Pilates Reformer: Come Learn from Expert Instructors at Dale City

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Provided by Prince William Parks & Rec

With its ability to help you strengthen your muscles and improve your posture, stability and mobility, it’s no wonder that the Pilates Reformer machine is one of the most popular and effective pieces of equipment used in fitness today.

“The benefits of Pilates (both Mat and Reformer) are various,” says Carmen Fermin, a longtime certified Pilates instructor, and fitness manager at Sharron Baucom Dale City Recreation Center. “When done correctly, using the Pilates principles, it can help improve a person’s overall core strength, increase muscle flexibility, increase bone density and improve balance and coordination.”

If you’ve ever visited the Dale City Recreation Center, where Pilates Reformer classes are held, you may have noticed the Pilates Reformer machines. They have a bed-like frame, with a flat platform called the carriage that rolls back and forth on wheels within the frame. The fitness machine was invented in the 1920s by Pilates founder Joseph Pilates, originally from Germany.

Fermin, who teaches the classes, brought the program to Dale City and opened the Pilates Studio there in 2008. The studio is fully equipped with a handful of Balanced Body Allegro Reformers with Tower, a Barrel and a Chair.

Fermin, a native of Venezuela, studied ballet in New York City at the Harkness School of Dance and went on to perform on Broadway before crossing the Atlantic to take the stage at Berlin’s Opera House, where she danced and choreographed in Germany for many years. Switching careers, she earned certification from the German Society of Sports and Aerobics to become a fitness professional and in addition became certified in the Pilates method.

“Upon my arrival to the facility (Sharron Baucom Dale City Recreation Center), I noticed there were limited resources and a true absence of inspiration amongst a community and center that truly needed wellness programs,” says Fermin. “I began to envision solutions to connect with people in the community, existing clients, staff and co-workers throughout the agency to embrace and act on the need for our facility to have resources, equipment and dedicated instructors for fitness and wellness programs.”

This included Pilates Mat and Pilates Reformer classes. The Pilates Reformer small group classes (five people per class) have become so popular that they fill up quickly each session.

Jennifer Hernandez, who is also a certified Pilates instructor, as well as the group fitness specialist at Dale City tried her first Pilates Reformer class in 2013 and has been completely hooked ever since and encourages others to give Pilates a try. Additionally, she holds certifications in several group fitness formats including TRX, spin and other strength training methods, which she enjoys teaching, however, Pilates Reformer kept drawing her back to the studio to learn more about the practice of Pilates. She ultimately continued to educate herself through the Balanced Body Pilates program, so she may safely and precisely teach participants a variety of exercises on the Reformer using the principles of Pilates.

“I wholeheartedly believe that all body types and sizes can and should try Pilates Reformer classes,” says Hernandez.

Deidre Coppage, also a certified Pilates instructor at Dale City, loves the community and friendships that have developed from the practice. It is a testament to her that she’s had some of the same students for over 15 years and they are still having great times together in their attempt to hone their “breath, concentration, centering, alignment, flow and precision.”

She also feels that teaching Pilates encourages greater knowledge of how the body and mind work together.

“We’re not just going through the motions,” says Coppage.

“It is a mind-body connection exercise, so mood can be improved,” Fermin adds.  “I have had customers personally share that their pain has significantly decreased or gone away since consistently taking Pilates Reformer class.”

How to Get Started

Want to try Pilates but not sure where to start? The New Client Pilates Reformer Package* provides participants with a safe and informative experience learning the fundamentals of how to use the Pilates Reformer apparatus, basic Pilates exercises and learning the principles that are the foundation of Pilates. In addition, you will learn how to safely modify exercises for injuries or other physical conditions to make your exercise practice more efficient. This package includes two private sessions and one small group class.

“At Sharron Baucom Dale City Recreation Center, first time Pilates Reformer customers receive a free consultation to help familiarize them with the basic principles/fundamentals of Pilates, along with how to use the apparatus and working on learning the basic exercises,” says Fermin. “This is also an opportunity for the instructor to learn about what the customer’s fitness goals are, along with any physical and movement concerns or limitation/restrictions.”

*Stay tuned for the winter preview of Leisure—coming in early December, where you can view the upcoming New Client Pilates Reformer Package and Pilates Reformer class schedules which will begin in early January and March 2024.

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