As a Pilates instructor here in Northern Virginia, I get asked lots of questions about Pilates and fitness in general, back pain and weight loss, but the most popular questions always involve the Pilates reformer. There seems to be a great deal of intrigue but also a little bit of apprehensiveness when it comes to the reformer. Don’t get me wrong, it is not hard to be apprehensive at first glance, with all the ropes and pulleys, it can make your mind go to all sorts of crazy torture chamber nightmares. I promise you have nothing to fear and everything to gain by giving reformer Pilates a try.

Let’s clear up precisely what the Pilates reformer is and what it can do for you.

The reformer is one of the original pieces of Pilates apparatus design by Joseph Pilates himself. Reformers can be either metal or wooden, and all have a moving carriage, pulley system and springs used to either increase or decrease resistance. The reformer is unmatched for being able to both provide resistance but also support. I always tell my clients who are apprehensive about trying the reformer that it makes mat exercises that you may find “easy” more challenging and exercises that you are challenged by more accessible. This makes reformer Pilates the perfect complement for your mat practice.

Here are 5 more reasons why you should add the reformer to your fitness routine:

  1. The reformer can take all the usual benefits you receive from Pilates to the next level. Adding and decreasing resistance based on the exercise can really increase the volume on your workout and help to maximize results.
  1. The reformer makes Pilates even more accessible. Pilates truly is for everyone, but some of the mat work can be extremely challenging for specific populations or people with injuries. The reformer is elevated off the ground so it brings the mat to clients who may have trouble getting up and down off the floor. It provides support and tactile cues that you are not always able to get, particularly in a group setting, in a traditional mat class.
  1. You get to push and pull. Resistance training is so vital during every stage of our lives but particularly as we age. The unique design of the reformer allows you to both push and pull on the same piece of equipment. Pushing and pulling against resistance are super important for building balanced muscle development and increasing strength.
  1. Since you are working with a moving surface, your stability muscles have to work even harder than they do on the mat. This makes the reformer a fantastic way to increase core stability and improve balance. If you think planks are hard, try doing them on a moving carriage!
  1. The possibilities are endless. With dozens and dozens of traditional exercise at your disposal and countless variations, you will never have the same class twice. Your body and mind will never grow tired of class, and you will reap the benefits of continually challenging your body and mind in different ways.

If you still aren’t convinced to try reformer Pilates, let me finish by saying you will be hard-pressed to find a more effective yet enjoyable way to spend an hour. For sure, you will feel the burn in your abdominals, but you will also experience the pure joy of putting your feet in the straps for leg circles. Interested? Still, have questions? Reach out to me, and you can try the reformer for yourself, and I promise it will make you a believer too!