The Benefits of a Pilates Reformer – Whole Body Improvement

When you first look at a Pilates reformer, you might think the piece of equipment in front of you is more of a medieval torture device than some workout equipment. That’s because of its sliding platform, ropes, springs, handles and foot bars. And you might wonder why anybody would want to use it and torture themselves.
Benefits-of-a-pilates-reformer

However, once you have tried a Pilates reformer for yourself, you will love it – regardless of whether you are brand new to Pilates or have previous mat Pilates experience, as it is extremely versatile. In fact, the benefits of a Pilates reformer are almost endless offering a myriad of exercises helping body and mind harmonize and work more efficiently.

Low-impact, maximum intensity

There is a common misconception that reformers are something for the more experienced with a strong core and strong muscles. However, this type of Pilates machine is perfect for anybody. One of its great advantages is the faBenefits-of-a-pilates-reformerct that it offers support during exercises making it also ideal for beginners or those with a weaker core.

All reformer exercises are based on the principle of resistance, i.e. on pulling and pushing with legs or arms to move the carriage. It is the resistance of the springs and the body weight that make the carriage more or less difficult to move. To customize individual exercises, the level of resistance can be adjusted by the amount of springs used in each exercise.

Regardless of the type of reformer exercise, it is not speed that counts but performing each resistance exercise in a slow and controlled manner exerting little force on your joints thus making the exercises low-impact with a very low risk of injury. And as the level of each reformer exercise can be adjusted according to your level of strength and fitness, the exerBenefits-of-a-pilates-reformercises offer maximum intensity for the individual. So you get the maximum benefit out of your reformer workout.

Stronger core, healthier spine

Workouts based on a Pilates reformer are very effective full-body workouts. The reason is that the constant resistance of the tension springs on a moving carriage requires the whole body to stay awake and work through full ranges of movement. So all major muscles in the body, including the core made up of abdominal and lower back muscles, are involved and worked.

As all core muscles get exercised in a reformer workout, the result of these exercises, among others, is a stronger core leading to a healthier spine as you will be able to generate power without exposing yourself to back injuries. So when you engage in rigorous physical activities or just lift and carry heavy bags, you are far less at risk of hurting and damaging your back.Pilates-Reformer-Exercise-3

Also, exercises can be performed sitting, lying down, standing, kneeling, pushing the foot bar, pulling the straps, resting on the foot bar, perched on the shoulder blocks, on your side, upside down, and in all sorts of similar positions. This is a significant advantage when you are suffering from injuries or pains as you can do your exercises in a position that is comfortable and suitable for you helping your body heal and get stronger.

Improved posture and flexibility

There is no doubt that reformer Pilates has a highly beneficial impact on your posture and flexibility. It targets whole muscle groups with a full range of motion strengthening and toning those muscles that help stabilize the spine and pelvis. This, in return, leads to more muscle flexibility while minimizing back pain caused by muscular imbalances.Pilates-Reformer-Exercise-2

In other words: when your muscles are balanced and flexible, they can support the spine more evenly and correct incorrect postures. And this helps to alleviate back pain that was due to sitting or standing incorrectly.

A good Pilates reformer workout addresses virtually every part of the body, and each exercise is balanced by another – every contraction is followed by a release and for every pull there is a push. So a Pilates workout is highly balanced in itself.Pilates-Reformer-Exercise

During the exercise, the ropes and bars of the Pilates machine help the body align properly and stay in the correct position ensuring it is stable and balanced. This way, the whole body gains more stability and ‘learns’ to stay in the right posture.

Healthy body, healthy mind

Joseph Pilates, who developed the Pilates workout system, believed that mental and physical health were closely connected and that it was necessary for the general wellbeing to harmonize body and mind. For this reason he devised exercises that not only benefit the body by improving posture, muscle tone, balance and joint mobility, but also the mind by relieving stress and tension.

The calm motion when performing rhythmic movements on the reformer can be very soothing and a huge stress-reliever as tension is worked out of your body. Also, synchronizing breathing with the flowing movements on the reformer tremendously helps to create better body awareness enabling you to better understand physical signals. At the same time, consciously controlling your breath will help quiet the mind.

