Introduction to Pilates Machines: the Reformer

Everyone’s favourite, the Reformer

What is a Pilates Reformer?

The Reformer is a machine originally invented by Joseph Pilates, the inventor of what we now call “Pilates”, an exercise method that he then called “Contrology”. The Reformer is the most famous of all Pilates equipment and one of the most used. It looks pretty dramatic and can be intimidating – even downright scary – but it is a fantastic, versatile and machine allowing for very powerful and precise work.

The Reformer is a bed-like frame with a flat platform on it (the carriage) which rolls back and forth on wheels within the frame. The carriage is attached to one end of the reformer by a set of springs. The springs provide differing levels of resistance as the carriage is pushed or pulled along the frame.

On the other end of the Reformer is a set of ropes, with handles on them, which can be pulled with legs or arms to move the carriage. Body weight and resistance of the springs are what make the carriage more or less difficult to move. The different parts of the Reformer can be adjusted depending on body size and strength.

How do we use a Pilates Reformer?

A vast array of exercises can be done on the Reformer that promote core strength and stability, mobility, strength and balance. Some of the exercises resemble the mat repertoire, with added challenge such as weight or resistance.

The Reformer offers all the benefits of Pilates, including spine mobility, core strength, flexibility and postural alignment. These in turn lead to an improvement of posture and movement in daily life and can reduce pain such as back and joint pain.

Here is an example of a classic Reformer workout and here is another example of exercises done on the Reformer.

Would you like to try the Reformer? Have you already tried and would like to continue? Please get in touch!

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