core tension throughout each reformer Pilates exercise to keep a stable position on the reformer. This reformer breathing technique is also beneficial when trying to build strength training because it helps make your exhalations more forceful so you use all of the muscles in your body during every exhale. It can enhance reformer pilates reformer workouts that require flexion or extension of the spine, such as Hundred, Single Leg Stretch, Single Straight Leg Stretch and Single Straight Arm Stretch.
Clavicular reformer Pilates breathing techniques may be used for strength training reformer Pilates reformer workouts or reformer Pilates cardiovascular workouts. This reformer breathing technique is beneficial when you need to use your shoulders, chest and upper back to perform an exercise because it can help make your inhalations more forceful so you use all of the muscles in your body during every inhalation. It can enhance reformer pilates reformer workouts that involve a lot of shoulder work such as Roll Up, Single Shoulder Pull, Double Side Reach and Pivot Squat.
Shoulder reformer Pilates breathing patterns are used when performing exercises that don’t require a lot of core tension throughout reformer Pilates reformer workouts. You can seek reformer breathing techniques from this reformer breathing pattern when doing reformer Pilates reformer exercises such as Curl Up, The Hundred and Criss Cross.
There are many benefits to using the reformer pilates breathing patterns listed above during your next reformer workout. They all offer different types of breathing patterns that help strengthen certain bodily functions so you can maximize your efficiency on the reformer while minimizing your risk for injury. Whether seeking reformer Pilates breathing techniques or looking to achieve more efficient breathing patterns, these tips will help guide you through some of the reformers most used exercise routines.
Breathing is something we can’t stop doing. But sometimes our breathing patterns cause us to hold tension in the neck and shoulders, which over time contributes to chronic neck and shoulder pain. We also can develop bad breathing habits when we don’t know how to breathe properly for Pilates reformer exercises.
- First, you should adjust the reformer so that your neck and upper spine are in a neutral position.
- Practice lying down on the reformer bed with your head and trunk aligned in a straight line from neck to pelvis. Bring both straps up high toward your armpits while holding onto the reformers handles . Keep your chin tucked in slightly so it’s not poking up.
- Next, inhale for 5 beats through your nose and exhale for 4 beats through your mouth , taking care to keep the reformer straps high by your armpits. Concentrate on moving from your lower back to lift you off the reformer bed during inhalation. Then, draw your abdominals in toward the spine as you exhale.
This breathing pattern is often referred to as “belly breath.” By working with this breathing pattern for reformers exercises, we can prevent compression of the ribs and chest cavity, which provides more room for oxygen flow during hard workouts. By using this breathing technique , reformers exercises will be easier and you’ll get more out of them due to increased oxygen intake .
- Once you feel comfortable with the reformer lying down exercise, try it sitting up. It’s a slightly different move, but if you continue practicing with belly breathing, it can help to strengthen and open your body as well as improve flexibility in your spine.
- Inhale through your nose for 5 beats and exhale through your mouth for 4 beats. The breaths should be deep and relaxed , which will allow oxygen to move more freely into the lungs rather than being trapped in smaller air pockets . Concentrate on moving from lower back to promote a lengthening of the spine rather than a hunching forward from the upper back or collapsing from/ pinching of the ribs during inhalation.
This breathing pattern is often referred to as “flowing breath.” This reformer breathing technique will help you strengthen your core while lengthening and opening the spine. The reformer will feel easy because of this breathing technique .
You can also use the flowing breath during reformers exercises that focus on using arm movement or legs to connect with working out reformers.
- If you find yourself holding tension in your neck, shoulders, chest, or upper back, try the Pilates head lift exercise
- To get into position , lie on your pilates mat with both straps up high toward your armpits. Hold onto the reformers handles . Keep your chin tucked just enough to look down at the reformer bed without feeling a strain on your neck.
- Inhale for 5 beats through your nose and exhale for 4 beats through your mouth, focusing on keeping the reformer straps high by your armpits as you do. When you inhale, concentrate on drawing those ribs in toward the spine as if you were trying to bring them together . This will help ensure that some of the air goes downward into the lower back area which is helpful when performing Pilates reformers exercises .
As this breathing pattern becomes more natural , it can be used effectively during reformers exercises that emphasize use of arms or legs. You’ll probably notice that reformers moves with flowing breathing feel easier than reformers exercises with belly breathing. That’s because reformers exercises with the flowing breath use more muscles and overload them less . The reformer reform technique will increase your energy level and reformers workouts will feel easier.
Reformer Pilates breathing techniques:
No matter which reformer breathing technique you use, learning to breathe efficiently (and deeply) during reformers Pilates is very beneficial for your health. By focusing on reformer breathing techniques while performing other Pilates exercises , your reformers workout should feel much easier than it used to!
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