8 Things You Can Get Out of a Pilates Reformer Class

Posted on Apr 30, 2018

Pilates Reformer


A Pilates reformer is probably the most recognizable equipment for this type of fitness regimen. Its hulking size may seem intimidating at first, but if you can go past your first impression, you’d be surprised at the dramatic changes it offers. Here we break down 8 reasons why a Pilates Reformer Class special, and why you should try it out too.

What is a Pilates Reformer?

With the intent to strengthen his frail and sickly body, Joseph Pilates created an exercise routine which first started out with around 50 simple, repetitive exercises. Each exercise is repeated usually around three to five times to expose the body to new kinesthetic challenges and new musculature.

Pilates can be performed on a mat or on a specialized equipment called a Reformer, originally called the “Universal Reformer.” It is one of the 12 original equipment which looks like a bed-like structure with a flat platform on it. The early models is made up of bedsprings rigged to posts, headboards and footboards of the bed frames, transforming it into a resistance-type equipment. Today, the design is more streamlined, but it is still rigged with ropes and pulleys attached to the carriage and frame.

Benefits of a Pilates Reformer

A strong core

Centering is the focal point of the Pilates method. It refers to the core of the body, or the “powerhouse,” where all the energy begins and radiates outward to the extremities. The level of resistance is adjusted by the number of springs that are attached. One would provide the least resistance, while five represents maximum resistance that you can get from a standard reformer.

This versatile, impact-free workout puts emphasis on strengthening the pelvic floor and the deep core muscles. Research even showed that a Reformer Pilates sessions improved core stability in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients. With the strength arising from the core, one is able to maintain good control of the movements performed.

Improves overall strength

Targeting the core also allows better execution and command of the different muscles, increasing the effectiveness of the exercises because it enables you to maintain proper alignment. A good core also boosts one’s ability to generate power to your muscles lessening the risk for injury.

The resistance provided by the equipment also challenges and supports the body. The pushing and pulling motion experienced by all your extremities against the resistance springs, carriage and body weight gradually builds strength. Without creating so much impact on your joints, it allows you to work all your muscle groups, even up to the smallest musculature, in a precise and controlled fashion. With the kind of strength training from a reformer you are able to preserve and enhance your muscle mass.

Provides full range of motion

The cables and bars of a reformer allows you to move your body with a full range of motion which is something that you might not be able to achieve on your own. The position you assume and the cables to guide your movements, it encourages you to extend to the fullest while you follow the track. With usual exercise, and without such guidance, it will be easy for you to fall back into your old patterns of movement that are not as beneficial, or may be erroneous too.

Regular reformer work trains your body to adapt to this full range of motion which also helps in proper body mechanics. This will ultimately result in less body aches and pains.

Improves coordination and balance

With its core stabilizing program, Pilates repeatedly stretches and strengthens the core muscles which maximizes mobility and stability of the spine. Balance is achieved because reformer exercise can help maintain the proper musculoskeletal structure which also protects important muscles that are crucial for balance.

Better posture

The reformer improves our posture because it trains you to develop and use core strength, instead of holding up your position with superficial musculature. It is an effective method in reinforcing efficient movement patterns and strengthening which ultimately improves one’s posture.

Faster results

The resistance provided by the reformer allows you to get results faster. You can adjust the springs and the moving carriage accordingly to a level that would suit you best. . As you become more proficient with the current level of resistance, you can already move on from reclined exercises to those that require less contact of your body on the carriage.

Since, it encourages your body to assume proper body alignment with the core strength to boot, the results can be achieved much faster than you would with other exercises.

Better back health

Core weakness is a recognized biomechanical deficit in patients who are suffering from low back pain. With core strengthening comes better spinal alignment and a gentle release for tense back muscles. Even the simplest reformer exercise is able to support the deep postural muscles of the trunk.

Having roots that go all the way back to ballet, some of the movements can be quite challenging. This is why many of the exercises should be avoided by individuals who have degenerative disc disease and significant back pain. It is advised that you consult your physician first before you sign up for any exercise program.


Reformer exercises also puts emphasis on neutral alignment of the spine, scapulae, and spine. It levels the pelvis while the lumbar and thoracic curves are neutralized. Without this alignment, it can be difficult to perform other Pilates exercises. The Reformer acts as an assistant to help the person get into position or to perform the move.

Reformer vs Mat Exercise

A mat Pilates and reformer Pilates can give you pretty much the same results. It is done under the principle of essentially building core strength by working against resistance. But if you are looking for more variations and quick results, a reformer class is for you.

This may seem intimidating for beginners because the equipment itself appear as a torture device. However, with essential techniques provided by your instructor you can adjust accordingly to suit your own body. This is why private sessions are preferable at this stage because it allows beginners to get acclimated to the equipment.

It is a common misconception that reformer Pilates is harder than mat Pilates. But the truth of the matter is that it is actually the total opposite. It helps even the inexperienced by acting as a support system for the body by assisting it into proper form. With 5 different resistance springs on the reformer, each one offers a different level of resistance. This adjustability even makes it easier for people with injuries to do Pilates. However, we do emphasize the importance of your physician’s advice before undertaking any of the exercises.

Here are Pilates Plus we want to focus on your specific needs and how best we can tailor-fit our Pilates programs to your needs. You may check out our list of programs here and see which would best suit your preference.

Come and try a session with us today! Stretch your way to better health with our reformer Pilates classes.