Range of Motion Blog Feature Image

Reformer Pilates can improve your joint’s range of motion (ROM). You will strengthen muscles, and in turn, reduce joint pain.

What is ‘Range of Motion’? Does Pilates Help?

In our daily life we are dependent on our body facilitating a range of movements. Movements such as twisting, reaching, walking, bending, carrying, and moving from sitting to standing and back again. Whilst building muscle strength is important, adding flexibility and joint mobility to the mix is key. Our ROM is typically considered the extent of the acceptable range a joint can move. This includes the joint’s distance and direction. Flexibility, on the other hand, relates more to the extent that our muscles will allow motion through their lengthening. As you can gather, these three elements, strength, ROM and flexibility are all important in maintaining healthy movement patterns. This become more and more important as we age.   

One of the most common ailments experienced in our community is joint pain. In particular, clients often present with painful knees, lower back and hips. Along with pain can come stiffness, especially though the thoracic spine and neck.

Unfortunately, there is a perception that as soon as joint pain sets in, exercise should cease. People believe, for example, that movement (that challenges the joint’s range) will lead to further pain or potential injury. Generally speaking, this is not the case. There will be, or course, particular scenarios where joint pain results from damage that needs specific care and treatment. In these cases, we would advise clinical intervention with a tailored treatment and exercise plan. For example, at Reform Studios this is exactly what our Exercise Physiologist do. After a detailed assessment, the Exercise Physiologist will create a tailored plan for each individual, including the reformer Pilates machine.   

What about Arthritis and Range of Motion?

“Physical activity and exercise is extremely important for managing an arthritis condition. It can improve mobility and flexibility of joints, muscle strength posture, and balance.” Arthritis Australia. We could not have put this better ourselves! We have seen some great results at Reform Studios with clients who have committed to weekly classes. Our focus is on slow and deliberate movements to improve joint ROM. At the same time we’re building strength with the resistance added by the Pilates reformer machine.  Age is no barrier either! At reform Studios we have clients in their 70’s! They do a brilliant job of maintaining their active lifestyle with the help of their Pilates classes. 

What Role Does Pilates Play on Range of Motion?

This low-impact technique, first developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century, improves strength, posture and flexibility. This is achieved through a series of small, targeted movements. As part of the gentle yet focused class, your improvement in flexibility will naturally help with your joint’s ROM. And if there are exercises that aren’t right for you, that’s ok too, some variation in your group class is accommodated.

What About the Reformer Machine?

Unlike floor Pilates, the reformer relies on a range of springs that will add the required level of resistance (pressure). We find that this helps provide an even more tailored approach to a group fitness or clinically based class.

Range of motion exercises and joint pain
Straps attached to springs add resistance to this great shoulder stabilizing exercise. Being up on your knees (if you are able to) means the core is working hard to balance the body too.
Range of motion exercises and joint pain
‘Feet in straps’ exercises are an amazing for strengthening the core and muscles around the hips and lower back. These exercises also add a stretch as they lengthen the hamstrings and inner thighs, whilst gently improving on the ROM through the hip joint.

How do I Try This Out?

We encourage anyone who is curious, young or old, to dive into an introductory class and see for yourself. You’ll see how Reformer Pilates is such a versatile form of exercise. We hold reformer orientations every weekend for beginners. These classes allow us speak to you about any conditions you may have and learn a little about Pilates. You get to have a play with the machine and do a 30 minute workout too.

Interested in trying it out? We hope to see you there!  

Step-by-step Starter Guide

Leave a Comment