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What is a Pilates Reformer?

Joseph Pilates invented the Pilates reformer in 1920’s. Pilates noticed that a mat workout has limitations; for instance, the practitioners are not always able to set their body in the correct position. He designed the apparatus, which consists of a sliding carriage and a set of strings, straps, and pulleys.

With a Pilates reformer, your body is set on the correct trajectory, giving you the opportunity to change your habitual movements. It is fully adjustable to make sure your body rests in proper alignment. Focusing on your core muscles, called “the powerhouse,”a reformer uses strings and your body weight as resistance. Joseph Pilates said, “True flexibility can be achieved only when all muscles are uniformly developed.” 

Pilates practice is not solely for the mat. With Pilates machines like reformers, a stronger core, better balance, and improved posture are a few sessions away.

How is Pilates reformer built?

A reformer has four main components: 

  • Wood or metal frame
  • Padded sliding carriage, equipped with a headrest
  • Shoulder blocks and a foot bar
  • Pulleys, strings, and straps 

What are the benefits of Pilates reformer?

  • More exercises available compared to mat Pilates
  • More dynamic and precise workout resulting in improvement of technique
  • Builds up flexibility, strengthens muscles
  • Increases the range of body motion

What exercises can I do on a reformer?

With Reformer Pilates, exercises of all position types are available: on your back, on the side, on all fours, with feet on a foot bar, or kneeling. Some mat exercises translate into a reformer workout, such as leg circles or the hundred. Others, such as an elephant, will bring novelty to your workout. 

What types of reformers are there?

Some manufacturers follow the original designs of Pilates closely; others add a modern touch to the apparatus.

Pilates reformers vary based on:

  • Material of the frame – metal or wood
  • Intent – home gym or studio
  • Foldability – rigid or foldable

Pilates reformer – brands

Brands like Stamina AeroPilates, Merrithew, or Balanced Body are just a few well-known reformer manufacturers. They offer reformers for home or studio use, conventional or modern, wooden or metal. When you’re looking for a traditional manufacturer, Gratz Pilates produces reformers in their most original design, with wooden handlebars and leather straps.

What’s the difference between mat Pilates and Pilates on reformer?

Mat Pilates is the primary practice with a set of 34 exercises. Their pace ranges from those deliberately aimed at beginners, through moderate for intermediate practitioners, to accelerated sessions for advanced aficionados. Mat workout makes you flow with movements while finding connections within your body. One of the benefits of matwork is that you can easily do it at home. All you need is a mat, a little bit of space, and workout DVDs. 

A reformer, on the other hand, is a big piece of equipment, which you’ll often find in Pilates studios. Reformer exercises offer a bigger array of choice compared to a mat workout. The essential set adds up to around 65 moves, but what’s crucial—the reformer corrects your habitual movements. It makes sure your body is aligned correctly, which is difficult to achieve on a mat. The pace of a reformer class is intense, so you might see some progress faster.

Make sure you follow the instructions of your certified teacher.

What accessories are available for a reformer?

You can easily find replacement parts, such as strings, wheels, or pulleys. To expand your reformer, you can look for a rebounder, tower, or sitting box. 

Some reformers are sold as bundles including the accessories mentioned earlier.

Who can use a Pilates reformer?

The reformer is intended to be used by people at all levels. 

What other Pilates machines can I use?

  • Cadillac (Trapeze Table)
  • Tower 
  • Spine Corrector 
  • Wunda Chair 

What other Pilates equipment is available?

If a Pilates Reformer is too much, you can try basic Pilates accessories first. It’s a good idea to start off your matwork with a Pilates ring, foam roller, or resistance band. All those pieces of equipment assist you in improving your posture, flexibility, and strength. 


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