Technology is making its way into all forms of exercise and movement through connected exercise equipment, including spin bikes, treadmills, and rowers. The addition of AI to the Pilates reformer has the potential to change the way that we experience mindful movement by quantifying a person’s quality of movement while measuring progress. For people who like to see measurable progress, this will motivate them to continue to workout while they simultaneously experience the benefits of mindfulness, because of the emphasis on breath and body awareness.
As cultural awareness around the benefits of mindfulness and the importance of mental health expands, more people are looking into meditation and yoga. However, for people who are attracted to more intense workouts or who are motivated by data, yoga or meditation may be off-putting, because it may feel too new age and less concrete.
Pilates on the reformer is one of the few exercise modalities that is a form of resistance training that includes elements of mindfulness through breath and body awareness. It is often more accessible than traditional fitness methods for people who have chronic pain, injuries, and limitations in mobility because the equipment supports your joints while building strength through controlled, low-impact movement.
A challenge with the Pilates reformer is that until now it has been difficult to quantify progress. In strength training, you can see an increase in the amount of weight used in a specific exercise. When running or biking, you may notice that you are able to cover more miles at a faster pace. However, the Pilates reformer relies on spring resistance and emphasizes coordination and quality of movement, which can’t be easily translated into measurable metrics, such as pounds lifted or distance covered.
The addition of AI to the Pilates reformer has the potential to change the way that we experience mindful movement by quantifying a person’s quality of movement while measuring progress. This is something that we aim to do at Flexia with our smart reformer, patent-pending sensor technology, and online studio.
How AI on a Pilates Reformer can enhance user experience and track progress across multiple variables
Measures common fitness metrics, such as repetitions completed and level of resistance.
By adding AI to the Pilates reformer, the technology will be able to track how much resistance you are using as well as how many repetitions you have completed of an exercise. For people who like to see measurable progress, this will motivate them to continue to work out while they simultaneously experience the benefits of mindfulness, because of the emphasis on breath and body awareness as they move.
Measures the quality of movements, such as the speed of movement and smoothness of movement, which indicates coordination and control.
The Pilates reformer is a unique form of exercise because it involves controlling your body on a moving carriage with resistance that comes from extension springs. This means that your ability to control the movement is as valuable as the amount of weight that you are able to move.
For people who have pain or are recovering from injuries, this emphasis on body awareness and control can lead to less pain, increased flexibility, and more confidence when performing activities of daily life or recreational sports, such as hiking, tennis, or golf.
However, historically, a Pilates instructor has needed to be present to offer feedback on at what speed to move or to draw awareness to how someone is moving. Through a sensor, the reformer will now be able to provide information about how quickly or efficiently you are performing an exercise, as well as measuring your range of motion so you know if your flexibility or mobility has improved.
This data is compiled and delivered in a Movement Quality Score (MQS), which is a proprietary compilation of measurements that take into account the objective of the workout, your control of the movement, and the relative improvement or maintenance of your performance compared to that movement during other workouts.
The MQS provides a unique way to progress toward a fitness goal that doesn’t rely on simply increasing weight or resistance.
Provides smart recommendations on what classes to take next to move you towards your goals.
People are drawn to Pilates for a number of reasons, including wanting to reduce back pain, alleviate stress, or improve strength and flexibility. If you are exercising at home, it can be hard to know what class to take to move you towards your goal. While many online class studios do provide programs for specific goals, oftentimes these programs don’t move at the correct pace for the individual taking them and are either too easy or too advanced.
Through AI, it is possible to use a person’s past performance, class and instructor ratings, personal goals, and current mood to guide them towards a specific class that makes sense for where they are right now. This allows for a more personalized experience that meets people where they are at.
The Bottom Line
The integration of technology with the Pilates reformer can improve adherence to fitness, help people who are high stress include mindfulness in exercise, and bring exercise to people who are not being marketed to including individuals with chronic pain, injuries, and mobility issues. As technology improves, more people will feel comfortable exercising at home, because both the equipment and classes will fit their needs and create a more individualized experience.