Finally, by focusing on how your body and mind relate as you work through the reformer exercises, you will improve your concentration levels which is said to boost thinking and problem solving. So the reformer workout is one that leaves you relaxed and energized rather than exhilarated and exhausted.

Sustainable health

To sum it up: anybody can exercise with the reformer and at any level of fitness. There are so many different exercises – and positions to perform them in – available, that any sort of need is covered. So the reformer is truly a universal piece of Pilates equipment and the benefits of a Pilates reformer are almost endless.

Whether you wish to improve your overall strength and flexibility, correct your posture or strengthen the stabilizing spine and pelvis muscles to minimize muscular imbalances and back pain, the reformer is an invaluable piece of equipment helping you achieve these long-term health goals.

As with any type of exercise, it is important to practise reformer Pilates regularly to ensure lasting results. So having your own machine at home will make this much easier for you. And you don’t need a lot of space as there are foldable reformer models available now, like the AeroPilates 4640 reformer. But a word of warning: Never start exercising with any type of equipment before getting introduced to it by a qualified instructor. This is particularly important if you suffer from any injuries or back pain. You need to know how to do your exercises correctly and – when suffering from back problems – which exercises are best for you.

Performed correctly and regularly, reformer workouts are simply a perfect way of gaining and sustaining a healthy body and mind.

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10 Comments

  1. Wow!!! That is a great system. Thank you for sharing. I can see that Pilate is a great exercise to support my favorite hobby — rock climbing. Building a strong core, spine, posture, and flexibility are what I am looking for.

    My aunt has one weak leg. It was affected from polio in her childhood years. I am wondering if this Pilate system is easy enough to help her or is it too advance.

    Thank you!
    Ha —

    • Thank you for your kind comment, Ha. I’m glad you like the concept of Pilates.

      I’m sure it would also be great for you aunt as the exercises are really gentle and can be tailored to suit the individual’s need. But it would be advisable to ask a physiotherapist or a qualified instructor first which exercises are best to ensure maximum benefit.

      All the best,
      Sammy-B

  2. Hi there,

    Thanks for the article!

    I’ve never even heard of a Pilates Reformer, so this was pretty interesting. I like how you pointed out the value to absolute beginners.

    Do you think using a machine like this is a good way to get started in pilates, or do you want to have some experience under your belt, first?

    • Thanks for reading my article, Phil. I’m glad you found it interesting.

      Yes, a Pilates Reformer would be a great starting point for you. In fact, it is much easier for a beginner to start exercising on the Reformer than on the mat. The machine will give you extra support while you build up your core muscles. So I think it can be much more rewarding for a beginner and would certainly be a good way for you to get started.

      All the best,
      Sammy-B

  3. CJ

    What advantages does the pilates reformer offer over another machine? Lets say something like a bow flex home gym?

    • Thanks for your question. One of the great advantages the Pilates Reformer has over machines like the bow flex home gym is that it is suitable for almost anybody. So it’s perfect for both fit people who want to improve their general strength and for complete beginners – even those with back injuries or other issues. There is such a huge number of exercises possible that every part of the body can be targeted. So it’s a far more flexible piece of equipment.

      I hope I have answered your question but please let know if you need more information.

      Best wishes,
      Sammy-B

  4. OK, so I absolutely knew nothing about Pilates! Now I know where the name comes from and so much more.
    Where can I find a Pilates Reformer? Because of my poor health, I’m very interested in the fact that it is low-impact.
    I look forward to hearing from you.
    CT

    • Thank you for reading my article. I’m glad you found it informative.
      If you are looking into purchasing a Pilates Reformer for your home, there are a number of gym and fitness equipment retailers around that offer various models. If space is an issue, maybe a foldable version would be best for you. However, before buying a machine, I would recommend booking an induction at your local Pilates studio so you know what exercises are good for your and how to do them correctly.
      Let me know if you need any more help.

      All the best,
      Sammy-B

  5. Awesome article! This is my first time of hearing about Pilates Reformer.I learnt a lot from your post,it is full of information.
    So many people need this including me.Thanks for sharing.

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