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Benefits of Pilates & Pilates & Beginner's Pilates & Benefits of Reformer Pilates

Everything You Need To Know About Reformer Pilates


With its emphasis on strengthening the core, improving flexibility, and fostering mind-body connection, It comes as no surprise that Pilates is one of the most popular fitness routines today.

Many might know traditional Pilates and it’s the use of mat exercises to achieve these goals. However, did you know that you can use different equipment and props to maximise these results? One popular, and most commonly used, piece of equipment is the Pilates Reformer.

With all its straps and springs, it can definitely be an intimidating piece of equipment. But not to worry! It’s simply a tool that adds resistance and support to traditional Pilates movements, amplifying their effectiveness and offering a whole new dimension to your workout experience.

In this post, we discuss everything you need to know about reformer Pilates. From what it is, to understanding the equipment and various benefits, we'll get into the core principles and practices that make Reformer Pilates such a transformative fitness routine!

woman in a reformer pilates class in Adelaide using hand straps

What is Reformer Pilates?

Traditional Pilates utilises a mat and body weight as the primary tools for its exercises. While effective, it primarily focuses on building strength and flexibility through gravity and floor-based movements.

Reformer Pilates, on the other hand, utilises a specialised piece of equipment called a reformer. It is a unique apparatus that consists of a sliding carriage, springs, ropes, and straps, allowing for a wide range of exercises and movements. This offers a more dynamic and full-body workout as the resistance provided by the springs on the reformer challenges the muscles and helps improve strength, flexibility, and stability.

Much like mat Pilates, Reformer Pilates is a gentle and low-impact workout that focuses on controlled and coordinated movements, emphasising proper alignment and body awareness. By using the reformer, you can target specific muscle groups and work on your core strength.

Pilates Principles & How They Apply to the Reformer

Pilates is based on six core principles (centring, concentration, control, precision, breath, and flow) and helps to guide the Pilates session.

  • Centring: Pilates emphasises the importance of starting movements from a strong and stable centre, also known as the core.
  • Concentration: Pilates encourages focused attention on each movement, with an emphasis on quality over quantity. In Reformer Pilates, this means paying close attention to your form, alignment, and muscle engagement throughout the exercises.
  • Control: Pilates emphasises maintaining complete control over your body and movements. During your routine the reformer machine provides resistance that requires controlled movements to perform exercises effectively, promoting strength and stability.
  • Precision: Pilates focuses on precise and regulated movements, aligning the body and engaging muscles. The Reformer has adjustable settings that allow for precise changes to the resistance and range of motion to meet individual needs.
  • Flow: Pilates can be characterised by its use of smooth, flowing movements that transition seamlessly from one exercise to another. The Reformer's design and smooth gliding carriage help facilitate these fluid movements, providing both stability and a sense of fluidity to your workout
  • Breath: Finally, Pilates encourages proper breathing to enhance movement and focus. In Reformer Pilates, coordinated breathing patterns are taught and integrated into exercises to promote relaxation, core engagement, and efficient movement.

woman in a reformer pilates class in Unley Adelaide with her knee up on a bar

A Closer Look At The Reformer Machine And Its Key Components

Developed by Joseph Pilates and modernised to meet contemporary fitness needs, the Reformer machine is the foundation of most Pilates routines. Its bed-like design allows for a wide range of exercises that target various muscle groups and movement patterns. Here's a look at its key components:

  • Sliding Carriage: The carriage is the platform that moves back and forth on rails within the frame of the Reformer. It provides a smooth and stable surface for performing various stretches and exercises.
  • Springs: The springs of the Reformer provide adjustable resistance, allowing you to customise the intensity of your exercises. By attaching the springs to various points on the carriage and handles, you can target different muscle groups and challenge yourself as you progress.
  • Ropes and Pulleys: The ropes and pulleys are used to connect the springs to the carriage, allowing for a range of movement patterns. They enable exercises that involve pulling or pushing against resistance in different directions.
  • Footbar and Straps: Positioned at the end of the Reformer, the footbar provides support for your feet and legs during certain exercises. Straps are attached to the carriage and are used for hand or foot placement when performing specific exercises.
  • Headrest and Shoulder Blocks: The headrest provides support for the head and neck during exercises that require lying down or reclined positions. Additionally, the shoulder blocks help maintain proper alignment of the shoulders and upper body.

Read More: Types of Pilates Equipment

So, What Are The Benefits Of Reformer Pilates?

It is safe to say that reformer Pilates isn’t a typical, everyday workout routine! Its principles and exercises mean that it offers a holistic approach to fitness that benefits both your mind and body.

  • Improved core strength: Reformer Pilates classes target the muscles of the abdomen, lower back, hips, and buttocks, which are essential for maintaining a strong and stable core. A strong core not only improves posture but also helps prevent injuries.
  • Increased flexibility: Reformer Pilates incorporates stretching exercises that help improve flexibility and range of motion in the joints. This can be particularly beneficial for athletes and individuals with tight muscles or joint stiffness.
  • Enhanced body awareness: Reformer Pilates emphasises precision and control in movements, which helps improve body awareness and alignment. This can lead to better posture, reduced muscle tension, and improved overall body mechanics.
  • Injury prevention and rehabilitation: Many physical therapists and healthcare professionals recommend Reformer Pilates as a safe and effective form of exercise for injury prevention and rehabilitation. The controlled movements and emphasis on proper alignment can help prevent injuries and aid in the recovery process.
  • Stress reduction: The focus on breathing and mindful movement in group Pilates classes can help reduce stress and promote relaxation. This can have a positive impact on mental health and overall well-being.

Read More: How Pilates Improves Mobility and Flexibility

Expert pilates instructor in unley adelaide

Getting Started with Reformer Pilates

Whether you are looking to enhance your muscle tone, improve your overall fitness, or simply engage in a mindful and effective workout, reformer Pilates is an excellent option. The reformer Pilates equipment is known for its versatility and incorporating the innovative Reformer machine into your Pilates session can truly take your routine to the next level.

At Club Pilates, we offer a unique and comprehensive reformer Pilates experience. With our skilled instructors, state-of-the-art equipment, and supportive environment, we offer a range of class packages and membership options that cater to all ages and skill levels.

Join us today and discover the endless benefits of reformer Pilates! Experience the power of coordinated movements, the challenge of complex exercises, and the satisfaction of achieving your fitness goals.


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