What the Pilates Reformer Can Do for You

What the Pilates Reformer Can Do for You

Pilates is most often performed on a mat. But did you know there is another way to do Pilates that will make your workouts even more effective? Enter the Pilates Reformer. I’ll tell you what it is, what Pilates exercises can be performed, and how it will impact your body.

What is the Pilates Reformer?

The Pilates Reformer is a versatile piece of fitness equipment that can be utilized with a trainer to achieve excellent results in core strength, stability, and losing inches!

The reformer is made up of a strong frame (ours at the club are solid hardwood), with a moving platform that holds your body weight. The platform is attached to springs, which vary in resistance from heavy to light. When you use the pulleys, you are pulling your body weight and the resistance from the spring tension that is chosen based on your strength for the proposed exercise.  There is a foot bar that is also used for some exercises, and there are many accessories, like a box that elevates you and can be used in a short or long position, depending on the desired exercise.

Pilates Reformer Exercises

In order to illustrate, I’ll give you a few basic reformer exercises, and how they translate to the floor or mat Pilates exercises. It’s pretty cool if you’ve ever taken a mat class to see how the workout translates over to the apparatus.

The Hundred

This is a basic Pilates exercise that you will have experienced if you’ve ever taken a mat class. It works on the reformer as well, but on the reformer, you have the pulley ropes in your hands at your sides, so you are holding extra resistance as you perform the exercise.

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Hip Series

The reformer can be used in various ways to work the hips, strengthening the whole area around the pelvis.  In this instance, the loops are attached to the feet and then various exercises are done to strengthen the area. On the floor, we work on hips with leg circles and scissors. These can all translate to the reformer.

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Basic exercises like the bridge are performed on the reformer, and are rendered a bit more difficult because the platform is attached to springs. This creates a stability challenge, similar to doing the bridge with a stability ball.

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Other options include working the upper body on the reformer in a seated position. There are exercises that can be done facing forward, and facing backward.
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And the Pilates reformer comes with some props to elevate the body, using a “short” or “long” box.

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I find that my clients that work on the Pilates reformer not only get a great overall workout, but also enjoy the benefit of working with no impact, saving the joints, and also incorporating core into every exercise.  The overall benefit is lost inches and gained strength!

If you think you’d like to give the Pilates Reformer a try, come see me for a free fitness consultation!

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Written by Melissa Abramovich, ACE CPT, NASM CGT, AAHFRP Medical Exercise Specialist at Elite Sports Club-River Glen

Melissa Abramovich went into Personal Training and Group Exercise instruction after successfully losing 140 pounds through healthy diet and exercise. Her desire to help others drove her forward into a career helping others to make healthier choices. She is an ACE certified personal trainer and now also a Medical Exercise Specialist (AAHFRP), helping clients with a myriad of health issues at Elite Sports Clubs. She holds a Bachelor’s degree, and many group exercise related certifications as well.






  • Karin Severson says:

    Is a trainer required for this class? What is the cost of this class. We currently have a family membership at Elite. So is there an additional cost.
    Thank you.
    Karin Severson

    • Elite Sports Clubs says:

      Hi Karin,

      We currently do not have a reformer pilates class. However, it is offered if you work with Melissa A., our personal trainer who is certified in reformer pilates.

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