The Amazing Benefits of the Pilates Reformer

When it comes to Pilates, there’s one piece of equipment that is truly iconic.


The L sit position. being performed on the Reformer. Pilates is used by athletes to improve flexibility and body fitness and by chiropractors for patient recovery.

On first impression, it can look quite imposing, daunting even. Those of you who are currently uninitiated to the world of Pilates may even think that it resembles something more likely to be found in a medieval torture chamber! Give it a go though and you will be hooked, not to mention stretched. You certainly won’t need to be tortured into coming back for more! 

This isn’t a Rack! It’s a Reformer and it Rocks!

Not only does the reformer look dramatic but the benefits and positive changes it will have on your body are equally as impressive. It’s a wonderful piece of fitness equipment. It’s fully adjustable for all ages, body shapes, sizes and levels of physical ability. 

If you’re yet to try out one of our state of the art reformer machines in either of our two Essex Pilates studios, you are in for a real treat! What’s not to love about longer, leaner, more sculpted muscles? 

Using the foot bar on the Reformer to perform pilates standing lunges to strengthen, tone and tighten those legs.

So Just What is Pilates Reformer?

The reformer was invented by the founding Father of Pilates, Joseph Pilates. We very much have him to thank for this remarkable invention. Depending upon which studio you practise Pilates at, you will see different branded machines. 

While they may have some distinguishing features, reformers have many similarities. They comprise of a bed like frame, upon which lies a flat platform (referred to as the carriage). A series of springs are attached to the carriage. The combination of coloured springs provides varying levels of resistance. This makes the exercises undertaken more or less challenging. Sometimes less really is more as you will discover. Planking on a yellow comes to mind!

There’s Always Progression and Regression Available in a Pilates Reformer Class.

The carriage itself has shoulder pads that align your shoulders and thus the top half of your body. They also prevent you from slipping off the platform as the carriage is pushed and pulled along the stationary frame. 

Reformers also feature an adjustable bar, which is called the foot bar. However, this is used to position both hands and feet. There are also two long straps attached to the top of the frame which have detachable arm and leg loops at the end. We’re yet to find anyone who doesn’t look forward to “legs in straps.”

It’s a favourite exercise with all our studio regulars. Everyone loves a good hip opener!

Woman on a reformer bed doing hip opening pilates yoga exercises using legs in straps a firm client favourite

How is the Reformer Used?

The reformer is incredibly versatile. It can be used to replace many of the traditional and much bulkier pieces of targeted equipment you’d find in a regular gym. With just the one machine, you can carry out a diverse range of exercises that increase strength, promote flexibility, and seriously improves your balance. 

Most of the exercises done in Pilates involve pushing, pulling, or holding the carriage steady, which in itself can be incredibly challenging. Just imagine how many fitness stations you’d need to incorporate to get such a comprehensive, full-body workout at the gym? Not to mention all the time taken up standing around, waiting for the next piece of equipment to become available?

Mermaid stretch performed on the Reformer in a Pilates class.

With the reformer, you can do exercises standing, seated, lying down, perched on top of the foot bar, with your legs or arms in straps, upside down and even facing sideways. Basically, you can dynamically train your entire body with just this one piece of sleek equipment. Pilates reformer workouts offer something for everyone at every stage of their fitness journey, regardless of their age or current level of ability. 

What are the Benefits of Reformer Pilates?

We’ve already mentioned strength, flexibility, balance and yes, coordination. 

You’ll also notice you have better posture, a more fluid range of movement, plus enjoy relief from pain that’s frequently attributed to physical imbalances, including back pain. That’s before we even get you started on the improvements you’ll notice to the powerhouse of your body, the core. 

There is nothing quite like Pilates when it comes to creating flat abs, toned thighs, firm derrières and strong, healthy backs. 

Add to that the instability created by a moving carriage, along with varying levels of resistance achieved through combining the coloured springs together and you have the ultimate, most versatile, universal piece of fitness equipment.  

If that’s not yet convinced you of the power of reformer Pilates, then nothing will! 

How Do I Learn Reformer Pilates?

We’re glad you asked!

Without a shadow of a doubt, the best way to learn Pilates reformer is to come to a class or book yourself in for a private session with a qualified Pilates instructor. At Contour Pilates studios in Essex, we offer a wide range of diverse classes, suitable for beginners through to advanced practitioners. With Dynamic, Cardio and unique Jump board classes just part of our schedule, there really is something for everyone. 

Go ahead and check out our schedule HERE and if you’ve never visited our studio before, why not take advantage of our INTRODUCTORY OFFER?

2 classes for just £20. 

Click HERE now to discover your best body ever.