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  • Writer's pictureLibby Teale

What is Pilates Reformer?

Pilates is a popular form of exercise that has been gaining popularity in recent years. It is known for its low-impact, high-intensity approach to fitness that emphasises the use of controlled movements and breathing techniques to build strength, flexibility, and endurance. One of the most popular pieces of equipment used in Pilates is the reformer, which is a specialised machine that helps to amplify the benefits of this unique exercise program.

In this article, we will explore the Pilates reformer in detail, discussing its history, benefits, and how it works. We will also provide some tips and advice for those who are interested in trying Pilates reformer classes for themselves.

What is the Pilates Reformer?

The Pilates reformer is a specialised machine that is designed to facilitate a wide range of Pilates exercises. It consists of a frame, a carriage that slides back and forth along the frame, and a set of springs and pulleys that provide resistance. The carriage is padded and provides a stable and comfortable surface on which to perform various movements and poses.

The reformer was invented by Joseph Pilates, the founder of the Pilates method, in the early 20th century. Pilates was a German physical trainer who created the method as a way to improve the physical and mental health of his clients. He believed that by combining breathing techniques, mental focus, and precise, controlled movements, his clients could achieve optimal fitness and health.

The reformer was one of the key pieces of equipment that Pilates designed to facilitate his method. It allowed his clients to perform a wide range of exercises in a safe, controlled environment, using the resistance provided by the springs and pulleys to build strength and flexibility. Today, the Pilates reformer is still used by millions of people around the world as a powerful tool for improving fitness, posture, and overall well-being.

How Does the Pilates Reformer Work?

The Pilates reformer works by providing resistance to the exercises performed on the machine. The resistance is provided by a system of springs and pulleys that can be adjusted to provide more or less tension, depending on the exercise being performed and the strength and skill level of the user.

The carriage, which is padded and comfortable, provides a stable surface on which to perform a wide range of movements and poses. Users can lie down, sit, stand, or kneel on the carriage, using the resistance provided by the springs and pulleys to perform exercises that target various muscle groups and body parts.

Because the reformer is so versatile, it can be used to perform a wide range of exercises, from basic stretches and exercises to more advanced exercises that challenge even the fittest and most experienced Pilates client. Some of the most popular exercises performed on the reformer include leg and footwork, feet in straps, abdominal exercises and scooter (a fantastic glute exercise!).

What Are the Benefits of Using the Pilates Reformer?

There are many benefits to using the Pilates reformer as part of your fitness routine. Some of the most significant benefits include:

Improved Flexibility

The Pilates reformer is an excellent tool for improving flexibility, as it allows users to perform a wide range of stretches and movements that can help to increase range of motion and mobility.

Increased Strength

The resistance provided by the springs and pulleys on the reformer helps to build strength and endurance in the muscles, which can lead to better overall fitness and health.

Better Posture

Because many of the exercises performed on the reformer involve engaging the core muscles, using the machine can help to improve posture and alignment.

Reduced Risk of Injury

The controlled, low-impact movements performed on the reformer make it a safe and effective way to exercise, even for those who may be recovering from an injury or have other physical limitations.

Enhanced Mind-Body Connection

The Pilates method emphasises the importance of mental focus and concentration during exercise. Using the reformer can help to improve your mind-body connection, allowing you to become more aware of your body and its movements.

Overall Health and Wellness

Using the Pilates reformer can help to improve your overall health and wellness by providing a full-body workout that targets all major muscle groups. It can also help to reduce stress and improve your mood, making it a great way to improve your mental health as well.

How to Use the Pilates Reformer

Using the Pilates reformer can be a fun and challenging way to improve your fitness and overall health. If you are new to Pilates or the reformer, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that you get the most out of your workouts.

Start Slowly

When first using the reformer, it is essential to start slowly and focus on proper technique and form. That's why we have specific Beginner Reformer classes at Yoganic. These classes have a slightly slower pace and less fancy choreography - so we can really focus on making sure you develop good technique and build strength.

Listen to Your Body

As with any exercise program, it is essential to listen to your body and make adjustments as needed. If you feel any pain or discomfort, talk to your teacher.

Build Up Gradually

As you become more comfortable with the reformer, you can gradually increase the resistance and intensity of your workouts. But it is essential to build up gradually to avoid injury and ensure that you are using proper form and technique.

Combine with Other Exercises

The Pilates reformer is just one tool in the Pilates method. You can also combine it with other Pilates classes, such as mat Pilates, tower Pilates, to cadd variety and challenge to your fitness routine.. As you become stronger and more proficient on the reformer, we offer Reformer Athletic classes which add more intensity to your class and typically sue the jump-board.

What if I'm Pregnant or Just Had a Baby?

If you're pregnant or just had a baby - we have specific classes for you. If you're pregnant you can join our Pregnancy Reformer classes (no need to join a beginner class first). Our Pregnancy Reformer classes are designed to accomodate your changing body, maintain strength and help your body prepare for labour and motherhood. We also spend a little more time stretching to ease the aches and pains of pregnancy.

If you've just had a baby, you can join our Postnatal Reformer or Mums & Bubs Reformer classes (no need to join a beginner class first). Mums & Bubs classes are a great opportunity to connect with other local mums, whilst some of our mums would prefer some time out - baby free and prefer our evening or weekend Postnatal Reformer classes. If you have abdominal separation or pelvic floor issues - just let us know, we're used to working around these issues.


The Pilates reformer is an excellent tool for anyone looking to improve their fitness, flexibility, and overall health and wellness. It provides a low-impact, high-intensity workout that can be customised to fit the needs and skill level of each user. Whether you are new to Pilates or a seasoned pro, using the reformer can help you achieve your fitness goals and improve your overall well-being.

If you are interested in starting Pilates reformer classes, book in to a Beginner Reformer class and make sure you buy our New Client Intro Offer if you are new to Yoganic!

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